Three Ways to Improve Work Culture: Advice from the Executives of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NE

For many companies, project management is simply about the successful completion of a team’s tasks. While this is true, the executives of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska explain in this video how their adoption of Agile principles not only made the company run “better, faster, and cheaper,” but also allowed the company culture to flourish.

Here are three ways Agile can improve the culture of an organization:

1.  More Transparency

A key component of a healthy work culture and environment within a team is transparency and open conversation. It’s the same component that allows companies to see continued growth, success, and clear plans that move the team performance forward. With Agile, brief daily meetings give teams the opportunity to raise issues and be honest about progress, while adapting and improving.

2.  Empowerment at the Front Lines

A traditional model of leadership often looks like a manager that uses command and control to lead – but it doesn’t have to be that way! Agile leaders can sustain high-performing and autonomous teams by empowering team members. This can be through setting a shared goal and serving the team by systemically removing obstacles that hinder growth.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska executive Steve Granfield said that by changing the work culture toward one of empowerment, “it really opened up their imagination.” [Former] CEO Steve Martin added that it gave teams more confidence to better manage and control their risks which allowed the company to make better investments.

3.  Removal of “the Power of Bad Suggestion”

Under Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska’s old way of management, executives often distracted their team away from their intended project outcomes with their comments and suggestions (AKA “the Power of Bad Suggestion.” Now, project teams are more autonomous and set their own objectives – keeping executives focused on their primary goals while still being involved in their team’s projects with increased transparency.


Organizations like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska continuously measure and grow team culture and health with AgilityHealth’s TeamHealth Assessment.  For more information, visit AgilityHealth.