Looking back: Over 10 years of Pecan Partnership 

Looking back: Over 10 years of Pecan Partnership 

More than ten years ago, our founders, Penny, Andy and Ella, were creating a new kind of consultancy. A consultancy that put organisational culture front and centre – not an afterthought or a ‘nice to have’, but the main event. A consultancy with the mission of helping other organisations create cultures where people love to work, and customers love to do business.  

Roll forward over a decade, we’re proudly celebrating Pecan Partnership’s achievements. There’s been lots to celebrate along the way, as well as some challenging moments and a lot of learning. 

In this blog, we asked Andy, Ella and Penny to share some of their reflections on Pecan’s time so far. In a future blog, we’ll share how they see Pecan’s future. 

Pecan has worked with over 60 different client organisations already. What are you most proud of in terms of the impact that we’ve had? 

Andy: “I’m most proud that we’ve been delivering our purpose of creating cultures where people love to work, and customers love to do business, in a wide range of workplaces. We’ve supported organisations in various different sectors, and all types of organisation from small-medium enterprises through to large, multi-national firms. We all believe organisations should be places where people can grow and be their very best, and so it’s fantastic when we see that happening.  

I’m also hugely proud of how we helped clients during the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns. It was a very challenging and lonely place for many, and I know we brought light, laughter, hope and human connection to a lot of people at that time. I’m proud too of how we get fully behind our clients as individuals, supporting them to achieve their vision and personal development objectives – as well as their functional and organisational responsibilities.” 

What do you particularly appreciate about how Pecan creates that impact with clients? 

Ella: “It might sound trite, but it’s the way we genuinely live our values. Two of the values feel particularly important to me as I look back on our first ten years and our achievements so far: Power in Partnership, and Science and Passion: 

  • In terms of Power in Partnership, we play to our strengths and the strengths of our clients. And I think that’s key to us getting such great results together.  
  • With Science and Passion, we design solutions that incorporate the best psychological research as well as lived experience. Plus, our passion for our work gives us the energy to achieve the unexpected and stamina to keep going through turbulent times makes all the difference.  

Every client situation is different and presents a fresh challenge, so I love how we aim to meet the client where they are, engage stakeholders in a collaborative journey, building trust, confidence, focus and capability as we go. Linked to this, I also love our Light Touch and Lasting Impact value – we’ve helped lots of clients who don’t have huge budgets but really want and need help to achieve their ambitions. And that’s just as satisfying and meaningful as when we work with bigger clients.” 

Of course, it’s not all been plain sailing. Can you describe one of the company’s more challenging moments, and how Pecan navigated it? 

Penny: “One of the most challenging times was when Pecan was in its infancy. We were thrilled to win the first piece of business we pitched for, and it was a sizeable piece of work.  It involved everyone in the business working flat out for three months to complete a detailed review and culminated in a report with recommendations that would require a further 9 – 12 months to implement. We were excited, Pecan had got off to a great start and had an excellent opportunity to have a full and healthy pipeline of interesting and fulfilling work for the foreseeable future. 

We reviewed the draft report and recommendations with our client. He was very happy with most of it but asked us to change two of the recommendations. After further discussion we agreed to modify one. The other requested change we fundamentally disagreed with. When it became clear that we weren’t happy with making his proposed changes we were told in no uncertain terms that if we didn’t there would be no further work for Pecan. 

Because we’d been so focused on this assignment, we had no other work on the horizon, and we knew it could take months to win another contract. We had a dilemma – change the recommendation to something we didn’t believe in or stick to our principles and look into a gaping hole without work. After some discussion we chose the latter. The following few months were challenging and not without self-doubt, but I would make the same decision again, every time, and I’m delighted to say, Pecan has since gone from strength to strength.” 

Finally, looking back over the last decade, what lessons or insights feel most prominent to you about organisations and culture? 

Andy, Ella and Penny’s key lessons and insights include:  

  • Create a space where people feel empowered to try new things and learn.   
  • Good communication can transform any situation.   
  • Strong relationships and teamwork are vital in building anything great and particularly in any change situation.   
  • You can’t diagnose your own culture! Bring in an expert for a proper understanding of the unwritten rules, and how they’re impacting behaviour.     
  • Anyone and everyone can affect organisational culture.   
  • Culture is a strategic enabler. It has just as much impact on organisational outcomes as strategic planning, technology, and processes – if not more. 
  • Values are your culture superpower – harness them well! 

Look out for our next blog in which we’ll share our founders’ thoughts and perspectives about Pecan’s next phase. Plus, get in touch to find out how we can support your organisation to create a culture where people love to work, and where customers love to do business. 

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