Changing cultures

GAIA changing cultures

February saw the GAIA Members Conference take place virtually, continuing on from the travel constraints of COVID. Members were privileged to be joined by the Chairman of Sewells Business Transformation Specialists, Dr William Holden, who delivered his keynote speech on Changing Cultures.

Dr Holden presented why having the right culture is vital to business success and sustainability. Culture is present in any business of more than 2 people and it works best when you design and improve upon it rather than just letting it evolve on its own accord. However, in designing your company culture, Dr Holden says that it needs to be thoughtful and deliberate with the team, clients and shareholders in mind. Over the last few years, company culture has been challenged with COVID lockdowns and hybrid working models. It has never been more important to have a supportive and motivating culture in order to energise your team.

Dr Holden continued by saying that culture should unite and motivate everyone behind the company’s vision, values and strategies. He outlined the elements required to build a dynamic culture, which includes purpose/mission, vision, values, standards of behaviour, strategies and objectives. Once a team truly believes in their company’s values and mission, they will challenge roadblocks and become more effective on the journey to the company’s objectives.

Following on, Dr Holden discussed the Performance Breakthrough Pyramid and the need for a company’s values and objectives to align. Team engagement is critical to business success and the latest research highlighted the most important questions to ask a team to judge engagement levels. Results from this research show that the top-performing firms tend to have higher team engagement levels than the industry averages.

Dr Holden then moved on to how to enhance and positively change your culture. To do this, you first need to understand what you’re changing in people, then establish where you are now and whether the culture needs changing. You then need to create a “guiding culture champions” team and not just leave it up to one person to drive it.

A common question raised from the membership was how do you get people on board if they are not engaged in the company’s culture?

Dr Holden responded by saying behavioural change is at the heart of cultural change. Culture is about hearts and minds, not about having your motto plastered on a t-shirt. Attitudes are contagious and attitude is simply an individual’s chosen response to a given set of circumstances. Dr Holden’s session ended with him asking the membership, how do you create an environment where you feel so good about what you are doing and the contribution it makes to the client/team/community that people want to be involved and engaged to the point that they become unstoppable?


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