How do you retrofit the agile, purpose-driven culture of a tech unicorn, onto a bureaucratic 100+ year old FTSE 100 culture? That’s the challenge we were presented with by an MD of a department of newly separated Openreach. And after working with numerous companies in the sector from TripAdvisor to Danone to Airbnb, we knew we had the answer.
We knew that there is no set blueprint for undergoing this change, and that for every organisation, the end goal and therefore, the process needs to be different. Our approach centred around behaviour change, and the knowledge that if you want to transform your organisation – change must be done in the style of the culture you want to create. You must role model the new way of working from day one.
So we set out on a journey of discovery and co-creation applying the principles of design thinking, alongside tried and tested behaviour change psychology. We worked with the leadership team to agree a broad vision, then went out to listen to people on the ground, understand their views and challenges, and co-create a framework of cultural principles based on that vision. All within highly creative, energetic, engagement sessions that ensured people felt part of the journey at every stage.
At the same time, through consulting 1,500+ people including partners, leaders, managers, team members and central functions, we were able to diagnose the existing culture – pulling out themes and insights that would guide our recommendations for a 5 year culture change strategy and 12 month plan for making that change a reality.
As part of the initial discovery and co-creation process, 40% increase in people feeling excited about the future of the company, 52% said they’d change their own behaviour or do something differently as a result of the process and 100% agreed the cultural principles felt right for the organisation. One team member even commented one of the new ways of working trials meant it “was the best Monday” he’d ever had, another said being part of the process “warmed his heart”.