Cultural transformation: How can we help you win?


Many people ask me how it is that The Partnership’s cultural transformation (or evolution as I prefer to call it) programs deliver results when so many appear to fail. I’ve found the answer to this question difficult to write down in one place outside a specific proposal for a specific client because our work is so contextual. But below, is my current thinking in answer to the question “how do your cultural transformation programs work?”

This article does not focus so much on the lens we employ to cultivate conditions for cultural transformation to emerge, so much as the way in which we partner with you (hence our name – The Partnership). Of course, what we do (and do not do) is a reflection of how we believe change emerges.

  1. First, we get to know the key people within your organisation as well as an understanding of what change you need before we begin work. A recurring theme today is the need to be more adaptable to a rapidly changing external environment and need to reduce the negative impact of silos. Or perhaps your focus is on nurturing an internal environment from which innovative ideas are more likely to emerge. Our first step is to understand what is, and what you want from a strategic perspective.
  2. We design a leadership development program that we believe will liberate the shift in organisational dynamics (relationships). We enable you and your managers to lead the changes you see as relevant and necessary to meet your organisation’s challenges.While the program we design for you will be unique to your organisation, the principles of sustainability at work we build from remain consistent. These are the principles of living systems and include the notions of whole people becoming more of who they are through their work, self-organising principles of holarchy, and change emerging through unplanned conversations over time. We do not impose our version of what we think people should do. We do not have a blue print that maps out a time frame for rolling our elements of the desired change. Your organisation is unique and so our program is tailor-made for you.
  3. As we deliver your leadership program, we enable your people to liberate change and as we do, we encounter the organisational culture first-hand. We respond by enfolding adaptive processes into the leadership program. In this way, your leadership program now becomes a vehicle not only for developing the capacity for leadership within your organisation, but also initiating the evolutionary changes that appear necessary to you and your people. As the process continues, the program often becomes less content driven and more facilitative.

    I emphasise again; we do not dictate what these changes should be, we merely provide a mirror for people to look at themselves and their beliefs in.

  4. Your program is delivered over a longer period of time to explore and embed new ways of being into day-to-day management and leadership. As these new ways of being become integrated, you will see the cultural change emerge and evolve in ways that are relevant to your purpose, vision and values.
  5. Throughout this process, we remain in close contact with your CEO and People and Culture leader. Our conversations enable us to adapt our approach as necessary in response to feedback – and for us to challenge you in your own leadership as well. There is adaptive work for everyone if your culture is to truly evolve. Accepting this is a courageous step for you and your management team. The change in “the way we do things around here” ripples throughout your entire organisation, requiring adaptation from everyone. It may not be the same adaptation, but some adjustment is needed. That includes us as well; we remain open to doing our share of the work and learning too.
  6. Throughout the process of implementing change, we stand by what you said you wanted at the beginning of our assignment. Oftentimes, it can be a real challenge to undergo change work (resistance to change is a very common and human response). We are with you every step of the way to keep you focussed on the changes you need for your organisation and keep you and your team on track.You can rely on us to be the mirror in which you can see yourselves and be the standard bearer for the changes you want and need when the going gets tough.

This blog has been about how we achieve our results. Recently one of our clients, HomeStart Finance, was awarded a Cultural Transformation award by Human Synergistics. We’ve worked closely with HomeStart Finance over the last couple of years to help them achieve this transformation, and it is great to see their hard work gain this recognition!

If you’d like to see a cultural transformation within your own organisation, feel free to contact us. Josie will shout you your hot beverage of choice and discuss how we can help you.