We are co-creators of culture change. We have a deep knowledge and understanding of culture and what it takes to demystify & re-design it, but our consulting “superpower” is our collaboration and thought partnership.
We live and breathe culture. Our purpose drives us. It is an unseen-yet-ever-present element that underpins everything we do.
We uncover the real stories and behaviours that shape culture. We use research and expertise to demystify it, apply thought leadership to reshape it, then partner with you to create enduring change.
We help organisations prosper by realising the full potential of their people & their purpose through culture.
Some describe culture as an organisation’s personality, or “the way we do things around here”, however we believe culture has many more elements to it, so this only goes part way to capturing its true complexity.
At CulturAlchemy, we describe culture as; the prevailing beliefs, stories and unwritten ground rules that shape how people behave. These behaviours in turn are shaped by what’s valued, or celebrated, punished, ignored or emphasised.
I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.
– Vern Dosch, Author, Wired Differently
Ignore it at your peril!
While the world during and post-pandemic will never be the same as before, each seismic adjustment and adaptation we are having to make, will exploit a strong culture, expose a poor one and inevitably change your organisation’s culture, the most powerful enabler of adaptation and performance.
So each jolt and adaptation represents a unique opportunity for your organisation to pause, notice, reflect and reboot. Strategies will be dynamically reviewed to adapt to firstly a period of economic hibernation and later to the post-pandemic landscape.
The mode of leadership will similarly and necessarily shift and words like risk, adaptability, autonomy and agility will take on new meaning.
Pre pandemic the increased focus on culture change came from increased disruption in areas such as climate change, health, technology, financial and regulatory issues and shifting societal expectation Compared with what we are facing now, the word “disruption” seems somewhat inadequate yet all of those themes are still in the background or hugely amplified.
Many organisations celebrate how they “shine in crisis” but how will they shine afterwards? Technical and rational approaches alone will no longer serve organisations well. Businesses are being forced to find new ways to leverage the strategic, leadership and cultural challenges they face.
The concepts of strategy and leadership are well understood. Peter Drucker’s often repeated phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast” still rings true. But organisational culture remains mysterious and ethereal. Nothing is clearer than the disastrous impacts of a misaligned or toxic culture. Just looking at the time spent on managing politics, covering up weaknesses, the impacts of low trust and disengaged staff, creates a vivid picture of how much there is to lose from poor culture.
On the other hand, organisations that foster a strong and aligned culture reap the benefits. They release the full potential of their people; embed innovation and solution generation, respond calmly and efficiently in times of crisis, improve talent attraction and retention all of which have a direct line of sight to performance and resilience.
Paying attention to culture today is about uncovering the real stories and behaviours that shape culture, using research and expertise to demystify it, and applying thought leadership to reshape it.
There’s really no such thing as internal culture anymore. Your culture is always public, and it’s your most powerful, public-facing asset – or liability.
David Mattin, Head of Trends & Insights, TrendWatching
Culture is complex, intangible and messy. For many, culture is difficult to see and understand, especially when you’re in it. You can endlessly change processes, capability frameworks and organisational charts but you can only affect real culture change when you tackle the invisible stuff. This is what makes it so hard to do, especially for those on the inside.
Whilst “what gets measured gets done”, when it comes to culture change, we recognise that those unseen or yet undiscovered stories and behaviours are an important part of demystifying culture and re-shaping it to align with leadership and strategy to truly prosper.
Organisational strategy is an important function for most organisations. Targets are set and results are monitored in order to successfully achieve organisational goals but making these targets a reality will depend on the culture and behaviours of people. Not just what they do, but how they do it, how they adjust when they’re off track.
No matter what goals have been set for an organisation, understanding the implications of how people will need to behave differently moving forward, will directly influence achieving them. Importantly, organisations also need to understand what is at risk if they can’t get alignment of behaviour & culture to strategy.
Evidence from studies on culture and performance overwhelmingly conclude that a tangible economic value is created by companies who pay attention to their culture.
So why pay attention to culture;
- It creates alignment, trust and a common sense of purpose inside and outside of an organisation. A strong culture can therefore signal certainty and consistency to customers.
- It provides a guide for behaviours that are aligned to organisational values, which means that an organisation can be efficient and creative in how it gets things done, responds to opportunities and resolves conflict.
- It engages employees by giving them a purpose and a voice.
- It makes recruitment and onboarding easier, ensuring the right people are hired and they reach efficiency more quickly.
- It leads to retention, engagement and a sense of well-being and psychological safety for employees. This is proven to enhance productivity and performance.
Risk is reduced and reputation preserved as inappropriate or unethical behaviour is called out or managed.
Culture is the self-sustaining pattern of perception and behaviour that determines how things are perceived and therefore how they are done (adapted from Jon Katzenbach, Carolin Oelschlegel, and James Thomas 2016)