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Culture change and transformation

Organisational culture keeps in place old ways of working that will hold back transformation unless surfaced and addressed. Inclusive leadership cultures create more agility and diversity that supports real innovation.

Why organisational cultural change and transformation?

In times of rapid change and disruption, we need to address the cultural patterns that underlie how we see the world so we can step into new frames. Transformation initiatives often fail as the culture resists. Often visionary leaders can be out of step with those they are leading, not recognising the pressures and habits that are keeping the status quo stuck. Similarly, leadership in organisations can develop groupthink without sufficient diversity.

As we see in the recognition of unconscious bias, it’s not enough to train individuals in recognising their bias, and to have truly inclusive leadership, we need to address how this manifests in the culture as well.

What we know works

In our experience of working with culture in transformational change we help leaders explore their context using this framework

  • Recognising how visible symbols and artefacts convey organisational culture
  • Noticing patterns of behaviour for teams and groups and ways to reframe and change these patterns
  • Addressing underlying mindsets and assumptions that may be unconscious
  • Exploring how the emotional ground of the organisation is affected by change during transformation, by surfacing what is being felt
  • Addressing unconscious bias and increasing diversity
  • Initiating experiments, such as reverse mentoring to get different fresh perspectives eg across ethnicity, gender, age, status

Our approach

We work with culture and transformation in a range of ways depending on the context.

To create a shared sense of a shift in culture, here is an example of a process we use:

  • Ask leaders to set a cognitive baseline of what they think the culture is and want it to be. This is labelled as being ‘from Inside the Bubble’.
  • Use diagonal and horizontal selections of people to express their responses to the culture from Visceral, Intuitive and Emotional experiences internally.
  • We use images, sculpts, constellations, stories and modelling to capture a better sense of how the culture makes people feel and what assumptions and beliefs drive those reactions.
  • We invite customers to explore their view of the culture in similar ways and/or ask customer facing staff to use their experience to predict what customers would say.
  • In combination we hold up the mirror between the leadership view, colleague view and customer view.