Organisation Development & Culture Change

‘Culture Change’ is increasingly talked about in the C Suite, in the media, and even by regulators. We view this very positively as there is an increasing amount of research evidence which suggests that having an appropriate and relevant culture for your market place is as important for business performance as having the right strategy. Quite simply, profitability and shareholder value are increased by having a culture that is aligned to your strategy and the marketplace.

Two important questions when thinking about your organisation’s culture are:

  1. How can you collect systematic evidence about the present culture, and use this to evaluate and then shape the type of culture that the organisation should aspire to in the future?
  1. How will your organisation select from a huge array of culture change methods and techniques, and decide which are the most relevant for the business and people to best achieve strategic business goals?

There are no silver bullets to answer these questions – however our experience of working with many businesses over more than 20 years has given us some highly practical ways to answer these questions in robust and cost effective ways.

Two of our culture case studies are summarised below:

Refining values in insurance


Refining values in insurance 2014

We were invited to assist an established and highly successful Lloyds insurance syndicate to define its core competencies and behaviours, and refine company values.

We undertook extensive employee research based on in-depth interviews and focus groups to define the competencies, and provided behavioural definitions of these. We also collected data about the present and future aspirational culture, and refined the values to capture the very real strengths of the culture and the one missing ingredient required for future business growth and success.

The results were presented to the Executive Committee who signed off the defined behaviours and values. These are now included in performance management, resourcing, and other people processes.

Creating a dedicated culture for engineers


Creating a dedicated culture for engineers to successfully deliver one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects 2007-2012

In 2007 we started working with a team of engineers who were dedicated to delivering the largest UK infrastructure project in 2012. We worked with the team of up to 450 engineers over 5 years, providing a series of interventions to create a unique culture dedicated to the project. Our work included customer service surveys, leadership development, defining behaviours & competencies for success and creating relevant psychological contracts between senior leaders and project team members.

What we delivered enabled our client to reshape their culture to better fulfill and deliver what their customers and stakeholders wanted. Our assignment contributed to the firm winning a significant share of the total customer spend. People working on the project also commented that it felt different from other projects they had worked on for the firm.  Most importantly our client delivered their work on time and budget for their client.


One client said about our work;

“I have worked with Michael for nearly ten years on a number of HR projects across a number of sectors.  His maturity, warmth, commercial experience, theoretical knowledge and ability to engage with his audience however large or senior is a potent combination that gives him credibility at the most senior level whilst enabling him to connect at all levels of an organisation.   For instance Michael’s experience, clear thinking and structured approach delivered a new set of Values and Behaviours to a rather cynical audience and successfully embedded these across the business both as drivers for cultural evolution and also at a more tactical level within established processes such as recruitment and performance appraisals.”

Dominic Scarlett | Group Director of Human Resources, Validus Holdings - 21 August 2015