The Connection Between High Valyrian and Workplace Culture


I watched a TED talk the other day given by a linguist who was talking about the value of learning a foreign language, including a language that he created, High Valyrian, for the TV show, Game of Thrones. And if you’re thinking, “I can’t learn a language someone made up for a TV show,” then think again (and head over to DuoLingo and join the 750,000 other people who are learning High Valyrian!).

Now, if you’re also thinking “Why on earth would I want to learn a fictional language,” then you should watch the video, because that’s the linguist’s primary point. We often view language as merely a tool—one that we would use to communicate with people who speak only that language, and that would make learning a fictional language not very useful, right? But language is much more than a tool—it reflects how we think, and how we make sense of the world. So to learn a new language is to see the world in a different way, and that can help YOU to think differently, and that opens you up to new solutions to existing problems.

And that is where this connects with culture. One of the most important things our culture assessment reveals to clients is the collection of patterns currently operating inside their culture. These patterns are not necessarily surprising to the client once they see them, but at the same time, they had previously been unable to articulate them clearly. For example, some clients knew that they had some ongoing issues with “communication” internally, but they hadn’t seen the pattern that they had been emphasizing reactive transparency (if you ask me, I’m happy to share), but not investing enough in proactive transparency (systems to ensure people have the information before they need to ask for it).

If you learn the language of culture patterns, and you start to see how they’re operating inside your organization, then it tends to open up new opportunities to solve existing problems.

That is why we are releasing a new product this fall that is focused exclusively on culture patterns. Our Culture Pattern Analysis project takes only two weeks and gives you a high-level view of the prominent patterns inside your culture, along with our take on how they might be messing with your success. This is NOT a full culture assessment (because, um, we already have one of those). The Workplace Genome most definitely shows you your culture patterns—with incredible detail and nuance, actually, which is why we think it’s so great! But we recognize that not everyone has the resources or bandwidth to do that deep dive, so we wanted a simple and affordable option for people that want to start learning the language of their culture patterns right away (without having to engage everyone with a full assessment).

Reach out if you’d like to learn more about the process.

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Jamie NotterComment