Developing company culture

Trying to change the culture with a training programme is very often doomed to failure. We work on changing the attitudes and beliefs of people so that culture follows as a by-product. We work on breaking down silo thinking and inter-departmental conflict. Most importantly, the largest part of our focus is directed towards the executive team, whose behaviour very often sets the tone for the rest of the business. See below case studies that detail a selection of ways we have worked for our clients:

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS GIANT

CONTEXT

The senior leadership team of this business unit has been fully affected by the unexpected departure of a much-liked leader. The team were left with inconsistent levels of trust and rapport, along with huge expectations of growth from their parent company. As a result of their direct results were becoming more siloed in their way of working and increasingly demotivated. There was a high turnover in that function.

The internal L&D function did not feel comfortable undertaking restoring team excellence. They did not have an existing provider who could effectively undertake this type of work.

APPROACH

We designed a journey for the senior leadership team that would enable them to open up about the experiences of the previous 12 months and begin to lay a new foundation for a renewed team culture. This solution included direct observation on internal meetings followed by feedback on how they interacted with each other and other external attendees. This provided a unique insight which was a catalyst to behavioural change.

Over the next 18 months, the project expanded to include all 150 people in the function, this led to a reduction in turnover. They then became the number performing region in Europe.

AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING​

CONTEXT

Our automotive client in Oxford wanted to create a strong leadership culture. One that built on their heritage, was aligned to the global Group, but was also uniquely their own.​

Against a backdrop of rapid technological disruption in the motor industry and Brexit, the leadership team had identified the following challenges:​

  • Institutional behaviours​
  • A significant increase in production volumes
  • Standards at the plant had to meet BMW’s premium standards
  • A new consistent approach to leadership was required
  • The plants had to meet ever increasing targets​
  • There was a strong need to be more flexible and innovative in preparation to integrate new technologies​​

APPROACH​

A programme was designed to target the specific skills needed. Once that programme was created, a dedicated room was then also designed for the programme. This room became known as ‘The Leadership Space’ and it enabled participants to physically walk through the programme using the area in different ways.​

After the completion of LDP1 (3 years duration) a new programme was created called LDP2 (also 3 years long) – for this next programme the room was once again redesigned around the needs of the new programme.​

LDP2 further strengthened the alignment of the programme to the workplace by having an associated app and challenging pre-work requirements in order to join the programme. This design increased the accountability even before people walked into the first session.

AIRLINE

CONTEXT

Our client was to some degree born out of the collapse of a previous airline based out of Iceland. The company was formed during the pandemic which to many seemed like the wrong time to launch a new airline however the leadership team had a clear and powerful vision. They used the period of the pandemic to create the infrastructure and strategy for this new airline and, when restrictions started to lift, the airline was already at a mature stage of readiness.​

They have a distinct and unique organisational culture however many of the staff members had worked together in the previous organisation and therefore there is a risk that they might never develop their own identity or perhaps that it would inherit the culture of the previous organisation.​

The desire therefore was to create a schedule of events that touch every employee in the entire organisation as well as putting additional focus on the leadership coming from the executive team.​

APPROACH

The process started with the Board of the airline working extensively with a coach from Strategic Leadership – this was in preparation before any other managers or employees are introduced to the programme. It was essential that the executive team were completely aligned and understand their responsibilities as role models.​

Each functional team then had their own 2-day workshop focused on team functionality and deepening relationships between team members. These conversations were brutally honest, heartfelt and very powerful. During each workshop each teams created a ‘team agreement’ expressing how they wanted to work together, they also created a list of actions they will commit to in order to develop and progress the culture at PLAY. These commitments were reported back at a subsequent 1-day workshop.​

Finally, there were a series of large cross functional events where the entire organisation attended. These events were designed to break down silo thinking and promote innovative cross functional working as well as giving a powerful experience of what the desired PLAY culture ‘feels’ like.