we love exploring business and workplace cultures which at the end of the day is a company’s external and often internal equivalent of a brand. all those company values, norms and taboos, how and when it’s ok to challenge an idea and how easily trust is built or destroyed. what does the employee experience really feel like and does it marry up to a customer centric culture?
for many the topic is complex and intricate. what if it doesn’t need to be? what if changing your culture can be achieved overnight or at least the start of it can!?
at parallell we like to live in the moment it’s the best way to listen to you and really hear what you are saying. we like to role model self-care in our own leadership so that others see it’s possible to be resilient and successful! we are grateful for each opportunity to work with a client and for the privilege of seeing behind the scenes. mostly we embrace our strengths and talents and when needed, seek guidance from you the client. these ingredients describe how we work and important aspects of our desired culture.
one of our guiding principles when helping to change a client’s company culture includes not telling people how they should feel, we know from experience how futile that can be. feeling pride in your product, affinity with your customer and optimism about the future business health, sounds like employee engagement and it is. culture is all about the buy in levels and the extent to which organization culture is lived. we don’t find preaching to employees how they should feel lasts beyond the town hall launch meeting! we do know that a focus on specific desired behaviours that drive feelings of pride, customer centricity and a belief in the business purpose, will stand the test of time.
why all the fuss about behaviours? because they can be clearly expressed, observed and taught. this gives them relevance, specificity and longevity. Longevity to morph and evolve alongside the business maturity or to be discarded when outdated.
of course other mechanisms of good organization design must also be in place to support the culture change you seek. such mechanisms include how work is organised (structure) which must not block desired behaviours of collaboration, rapid decision making, contracting with internal customers etc. ways of working (custom and habit) must align with newly desired problem-solving behaviours. Rewards and metrics must reinforce only the desired new behaviours and clearly signal the new priorities.
it takes courage to tackle the core of a business i.e., the way people actually go about their work. few will enjoy hearing “out with the old methods and ways of working” however, don’t be fooled into thinking customers can’t see behind your corporate walls, they can, and they do. the external experience of each employee matters, a lot! that is the organization culture.
yet with courage, a desire to move ahead, and the clarity of working with behaviour’s a business can accelerate its growth and sustain its performance. culture change is all about knowing how you are successful. when you know exactly how you do that you can replicate it and repeat your successes. that’s a performance cycle we relate to. that’s a performance cycle we aim to help you embed and become your culture.
at parallel we combine due diligence, marketing and organizational experience. we are not a traditional consulting company we are devoted to advise on strategy but also share hands on expertise and best practices from our senior advisors coming from various sectors. through our approach we are all aligned to create value to employees, customers and shareholders.
sharper focus – smarter work – stronger brands
+ debbie percy is advisor at parallell leading design organisation and coaching practice
parallell is a business, marketing & organisation solution led advisory firm based across Brussels and London.
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