Organisational Culture Transformation

Creating cultures where people thrive and organisations succeed

Why culture matters

An organisation's culture is the sum of the behaviours of each and every employee, director, owner and shareholder; the 'how we do things round here'. And those behaviours are driven by our values and beliefs. If we value our customers and behave with the utmost intention towards our customers because we truly believe that delighting our customers is the key to business success, and the senior leadership holds this in their values and daily conversations and the processes and systems support this intention, then the culture will evolve as a customer-driven culture.

The challenge with creating the culture needed to achieve the organisation's vision is that it is complex. Cultures are made up of human beings who change over time and are influenced by both internal and external forces. And so cultures evolve. This has never been more evident with the impact of Covid19 and the significant changes to how we work. And because culture is the backbone of any organisation, if your culture is suffering, it's highly likely your organisation is underperforming.

We've been working with organisations globally, supporting the development of thriving cultures. Using a number of proven approaches, frameworks and tools we work to define the root causes, design transformation programmes which address the processes, contributing factors and develop the leadership skills to lead in order to create the culture needed to grow and achieve the organisation's vision and purpose. Our approach is systemic and encompasses the whole organisation, accelerating the transformation and delivering measurable results and improved performance.

Understanding the challenges

Communication is the fuel to any organisation. It is the network that connects everyone ensuring all employees are aligned, working productively and effectively towards the same goal. Alignment builds strength and a critical performance mass which delivers results. Good communication requires continuous commitment, the processes and systems to facilitate it, the leadership skills to be able to deliver clear, inspiring and mobilising messages and the emotional intelligence to be able to communicate well in order to connect, engage and build trust and commitment amongst employees. Communication methods have changed with technology, new ways of working and the changing needs of employees. If there are communication gaps you will experience the effects in multiple ways: lack of engagement, disgruntled staff, low morale, lack of creative thinking and collaborative working, reduced customer satisfaction, an increase in staff turnover and poor performance generally.
Values are the building block to organisational culture. They inform behaviours. An organisation needs clear and well-articulated values which underpin daily conversation and are modelled by the senior leaders. They exist as a contract, between all parties and when employees feel the organisation's values are aligned with their own, you will experience superior and more energised performance which has a direct impact on the business results. Defining and creating a narrative around the organisation's values is critical in bringing them to life and is the secret to value-driven leadership. Leaders who are driven by their values are perceived to be more authentic, inspiring and adept at aligning their staff in service of the organisation's purpose. This approach will increase leadership effectiveness and directly impact business performance. Read more about how we support organisations in developing leadership effectiveness. For more information about the methods we use to understand existing, and identify desired values go to Barrett Values - one of the key models we employ to audit and build values and culture.
People are at the heart of any business and typically the greatest investment so you need to get it right. People are attracted by the culture of an organisation and you may be surprised to hear if your culture isn't great, word gets out. Organisations with poor cultures struggle to attract and retain the best talent and often suffer from high staff turnover which can be a significant cost not only in terms of recruitment but also business performance. Human beings thrive when working in a positive environment where they feel they are valued, their efforts are recognised and rewarded and they have the opportunity to grow and develop personally as well as professionally. Any investment in talent management should consider the impact of culture. Does the culture support creative and collaborative thinking? Does the culture and leadership style enable talent or hinder it? When it comes to the day-to-day, stress and poor wellbeing are often warning signs that there's something amiss with culture. Stress is one of the highest ranking factors when it comes to poor performance - this can be exacerbated by workload, unreasonable expectations, lack of support from leaders, unhealthy policies when it comes to overtime, breaks, working conditions etc. How often do staff work through lunch or outside their normal working hours? These 'hygiene' factors can often be overlooked and perceived as commitment or loyalty unless we pause to look at the root causes behind these behaviours.
An organisation is only as strong as its parts. And the sum is even greater than its parts. What we're talking about here is teamwork. Where all employees are responsible and accountable and there is a strong sense of shared contribution, organisations experience stronger performance and better results. In creating a 'one team' culture, leaders need to understand how to create inclusivity; to encourage diversity of thinking and approaches, to build teams which collaborate and take responsibility for their part and for that to be encouraged and recognised. This has become more important with market disruption and increased competition and the need for innovation thinking to stay ahead of the game. A culture must enable employees at all levels to contribute to the success of the business and reward employees for doing so. In doing so, leaders must also develop a culture of accountability. Teams are more successful when there is a culture of accountability; to each other and to the organisation. Encouraging independence and being accountable to each other builds a sense of community, ownership and respectful working practices. However it takes skills and mindset to achieve this which is where the learning and development design comes in; providing people with the emotional intelligence and the awareness of how to achieve this is critical and an important element of any cultural transformation programme.
The good news. Culture can be measured, progress monitored and results captured. When working with organisations we employ a number of methods to benchmark and measure the impact of culture on an organisation. Using a range of tools which include the Barrett Values™ model, customised culture surveys and a range of complementary culture tools selected according to the environment e.g. the cultural and international structure of the organisation, we will define the current culture at individual, team and organisational level, work with our clients to develop behaviour frameworks and capture evidence of the distance that must be travelled between the current culture and the desired culture. We will facilitate the creation of that desired vision which is required to achieve the organisation's vision. Having analysed the data we will then design a customised programme which addresses the needs identified to ensure the culture transformation is successful. We will create or employ proven methods to re-test and measure the success of the programme identifying leading indicators in terms of behaviour and impact on the business to be able to report on the agreed KPIs for the programme. Primeast is accredited in the Kirkpatrick's New World Model which we use to design any programme evaluation system.
Culture transformation requires engagement at all levels within the organisation because everyone has a role in creating a thriving culture. As with any change programme there are the leaders, the middle-managers who execute and the teams who mobilise and create movement around the change. Engaging all levels accelerates any kind of change. Leadership must develop the skills to lead through culture transformation and then be able to make it 'stick' by modelling the desired behaviours and 'holding' the culture in their every exchange. Managers must develop the understanding of how to engage their teams and embracing the values agreed. Building communication skills and emotional intelligence are critical elements in ensuring managers are equipped to accelerate any kind of culture transformation or organisational change programme. At an operational level, all employees can be supported by being given the tools and awareness of why culture matters and how it impacts on them and how they impact on others.

“Truly human leadership protects an organization from the internal rivalries that can shatter a culture. When we have to protect ourselves from each other, the whole organization suffers. But when trust and cooperation thrive internally, we pull together and the organization grows stronger as a result”

Simon Sinek

Values shape the culture

Any change process takes time, energy, leadership skills and commitment. It is the same with culture. We work WITH organisations to build the culture they need to support the organisation's vision and purpose. Values underpin much of the work we do around culture transformation because once we understand our own values and beliefs system we understand why we behave the way that we do. We use a range of surveys, assessments and tools to identify the current values and behaviours, the desired future values and behaviours and we then work collaboratively to design the development or engagement solution needed to fill the gap between current and future.

Designing a culture transformation programme

A culture transformation programme begins with data capture which is analysed to inform the subsequent design of what needs to be done. Values assessments are selected according to the agreed audience, roles and responsibilities. The resulting reports provide rich insights around gaps and opportunities for development to achieve the desired culture.

Values assessments are available for individuals, teams and whole organisations. For an introduction to one of the values assessment we employ, please complete the Personal Values Assessment and speak to a certified Barrett Values practitioner experienced in interpreting values assessments and identifying insights for improving performance and transforming cultures.


Planning your Culture Transformation

Wherever you are on your culture transformation journey, we can help. We've worked with organisations globally, designing and implementing culture transformation projects, each one unique to the specific situation and requirements. You can begin with the following questions:

  • Do you have a clear vision for the organisation and what type of culture do you need to be able to achieve this vision?
  • What values and behaviours do you aspire to, in order to experience the kind of culture where your organisation and all its employees thrive?
  • What challenges or barriers exist culturally which might prohibit your organisation from achieving the vision?
  • If you create the culture you aspire to, what will be the outcomes and results for the organisation?
  • Request a time to speak to a member of the team about your culture transformation initiative:


Find out more

Our team are accredited and experienced in employing a number of culture transformation tools and approaches including the Barrett Values™ Model; our extensive team of practitioners are located internationally ensuring we can support and work with organisations globally. Read more about the work we've done with organisations, transforming cultures and driving real business growth as a result. Get in touch and find out more by speaking to a member of our team today.

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