One ship, one route
The voyage of any company in today’s market is full of obstacles: tough competitiveness, globalisation, a fight for talent, etc. If, moreover, the organisation is lacking in internal unity, in the long term, its development will not only be complex but unviable as well. The main subject pending in the whole company is to define its identity and to engage the whole team in it.
Objective: A company that has split from a powerful group needs to create its own culture and identity that bring the workforce together and convey a single image to the market.
Project: To use an own approach to define the mission, vision and values and to communicate them to the entire organisation.
Outcome: The values form the core strategy and DNA of the company, which becomes a benchmark for change and modernisation.
Who are we? If an employee is unable to answer this question, either he is not aligned with his company or the latter either has not known how to convey its own personality to him or it does not have one. The problem is that such a lack of identity represents significant internal inefficiencies that are transferred to the market in countless ways and compromise the fulfilment of objectives.
The situation faced by the organisation featuring in this case was just that: a lack of own identity as a consequence of its track record. It was a firm that had demerged from a major business group that bequeathed a paternalistic, almost bureaucratic culture, and where the new workforce worked with a different vision, caused mainly by the entry of a venture capital firm in the company’s management.
When the management detected this imbalance in the team’s approach and modus operandi, it decided to start up a project to create a single corporate culture that would involve all the employees and which would become the company’s distinguishing mark for setting all its objectives and its work methodology.
Who are we?
The main objective of a project like this is to define who the company wants to be and on what pillars it wants to build its culture. This must be the function of some well-defined values: enabling the company to know who it is and where it is going, but always at the service of strategy.
The work is carried out in three stages:
- Cultural audit: As a step prior to the change, the starting-point must be defined. In this case, the different models that co-existed in the company were analysed, ranging from those inherited from its former parent company to those brought by the new members of staff.
The company is a melting-pot of disparate views, where each employee has the culture of the firms he has worked for and there is no unification in the values, procedures or criteria. All of the above impacts:
- the personnel’s commitment; there is no brand engagement;
- the team is not pulling in the same direction;
- the processes and management styles are very different;
- a very disparate brand image is transmitted to the market and this impacts results.
Based on the audit, the work methodology for the next stage is set whose aim is to create brand identity.
- Design of values: These are the DNA of any organisation’s identity; they must have a real part that reflects what the team is like and an aspirational part that includes what it wants to be like and how the brand endeavours to be perceived.
When referring to values, many people resort to timeworn, overused clichés without thinking about the way in which they really impact both a brand’s personality and its team and their work. What usually happens is that many employees are unable to explain what their company’s values are and even less so describe the behaviours that are directly linked to them.
That is why, in this stage, work is done directly with the management:
- workshops with the management committee to define what the company is like and what it wants to be like;
- value design: it is important to have few very clear values. Likewise, it is very important to define the behaviours that shape a value in order to ensure that all the company’s employees are familiar with its meaning in their everyday routines.
- it is essential to profoundly reflect on the values that differentiate one company from another.
- Communication plan: Values are not stated, they have to be felt. Hence, once they have been defined, it is essential to design an overview to help everyone understand, share and, ultimately, experience them. The communication stage gives special prominence to middle management, who will be the officers tasked with conveying them on a day-to-day basis. In the end, everyone will be the protagonists of the values.
The fall of the wall
Symbolic and efficient at the same time: the best lessons are learnt in a hands-on way. The sharing of new values begins with a workshop where the employees, formed into teams, create a wall containing the individual and organisational barriers that might block the process, as well as the levers that will make its implementation easier.
The fall of the wall represents the overcoming of all the barriers. The values become the core of the strategy because the wall is not only torn down symbolically but the workshop serves to design strategic actions, a training program by values and a new performance appraisal model.