Culture evolution

When we started Pecan, the general view was that it takes five years to change workplace culture.  In our experience it can be achieved much faster than that – when you focus on the right things.

Culture is often described as ‘the way we do things around here’. But that is just the outcome – of values, attitudes, assumptions and beliefs on the one hand, and structures, policies and processes, physical environment, communications and behaviours on the other.

By getting under the skin of your culture, we understand how it is impacting delivery of your strategy. What are the unwritten rules inhibiting or encouraging great performance? What are the blockers and enablers to achieving your goals?  What is required to unlock everyone’s potential?

It is always an evolution – keeping and reimagining the best of what you have, and redirecting, stopping and changing what is getting in the way.

Critical to evolving culture quickly is engagement – having everyone recognise what is so and having a say in what is to come – feeling involved in shaping the organisation and their future.

A description of the key traits that underpin your current culture. These are seldom exclusively positive or negative – they are simply ‘what is so’ – your current default.

Cultural characteristics highlight how your current culture is helping or hindering strategy delivery

  • Inherent strengths to use, build on and amplify
  • Issues and challenges that are getting in the way
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Using images, rather than words creates instant recognition and instinctive ownership

Organisations typically have two or three core values that lie at the heart of their identity and these remain constant through time and changing conditions.

To maximise success, organisations need to develop additional aspirational values from time to time. These need to be deliberately introduced and embedded into a culture. Three steps are involved:

  • Define core and aspirational values
  • Review and refresh core behaviours
  • Codify aspirational behaviours

A values and behaviour playbook gives everyone clarity of what is desired and what will no longer be tolerated.

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Keep it simple and to the point. Use colleagues’ everyday language to capture the spirit of your organisation

Engage everyone in your values and let them own what they mean.  Simultaneously work top-down and bottom-up.

  • Leaders and managers are your movement’s role models and need to speak with one voice
  • Engage your key influencers in designing the movement
  • Provide everyone with frameworks to explore what your values mean in ways that are relevant to their day-to-day role
  • Show that it matters. Make a big song and dance about those who live your values and be demonstrably intolerant of those that don’t

Habits change fastest with repetition and creating a movement is the quickest way to change the agreement. Giving everyone the means to take ownership takes values off the wall and into everyone’s hearts and actions.

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Give your movement air and space to breathe and breed. Provide frameworks and context and then give your people the freedom to make your values real in ways that energise them

All organisations have a small number of activities and core processes that are essential to their success.  Embedding the values, mindset and behaviours through these key ways of working has your culture be fundamental to who you are, how you operate, and the experience you create for customers.

Values-led signature ways of working make you distinctive. You will attract the people who will help your organisation thrive and succeed and they will experience the same.

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Work ‘outside-in’ to identify no more than three initial signature ways of working. Ones that are critical to achieving your goals and delivering a great customer experience