Expertise

Culture Transformation from the Top

  • How can you reinforce your strategy by shaping your company's culture?
  • What is the behaviour gap to high performance on the top leadership levels?
  • How can your top team and top 100 role model aspired leadership behaviours?
  • How can you mobilize your Top 100 for measurable cultural change?
  • How can you monitor changes in leadership performance over time?

Client challenges

A strong, healthy and performance-driven culture is one of the outstanding competitive advantages for any organisation. It is the organisation's mental software that ensures disciplined execution of strategies, real customer delight, full buy-in from employees, and highest operational efficiency. Against managerial wisdom, however, culture is a simple thing: "Culture is behaviour": it is the attitudes and behaviours of all members of the organisation, starting at the top. Thus, there is one major lever that fundamentally shapes an organisation's culture: the "shadow of its leaders".

Transforming the corporate culture is not about culture events, nor can it be delegated to the HR department – it is, first of all, the leaders' game. It is a top team driven process, focused on building the behavioural assets for improved business performance. Mobilizing for culture transformation requires leaders acting as role models on all levels of the organisation – starting with the team at the top. And yes: Based on this, the multiple enabling technicalities of culture embedded in people systems and structures – like performance management, reward systems, and talent development – are effective levers for culture change as well.

Typical situations we are asked to step in…

  • Developing a strategy-focused leadership framework with the top team
  • Initiating the development of a NewCo culture in post-merger situations
  • Engaging top 100 effectively in role modeling a high performance culture
  • Anchoring new feedback-rich leadership culture in the organisation
  • Shaping executive team's culture transformation agenda and roadmap.

Our expertise

Working with executive teams to mobilize for a business enabling culture transformation we focus on three crucial tasks:

First, you can't create what you can't define! We help top teams to see through the "fog of culture". Using a deep understanding of current features and key drivers for organisational behaviours as a point of departure, we enable them to develop a company specific leadership framework, to define the behaviour gap, and to tailor their transformation roadmap.

Second, it all starts at the top! We support top teams to act relentlessly as a role model for the aspired behaviours by constantly providing feedback in a reflective dialogue with the top team. Culture transformation is a leaders' responsibility. Top-down initiation and disciplined role modeling are crucial for persistent and successful culture transformation.

Third, engage all levers and hold steady! With our proprietary and proven Top 100 Leadership Camps, we create a feedback-rich, self-energizing process of transforming leadership practices throughout the organisation. As experts in anchoring new behavioural practices through tailor-made leadership development – based on teaching, group action-learning, individual customized 360° feedback – we enable business leaders throughout the organisation with the reflective competencies they need to bring the aspired culture into being.

Client benefit

In working with us, top teams…

  • understand the connection between culture, behaviour, and business results
  • understand their contribution as role models for a high performance culture
  • learn to leverage the leaders throughout their organisation for culture change
  • share with their leaders on all levels a joint leadership agenda
  • thus, systematically build up the behavioural asset base for lasting success. 
HHL - No. 1 Business School in Germany

It is an honor to be part of the HHL faculty as HHL once again is named the No. 1 Business School in Germany 🏆. In a comparison of 107 universities in Germany, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management reached the top rank in five out of eight categories, once again leaving behind a large number of private and public business schools. The empirical basis of this year's trendence Graduate Barometer "German Business Edition" are the responses to a survey from 13,646 students during the 2017/18 winter term.

Digitization and "good old things" at HHL

At HHL Forum on "Leadership in the Digital Age" at Leipzig Graduate School of Management, we had the pleasure to talk to Prof. August-Wilhelm Scheer, "the" pioneer on digitized processes. Scheer was just appointed to the "Hall of Fame of German Research" for his unique Integration of innovation spirit and entrepreneurship. He highlighted that digitization will have one major impact, not to be underestimated: to gain time and energy for "the good old things", like sharing experience, personal coaching, building relationships, talking to each other. This hits the core of our work: For us, leadership in the digital age is all about enabling and empowering individuals and people networks throughout the organization to collaborate for innovation and superior results.

Great to learn from Jim Collins in London

"OK – so, who has looked in the mirror this morning and saw one of those visionary, larger-than-life leaders?" In his first interactive Leadership Session in Europe since 20 years, Jim Collins got it straight at the start! NOBODY, nobody should ever stop learning. Exactly this learner’s attitude and curiosity enabled him to define The #1 differentiating step from "Good to Great" – "Level 5 Leadership". Indeed, he wanted to take "Leadership" off his research agenda and had to question his own basic assumptions as he learned quite the contrary from his team: It is Level 5 Leadership, framed as Personal Humility, that makes a Great Leader – quite a challenge to the heroic leadership attitudes that we often observe. To create motivation and buy-in effectively and lasting, leaders have to neglect their ego and focus on the purpose: "Personal Humility channels the energy to the cause, not the person. Thus, make people follow the cause, not the person!"

Integrating Google's Mindfulness Practices

"Search Inside Yourself", an awareness training developed for Google to enhance personal growth, is nowadays an integral part of our clients' Leadership Camps and Leadership Teaching. We had the privilege to take part in the first European training in Berlin, today offered in multiple major cities across Europe. It is a refreshing practical reference to Daniel Goleman who taught us years ago about the power of Emotional Intelligence. What sticks still in our minds? Well, learning to be in the "here + now" takes time, endless efforts, it doesn’t come easily – thus, it's best if you do it with a benevolent "grandmotherly mind"! When your thoughts start wandering around and you need to refocus your attention to the breathing, do it with a light heart and a smile. Remember: What was your grandmother’s reaction when she found her sofa covered with coloured hands from your paintbox – while you were hiding, feeling guilty? "Oh, never mind, that’s alright, my darling, you creative little artist". Yes, that's a "grandmotherly mind", forgiving, generous, tender, loving!

Our Executive Training on Leadership at HHL

Leading your Self; Leading your Team; Leading your Organization - this is the core of our Executive Programme on Leadership at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management that we lectured in May 2018. Our next Leadership Training at HHL will be in February 2019. Again we focus our teaching and interactive learning for a group of international executives on our major goals: The executive students learn... to reflect one's personal contribution to effective/ ineffective leadership; to understand the strengths and weaknesses of specific leadership styles; to analyze real-life leadership challenges within teams and organisations based on state-of-the-art theory. The programme uses a combination of lectures, group discussions, self reflection, case studies, small team assignments and action learning – highly effective and appreciated by the executives as the high gradings in course evaluation feed back!

7th series of our Top 100 Leadership Camps

In 2018 we will run our next Leadership Camp series for another one of our clients. Again, we design and run this Leadership Camp in 6 waves with our client’s Top 100. We will work with small cross-functional groups of 15-20 managers, focussing on two major goals: 1. "Aligning the Top 100 Management Team" to jointly reflect and adapt behaviours according strategy and to collaborate more effectively; 2. "Developing the individual’s leadership capabilities" to enhance self-reflection and personal growth and to connect on a personal level for trustful relationships. Enriched by state-of-the-art knowledge and Insead Group Coaching, the Camps are a unique, highly appreciated and effective blend of small team assignments, group discussions, self-reflection based on 360° feedback reports, open peer feedback, case studies, action learning, and Google’s Mindfulness Practices. As "culture is behaviour", our Leadership Camps serve not only as a powerful engine for culture transformation. The Camps serve also as a highly powerful lever for bringing and keeping strategy alive, recalling Peter Drucker’s famous warning "culture eats strategy for breakfast"!

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