Artwork for podcast How to Take the Lead
Culture eats strategy?
Episode 915th December 2022 • How to Take the Lead • Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade
00:00:00 00:34:43

Share Episode

Shownotes

We share our thoughts in this episode about whether culture trumps strategy and how we as leaders can consider this in our work. Strategy is, of course, important, but the culture you create impacts on so many factors, including how effective you are as a leader. 

As always we share our own views, thoughts and experiences:

  • 05:06 – culture isn’t it’s own workstream
  • 07:54 – culture supporting a changing strategy
  • 11:15 – decision making hierarchy
  • 15:00 – redefining the culture in your organisation
  • 20:30 – aligning behaviours and experiences
  • 25.40 – what if you can’t influence the macro culture? 
  • 32:30 – the How to...

We share our top takeaways focused on how we can make culture part of our leadership manifestos. It’s important to demonstrate behaviours and actions that match your culture and move your strategy forward and show accountability in dealing with poor behaviours.  

------------------------

If you enjoyed this episode why not subscribe to the podcast. We would love it if you left us a rating or review and feel free to share the link to this episode with anyone else you think would find it interesting, using #HowToTakeTheLead

New episodes will be released every Thursday and you can listen/ download on your favourite platform.

To find out more visit www.howtotakethelead.com  

Enjoy this series and let us know what you would like us to cover in future episodes on Instagram @howtotakethelead or Twitter @How2TakeTheLead

Transcripts

Carrie-Ann:

I love where it went.

Carrie-Ann:

Having questioned where it was going.

Carrie-Ann:

I love where it went.

Carrie-Ann:

Lee

Lee:

Hello, and welcome to episode nine of How to Take the Lead.

Lee:

As ever, I am with the fabulous Cat's PJ's founder Carrie Ann.

Lee:

How are you today?

Carrie-Ann:

Fabulous.

Carrie-Ann:

I wanna be introduced like that and every meeting or session that I'm in.

Carrie-Ann:

Thank you.

Carrie-Ann:

That's cheered me right up because I've been in a rageful mood today,

Carrie-Ann:

which is quite unusual for me.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm on the chill now, so it's fine.

Carrie-Ann:

And I'm looking forward to this conversation.

Carrie-Ann:

How are you

Lee:

Okay, well, I hope, I hope nothing we say today kind of perpetuates the rage,

Lee:

, or I won't take it personally if it does

Carrie-Ann:

If the, if the red mist starts coming down, I'll give

Carrie-Ann:

you fair warning, don't worry,

Lee:

Things are good here.

Lee:

I am.

Lee:

I mean, we are recording this on the last day of November, but I am like Mrs.

Lee:

Claus, so, uh, Decorations up.

Lee:

Christmas cards have already been posted.

Carrie-Ann:

Well, I have to say I know they have Lee because you

Carrie-Ann:

are the first person that I've got a Christmas card from already.

Carrie-Ann:

It turned up yesterday, so talk about being prepared.

Carrie-Ann:

I haven't even taken my birthday cards down yet.

Lee:

I went and gave one to my dad earlier today and he said but it's November.

Lee:

I can't open it until December.

Lee:

I was like, you don't have to open it now, but I've done my bit of sending it to you,

Carrie-Ann:

I've ticked this off my to-do list.

Carrie-Ann:

I don't care what you do with it at your end, it's fine.

Lee:

But I, so I am the most prepared.

Lee:

I haven't bought any presents, mind you, but I am the most

Lee:

prepared in all other aspects of Christmas than I have ever been.

Lee:

And I fear that this is just going to mean failure as we get closer to Christmas day.

Lee:

And I'll probably end up in some quivering wreck in the corner

Lee:

crying over a burnt Turkey.

Carrie-Ann:

So basically what you're saying is you, you are worried that you've

Carrie-Ann:

peaked too soon on the festive front

Lee:

Definitely,

Carrie-Ann:

No, no, I think, I think, I think it'll be fine.

Carrie-Ann:

I love how organized you are, but I do feel myself like failure

Carrie-Ann:

for not having, uh, got there yet with the Christmas cards.

Carrie-Ann:

But

Carrie-Ann:

yeah, your Christmas Card is up alongside birthday cards that

Carrie-Ann:

probably I should take down.

Carrie-Ann:

That's just my laziness, that I haven't taken them down yet.

Lee:

It's a constant celebration in your house.

Carrie-Ann:

Constant celebration.

Carrie-Ann:

And I have to say there has been a little bit of World Cup action also,

Carrie-Ann:

um, in our house, but I did read a book while there was a match on the other

Carrie-Ann:

night, and my only World Cup chat at work has been Chesney Hawks in halftime.

Carrie-Ann:

Seriously, you know, we love some eighties slash nineties vibes on this show.

Lee:

Yes, I heard of that.

Lee:

I didn't see it.

Lee:

I, I can't admit, I, it's been on, in as background noise for me whilst the other

Lee:

half has been watching it, but I've been to making, doing Christmas basically,

Carrie-Ann:

You've, you've been single handedly doing Christmas in your

Carrie-Ann:

house, and I love you for it, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

I want the festive vibes to rub off on me and get me out of my rageful mood.

Lee:

Well, I'll, I'll try and I hope in today's discussion we

Lee:

can have a bit of fun with it.

Lee:

We're a little bit of fun because it's, it is another serious topic, and I want

Lee:

us to talk today around the whole concept of culture versus strategy, and I did

Lee:

some Googling as I like to do to set a scene, and I came up with a couple

Lee:

of well known quotes around culture, so definitions of what culture is.

Lee:

You've got the Deal and Kennedy definition, that it's the way things

Lee:

get done around here, and then you've got this, I think it was Peter Draco,

Lee:

although there's a bit of, um, debate around whether it's come from him, saying

Lee:

culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Lee:

and he's not saying that strategy isn't important, but that organizational success

Lee:

stems from having the right culture.

Lee:

And I suppose that's the premise I wanted to touch on today because we've

Lee:

talked a lot in episodes accidentally almost about some of the cultural

Lee:

things that can affect leadership and the impact you might have as a

Lee:

leader and all of that kind of stuff.

Lee:

And I suppose I wanted to start at the very beginning looking at culture, I

Lee:

don't know about you, but my experience has been culture can often sit as a

Lee:

work stream or a strategic driver of a bigger strategy that an organization's

Lee:

seeking to deliver, and it can feel at times, a little bit chicken or egg that

Lee:

you, you know, you need that vision and strategy to inspire people, give them a

Lee:

sense of purpose and all of that stuff.

Lee:

but if you haven't got the right culture in place, then you are

Lee:

unlikely to get the outcomes you seek.

Lee:

And I suppose building a right culture we know isn't an overnight fix.

Lee:

It takes a lot of time and often organizations are time poor and

Lee:

they need to take those bigger strategic actions in the here and now.

Lee:

So, For me, it feels like there's this big balancing act that a leader needs to

Lee:

do and how do you start to balance the two, um, so that you make sure that you've

Lee:

got strategy and a purpose that you are driving the organization towards, but that

Lee:

culture isn't an afterthought to that.

Carrie-Ann:

Gosh, what a big question to start us off with Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

I love that question.

Carrie-Ann:

I don't think it's gonna be a straight answer because you are right there is

Carrie-Ann:

that element of like chicken and egg about that whole conversation isn't

Carrie-Ann:

there around culture and and strategy.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess for me, um, it's interesting, how you've experienced it and how

Carrie-Ann:

you've said culture can often be seen as a work stream because, in the

Carrie-Ann:

organization I currently work in, do have a current program around changing

Carrie-Ann:

the culture in our organization.

Carrie-Ann:

Talking about having a more just and compassionate culture,

Carrie-Ann:

um, within our organization.

Carrie-Ann:

And I have just this very week had a conversation where somebody has

Carrie-Ann:

asked for a campaign to support our just and compassionate culture.

Carrie-Ann:

And I can see that the listeners won't be able to see this.

Carrie-Ann:

It looks, like Lee's rolled her eyes, at the very thought of it.

Lee:

Oh, can we have a poster?

Carrie-Ann:

Yes, that was my reaction.

Carrie-Ann:

Cause I'm like, culture is about so much more than that and I absolutely get the

Carrie-Ann:

desire to want to communicate the idea that you want an open culture, whatever

Carrie-Ann:

type of culture it is that you're trying to create, we hope a positive one.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, but for me, there's just something about making, making that

Carrie-Ann:

all part of your business as usual.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually for me in this example, it was like, I don't want us to run a

Carrie-Ann:

campaign about having a compassionate culture, I want us to demonstrate in all

Carrie-Ann:

of the other campaigns we are running, recruitment campaigns being a really good

Carrie-Ann:

topical example, in my workplace at the moment that we are compassionate and that

Carrie-Ann:

that is the culture that we are creating and embedding in the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

Rather than it sitting as, as a separate thing.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think you are quite right.

Carrie-Ann:

Some of that is about the fact that it takes time, I think, to develop,

Carrie-Ann:

nurture, create a, a positive culture in an organization because

Carrie-Ann:

it's so much based on individual's experiences of that organization.

Carrie-Ann:

That might be the broader organization as a whole.

Carrie-Ann:

It might be a direct experience with their line manager, a colleague.

Carrie-Ann:

Someone else, in a different place in the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

And all of those individual experiences, I think add up to how people would

Carrie-Ann:

describe the culture in your organization, and particularly around change.

Carrie-Ann:

So you know, if you're implementing a new strategy, you are having to

Carrie-Ann:

change the strategic direction of your organization, you want that to be quick.

Carrie-Ann:

But we all know the culture bit feels like it takes a lot of time.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think that's where the rub comes for me.

Carrie-Ann:

I think the research has demonstrated it takes something like seven years to

Carrie-Ann:

change a culture in an organization.

Carrie-Ann:

Yet when culture is set up as a work stream or a program of work, you're being

Carrie-Ann:

asked to report to your boards every other month about where are we at with changing

Carrie-Ann:

the culture and, and all of that doesn't weirdly fit with the culture you probably

Carrie-Ann:

are trying to create in your organization.

Carrie-Ann:

So I, I think, sorry I've gone slightly off piece, but I guess the

Carrie-Ann:

bit around the strategy and culture and, and do they sit and work together?

Carrie-Ann:

Yes, I think they do have to, and I think if you work hard to create an

Carrie-Ann:

open, transparent, engaged culture in your organization that will help you to

Carrie-Ann:

develop a strategy and a common purpose and, and a sense of those common goals

Carrie-Ann:

that people feel like they can get on board with and own, I guess for each

Carrie-Ann:

leader and each organization, it's about doing that assessment of, of where you

Carrie-Ann:

are at with both of those things and how you can bring them both together to

Carrie-Ann:

support each other, if that makes sense.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

Often there is a gap between what they say the culture is and then what they do.

Lee:

And I think that's one of the biggest challenges.

Lee:

When it becomes a exercise or a campaign or something, you end up

Lee:

doing some posters or you might, it might be a CEO stands up in, in the

Lee:

room and launches something that's, this is the culture we are working

Lee:

towards, and then everyone thinks, well, we've said it, so it's changed.

Lee:

But if you're not doing the work behind the scenes on the behaviors,

Lee:

that's the most important thing.

Lee:

And I think that's where the integrity gap lies between this issue of

Lee:

strategy and culture and trying to change a culture into a direction

Lee:

that you want, because it is so much more than just a, a catchphrase.

Carrie-Ann:

And you said earlier about how do you get that balance of the two?

Carrie-Ann:

And I think there's something for me about you start to, um, create

Carrie-Ann:

the culture of your organization through having conversations to

Carrie-Ann:

try and seek that balance I think.

Carrie-Ann:

So, from my point of view, it is about having those open conversations and asking

Carrie-Ann:

people how they would describe the culture of your organization and what it feels

Carrie-Ann:

like to be part of the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

So you can start to understand more about that.

Carrie-Ann:

And like you say, think about where that gap is in terms of where perhaps

Carrie-Ann:

you and your leadership team think the culture is and, and where it

Carrie-Ann:

really is in the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

But I also think you can factor into those conversations, some questions to

Carrie-Ann:

your organization about what is it that your colleagues actually need

Carrie-Ann:

to help deliver on the strategy, on that vision, on that purpose, and

Carrie-Ann:

kind of tie, tie the two together in terms of having those conversations.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think for me, as a leader to, to balance the two, you have

Carrie-Ann:

to be open to seeking feedback and hearing what it's really like

Carrie-Ann:

to be part of your organization.

Lee:

I suppose feedback is, is one area in which you can learn about the type

Lee:

of culture that you are a leader in and you are potentially perpetuating.

Lee:

Other ways are, I suppose, looking at the feedback you are already

Lee:

getting that informal, formal feedback from maybe your staff.

Lee:

It might be from your customers or, or your clients.

Lee:

I think there's also, for me, there's something about that hierarchy and

Lee:

decision making in your organization and how that all sits and works says a lot

Lee:

about the culture that you are starting.

Lee:

Not starting.

Lee:

The culture that you are leading over does really come down to accountabilities,

Lee:

decision making and all of that kind of stuff, which again, when you're looking

Lee:

at the development and delivery of strategy can often be overlooked because

Lee:

we agree up here and then it gets passed down into the organization to be done.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess for me, just building on that point,

Carrie-Ann:

there's something around.

Carrie-Ann:

As well, like governance in organizations.

Carrie-Ann:

So linked to that accountability point, I often think when, when we've developed

Carrie-Ann:

strategies, we then look at our strategic objectives and lots of those are aligned

Carrie-Ann:

to different accountability lines through a governance structure in an organization

Carrie-Ann:

which can feel quite rigid and can feel very like up and down, very linear.

Carrie-Ann:

And I feel like sometimes that doesn't help when you are trying to think about

Carrie-Ann:

the culture of your organization because you are making assumptions that people

Carrie-Ann:

will give feedback about the delivery of the strategy and the culture of

Carrie-Ann:

your organization through a sort of escalation route and a very formal

Carrie-Ann:

route of governance, performance, that type of stuff, which, you know, you do

Carrie-Ann:

have to do around delivering strategy.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think it's about making sure there are other mechanisms to capture.

Carrie-Ann:

Not necessarily more of the qualitative stuff, cuz it doesn't have to be, you

Carrie-Ann:

know, it can be the hard data in terms of numbers, but just that you, you don't get

Carrie-Ann:

caught in that kind of very formal way of like, delivery, cascade down, cascade up.

Carrie-Ann:

We're not actually having conversations, we're we're being more directive.

Lee:

I think that's a really important point.

Lee:

And we've spoken before about you can miss a lot if you just follow like

Lee:

where the mass stuff is happening, whether that's decision making, whether

Lee:

the stats or data that you're look looking at, all of that kind of stuff.

Lee:

If you're not looking broader and in a more diverse way, you are not

Lee:

really tapping into what's happening in your organization or, or what,

Lee:

what your organization's really up to.

Lee:

If you've got the wrong culture, and I'm not going to attempt to define

Lee:

what wrong culture is cuz that will be different for every organization.

Lee:

But if you've got a wrong culture, where do you start to redefine and

Lee:

develop the type of culture that you want, in the way that you want?

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something about, uh, we we're talking about balance

Carrie-Ann:

a lot actually in this conversation, aren't we Balancing the type of culture

Carrie-Ann:

that you want with the type of culture that the rest of your organization feel

Carrie-Ann:

able to buy into, and actually your end state of what you'd like the culture in

Carrie-Ann:

your organization to be like, needs to be kind of defined and worked towards

Carrie-Ann:

based on where people are at right now.

Carrie-Ann:

And it's really important to understand that everyone will be in a different

Carrie-Ann:

space in terms of their experience of, of the culture in your organization.

Carrie-Ann:

Some people might already think that it's all good, um, and

Carrie-Ann:

that's fine and they're happy.

Carrie-Ann:

Some people will have had a, a really horrible experience

Carrie-Ann:

potentially in your organization.

Carrie-Ann:

I think the bit for me around where you need to start is

Carrie-Ann:

not dismissing people's past.

Carrie-Ann:

So where I've seen work around developing and creating new and different cultures,

Carrie-Ann:

changing cultures and organizations really struggle is when there isn't a

Carrie-Ann:

recognition of where people have come from and the entire focus has been on

Carrie-Ann:

right we're gonna be a compassionate, empowering organization if, if you are

Carrie-Ann:

not that, to start off with that so far removed from people's experiences that

Carrie-Ann:

they can't get in that head space to be operating and change in their behaviors

Carrie-Ann:

to demonstrate that type of culture.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, I think there is a, you know, you don't want to get caught up

Carrie-Ann:

in always talking about what it used to be like, but I think you do need

Carrie-Ann:

to do that piece of work where you reconcile people's history with the

Carrie-Ann:

desire of where they might want to go in terms of culture in the organization

Carrie-Ann:

to try and support that buy-in.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

I mean, if it feels like you're trying to climb Everest, and no one's had any

Lee:

training or support and they've got nothing to, to sustain them in the climb.

Lee:

They're not going to, to get there are they?.

Lee:

But I think there's also the flip side of, of, I suppose one of the downsides

Lee:

of when, It might be an executive team that have gone for an away day and written

Lee:

something on the back of a fag packet and not done that testing or making sure

Lee:

that it's represents the organization, is that they can come up with statements

Lee:

where actually can feel to people, well, we already do that, so are you, you saying

Lee:

in our team that we are not offering a safe or compassionate culture or just

Lee:

culture or whatever because it can be, as you've said so different and people's

Lee:

experiences and, and the microcultures that can exist within an organization can

Lee:

feel really different to maybe the macro culture that you are trying to create.

Lee:

And I think that's one of the, Issues if people go away and do

Lee:

this locked door exercise to come up with how they want things to be.

Lee:

And I say this even when I work one on one with leaders that not to go

Lee:

into an organization and just project what it is they want to achieve.

Lee:

It's got to come from a basis of understanding and answer, answering

Lee:

the problems and the questions that they hear of the people

Lee:

that, they are there to serve.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I, I think a lot of this ties into the conversation

Carrie-Ann:

we had in the episode around listening, to be honest with you.

Carrie-Ann:

Cause I think there is something really important about being curious and truly

Carrie-Ann:

listening to what you are hearing.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and, and in that episode, didn't we, we talked about it isn't

Carrie-Ann:

just about what people are saying, it is about behaviors, it is about

Carrie-Ann:

other data that you can triangulate.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, I think that's a really important part of where you start from

Carrie-Ann:

in terms of whether you've got this wrong culture that we're talking about.

Carrie-Ann:

I would say I, I also think there's something, um, just building on

Carrie-Ann:

the bit around microcultures that exist in organizations.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there is something come up time and time again for me in organizations

Carrie-Ann:

that I've worked in, around how much support and development we actually give

Carrie-Ann:

to leaders and managers in organizations.

Carrie-Ann:

And we often see in staff survey results that actually people's direct, reflections

Carrie-Ann:

on how they feel about working for the organizations are very linked to their

Carrie-Ann:

relationship with their direct line manager and whether they think their

Carrie-Ann:

line manager has good communication with them, whether they think they listen,

Carrie-Ann:

whether they think they share things about what's going on in the organization,

Carrie-Ann:

support them, all of that kind of stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

So I actually think part of, uh, shifting from a, a wrong culture to a

Carrie-Ann:

more positive right culture for your organization also has to be focused on

Carrie-Ann:

the developmental needs of, of the people that are helping to define that culture.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, so yeah, that would just be one of my observations, I think around

Carrie-Ann:

starting points and things, things not to miss when you are considering

Carrie-Ann:

how you might go about trying to, to change a culture in an organization.

Lee:

And you look at things like attrition of staff for example, the,

Lee:

the reasons that staff leave usually is because of line management.

Lee:

They, they don't tend to leave or stay at an organization cuz of the organization.

Lee:

They tend to stay or leave because of their direct experience of their managers.

Lee:

So going back to one of the earlier points that we were talking about this

Lee:

need to align, I suppose, the behaviors so that there isn't a gap between what

Lee:

you say you want your culture to be and what your culture ends up being, I

Lee:

think this is really, really important.

Lee:

I mean, it's important in culture, full stop, but particularly if you're trying

Lee:

to shift a culture, you almost want to create a sense of a movement, don't you?

Lee:

Of everyone feeling like they're getting behind a change.

Lee:

So how you frame it, I suppose, as a leader is a really important

Lee:

consideration and not often, and I don't mean framing it.

Lee:

Let's have a catchphrase and do a poster.

Lee:

I mean, about explaining what it means inherently to work in this

Lee:

organization and to be this type of employee and how you demonstrate that

Lee:

from a top to bottom perspective.

Lee:

So it isn't just leadership talking about what the organization, meaning

Lee:

everyone else needs to do, but it's about them looking at themselves and

Lee:

going, right it's how we behave as well.

Lee:

It's how we recruit people.

Lee:

It's what we tolerate in terms of behaviors and hold each other

Lee:

to account and all of that stuff.

Lee:

I think that can often be a disconnect between an organization and leadership

Lee:

when they're trying to shift a culture, because it can be seen as a done to

Lee:

exercise rather than a done with one.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I absolutely agree with you, and I also think on one

Carrie-Ann:

of the points you've made there, Sometimes that doesn't happen.

Carrie-Ann:

That leadership piece doesn't happen because that can be very uncomfortable.

Carrie-Ann:

So as a leader thinking about how are my behaviors impacting on the culture in this

Carrie-Ann:

organization, how am I demonstrating the culture that we are trying to, deliver and

Carrie-Ann:

achieving this organization can feel quite uncomfortable because you're having to

Carrie-Ann:

hold the mirror up to yourself, either as an individual or to your leadership team,

Carrie-Ann:

which may uncover the fact that actually some behaviors your own or of other people

Carrie-Ann:

in your senior leadership team do not lend themselves to the development of the

Carrie-Ann:

culture that you're trying to achieve.

Carrie-Ann:

And that can feel, I guess, either a bit anxiety inducing or a bit like something

Carrie-Ann:

that is too difficult to address so we don't wanna open that box and go there.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think it does take A really mature and thoughtful leader and leadership

Carrie-Ann:

team to, to truly be able to do that.

Carrie-Ann:

But it is hugely important in terms of, of how you shift and move a culture forward.

Lee:

Yeah, and I think that's one of the things that's frustrated me in my

Lee:

corporate career was the sense that often, you know, we've, uh, linking back to

Lee:

what we said at the start about culture can often be seen as a, a work stream.

Lee:

And it's one that tends to get dumped with HR and organizational

Lee:

development, may be sponsored by the chief executive, but there doesn't

Lee:

necessarily always seem that broader leadership, ownership of it as a thing

Lee:

because, oh, I'm working on the finances.

Lee:

Oh, I'm making sure we are running well operationally.

Lee:

They've all got these other responsibilities and, and the culture.

Lee:

That is just something that, that's the fluffy side and, and that

Lee:

really gets my goat, I have to say

Carrie-Ann:

I know don't, I can feel the red mist we talked

Carrie-Ann:

about starting to come down.

Carrie-Ann:

As you're saying that, Lee, I'm gonna try not to get into a fury about it,

Carrie-Ann:

but, but I, yeah, I agree with you there is something about if it is

Carrie-Ann:

seen as a separate program of work, it's always going to be somebody.

Carrie-Ann:

Else's responsibility to deliver.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and culture cannot be, culture cannot be the responsibility of

Carrie-Ann:

one or two individuals to deliver.

Carrie-Ann:

I use, you know, quotation marks, bunnies, whatever you want to call 'em.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I, it can't be it because, It's back to that point we made

Carrie-Ann:

about, it's about everyone else's experience of your organization

Carrie-Ann:

helping to define that culture.

Carrie-Ann:

And not everyone is gonna have a direct experience with one or two

Carrie-Ann:

individuals in the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

They're having those interactions daily.

Carrie-Ann:

They're seeing behaviors being role modeled daily.

Carrie-Ann:

They are making choices about how they behave daily.

Carrie-Ann:

So, yeah, it's got to be everybody's responsibility.

Carrie-Ann:

It can't, it can't just be down to one or two individuals who then

Carrie-Ann:

write a report every couple of months that says, oh yes, we've,

Carrie-Ann:

like you say, we've done the posters.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh yes, we've run a campaign.

Carrie-Ann:

Like, but really what, like what's the outcome of all of that?

Carrie-Ann:

What are you trying to achieve here in terms of culture and how

Carrie-Ann:

are you seeking that feedback to know the culture is changing?

Lee:

If someone's listening to this and they're may be not at the top of the tree

Lee:

in terms of being able to affect the macro culture piece, but they are working in an

Lee:

organization where they're not liking the culture that they're seeing, or they want

Lee:

to create a different type of culture that microculture that we were talking about.

Lee:

We know microcultures exist, but we know there needs to be some kind of

Lee:

alignment between what's happens at local level and, and the macro level.

Lee:

So I suppose if you are in a, a, a more junior leadership position, you can be

Lee:

in a rock and hard place sometimes if, if the cultures don't align or perhaps

Lee:

what you are trying to achieve is undermined by a toxic or slightly, you

Lee:

know, not the best type of culture more widely, is there anything you can do

Lee:

about it or is it just something that's your lot that you have to deal with?

Carrie-Ann:

I mean, I guess it really depends, doesn't it on the organization

Carrie-Ann:

that you are working in and, and, and how all of that is impacting.

Carrie-Ann:

I think you even as a leader in a more junior position, you, have the opportunity

Carrie-Ann:

to affect the culture in your own team and with those people directly around you.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think there's something about being aware of your behaviors and

Carrie-Ann:

how you're operating in that space.

Carrie-Ann:

I think if you are responsible for leading a team or a service, you can have those

Carrie-Ann:

conversations about what it feels like to, to work and operate in that space.

Carrie-Ann:

You can ask people, uh, what might be good to change?

Carrie-Ann:

Like are there ways of working things that need to happen that would

Carrie-Ann:

help change it and make people's experiences more positive and therefore,

Carrie-Ann:

The culture feel more positive.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it's important to try and find those route to, to provide that feedback

Carrie-Ann:

beyond your own team in the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think again, that's very much linked to what that culture is like.

Carrie-Ann:

So are those opportunities open to you to do that?

Carrie-Ann:

And do you feel comfortable and positive to speak up and have those conversations

Carrie-Ann:

if there is a misalignment there.

Carrie-Ann:

I think the thing I would say to be careful of, is obviously in your role as

Carrie-Ann:

a leader in that sort of conversation, you can often be the buffer between

Carrie-Ann:

what's happening at a more senior level and what's going on in your team.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think you need to, to really think about your own wellbeing, your

Carrie-Ann:

position, and your own integrity.

Carrie-Ann:

When you end up in that position, if there is a, a huge misalignment, if

Carrie-Ann:

the alignment is small, I think it's easier maybe to start having those

Carrie-Ann:

conversations to say, actually, you know, the experience in my team is this.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and maybe that's something that we could share is learning across other

Carrie-Ann:

teams to start, working differently or, or focusing on the culture.

Carrie-Ann:

If that misalignment is huge, I think there is a bit of a risk that being in

Carrie-Ann:

that slightly junior leadership position that you end up being buffeted between

Carrie-Ann:

the two and you just end up in a role where you feel like it's your job to

Carrie-Ann:

shield your team from all the negative stuff that's happening at the top.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think then that's probably when you want to start having conversations

Carrie-Ann:

about whether that organization is, is, is the best place for you to be in.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and links probably to the other conversation we've had in this series

Carrie-Ann:

around psychological safety as well.

Lee:

Definitely.

Lee:

That's what was running through my mind when you were talking how you

Lee:

create that safe space for people is, is really important, I think locally and,

Lee:

and more broadly in your organization.

Lee:

Okay.

Lee:

Let's say you are an organization who has seemed to be doing

Lee:

good and doing good things.

Lee:

Is it right for you to go about changing your culture when

Lee:

things are already going well?

Lee:

There are companies who continue to do active work on shifting their culture,

Lee:

even though they're in a position of great performance or great outcomes or

Lee:

whatever it is that they're striving from an organization point of view.

Lee:

And I just wanted to get your thoughts on that as a concept.

Lee:

Cause we've talked about the toxic side and I want to look

Lee:

at it from the other side.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I think there's something for me about, it's all linked to what

Carrie-Ann:

you're trying to achieve, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

So if you know what you are trying to achieve, um, that will probably help

Carrie-Ann:

you work out whether the culture shift needs to happen, even if you are already

Carrie-Ann:

working in a culture that is perceived or deemed to be positive and good and safe.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something about organizations and leaders who are very

Carrie-Ann:

open to continual improvement and learning where actually they would always say yes

Carrie-Ann:

we do need to keep focused on developing and changing and evolving the culture,

Carrie-Ann:

um, even though we are in a good space right now, because actually ev everyone

Carrie-Ann:

is evolving and learning and growing.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess you could be in an organization that's

Carrie-Ann:

got a really great culture.

Carrie-Ann:

That everyone who comes into contact with you loves, but then something like

Carrie-Ann:

covid happened, which completely changed the way maybe your workforce operated.

Carrie-Ann:

And now we've got a lot of remote workers.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually how do you need to shift, change, develop, grow your culture to

Carrie-Ann:

support the fact that people are maybe working in a completely different space

Carrie-Ann:

and environment where they're not coming into contact with each other in real life

Carrie-Ann:

every day, for example, which might have helped that positive culture initially.

Carrie-Ann:

So I, I do think there is always space to grow and learn and evolve, um,

Carrie-Ann:

organizationally and as a leader, I think my word of caution would be, I

Carrie-Ann:

guess one of the examples that I'm seeing right now, and I'm not, I'm not close

Carrie-Ann:

enough to know what it's felt like and what the culture was like before, but

Carrie-Ann:

there's lots on social media and in in the media at the moment around Twitter

Carrie-Ann:

and Elon must taken over Twitter.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess some of the perception of that is that actually colleagues

Carrie-Ann:

who worked for Twitter before what, you know, felt like it was a positive

Carrie-Ann:

place to work, there was innovation, people were happy in that workplace.

Carrie-Ann:

Not all of them, I'm absolutely sure, but the, the messages that are coming out

Carrie-Ann:

now is that Elon Musk gone in and just decided that everything needs to change.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm gonna throw everything up in the air.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm gonna sack lots of people, have a totally different approach to where

Carrie-Ann:

the, the organization is gonna run.

Carrie-Ann:

And for me, I guess maybe the bit that doesn't seem to have taken into

Carrie-Ann:

account is that culture piece because absolutely as a leader, sometimes

Carrie-Ann:

you need to go in and make difficult, different and radical decisions based

Carrie-Ann:

on whatever you are you are wanting to achieve with that organization.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think without understanding the culture in which that organization

Carrie-Ann:

is operating, um, you run the risk of having a really detrimental effect.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and it's a bit of like change for change's sake rather

Carrie-Ann:

than change for a purpose.

Lee:

I think that's a really good example.

Lee:

And it also, I wonder, and this is pure speculation on my part, but um,

Lee:

when you were talking about the people working from home, it also made me think

Lee:

about the, the changes with different generations and expectations of people

Lee:

in different generations and, and the culture of different generations and,

Lee:

and what that might bring to a workplace.

Lee:

And potentially Twitter is one where there's a, there is a generational

Lee:

cultural mismatch as well.

Lee:

So yeah, that's, that's an interesting dynamic and reason for why your culture

Lee:

will need to shift as well as that micro macro stuff that we've been talking

Lee:

about, I think is another reason.

Lee:

So, to get to our how-tos to wrap up the episode, how.

Lee:

, do you go about making culture, I suppose, part of your leadership

Lee:

manifesto if I could be so Grand?

Carrie-Ann:

Yes, be so grand.

Carrie-Ann:

And also, how are we at that point in the conversation already?

Carrie-Ann:

I feel like this could go on for much longer.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, there's loads of things I could touch on that we've covered in this

Carrie-Ann:

conversation about, you know, the listening and all of that stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

But, but I think the biggest takeaway for me is around actions, not words.

Carrie-Ann:

So it is so much about behaviors and people's experiences of those behaviors.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think if you want to make a culture part of your leadership

Carrie-Ann:

manifesto, you have to be demonstrating all of the actions that will lead

Carrie-Ann:

you and your organization to that desired kind of cultural state.

Carrie-Ann:

That would definitely be my thing.

Carrie-Ann:

Words are too easy.

Carrie-Ann:

It's the actions that will really matter.

Lee:

I think just linked to that is the accountability piece.

Lee:

So, how you celebrate the wins.

Lee:

I, it's is slightly off piece, but it makes me think of we've got a

Lee:

dog we've had him for about a year

Carrie-Ann:

Where is this going?

Lee:

But with dog training, we've been told you've got to reward the

Lee:

good behaviors that you want to see, that positive reinforcement.

Lee:

And for me it's almost like the opposite.

Lee:

So you need to show accountability and deal with the poor behaviors

Lee:

you don't want to see so that people understand what it is you do want to see.

Carrie-Ann:

I love where it went.

Carrie-Ann:

Having questioned where it was going.

Carrie-Ann:

I love where it went.

Carrie-Ann:

Lee

Lee:

on that note, I think we'll end there and we'll be back