Leadership, Strategy, Culture and Change Management

In our view, the above are all linked. To lead change effectively, any organisation needs clarity of vision, strategy which supports that vision, a culture which encourages the values and strategy to genuinely be ‘lived’ and strong leadership to drive the organisation forward.

‘The only constant is change’ is as true in the public sector as it is in the private sector. None of us can afford to be complacent about constantly re-evaluating where we are now, where we need to get to and what we have to do to get there. In plain English, that’s what strategy is.

All too often, vision and strategy are seen as an annual cycle of planning activity which must be done, usually to satisfy other people, and once done are then not communicated particularly well. The effect is like driving a car with an inefficient engine without knowing where you’re going.

When working with our clients, Blue Horizons team will always advocate considering Leadership, Strategy and Culture together. Led by the client’s needs, we will normally undertake a combination of the following activities:

Leadership Profiling & Development

Development of any top team will pay dividends. The result will be a team equipped with the right skills to successfully drive their organisation’s strategy forward.

Widely tested 360 degree profiling tools are applied to help managers at all levels see themselves as others see them. Self awareness is the first step to the positive behavioural changes which will increase effectiveness and benefit the individual, team and whole organisation. Leadership is also not the preserve of position. This process can encourage ‘leaders’ at all levels.

Once the profiling is complete, each participant will have a confidential one to one session for their feedback which involves help to develop their personal action plan. Ideally, this will be supported by a sustainable mentoring network. Where appropriate, we encourage the organisation to use its own people for mentoring rather than outside resource as this can also continue the development of its senior managers.

This facilitated process is completed by a second profiling up to 1 year after the first to measure progress and set any further development objectives which, by then, it should be possible to support internally.

This process can be augmented by many other development activities , often linked to considering the implications and communication of the organisations’ strategy and critical success factors.

Developing Strategy

Any consideration of strategy should start with the Vision. If this is not already clear or needs to be reviewed, we will facilitate a Vision and Values session with the top team. The values are important. These should not be a series of ‘nice’ statements that sit on the pages on the business plan but do little else. These should be the genuine guidelines of how the organisation goes about it’s day to day business, how it wants to present itself to customers and how it expects it’s staff to behave. These are the modus operandi and may be referred to as critical success factors within some organisations. An important part of our session(s) will be how these values or critical success factors are communicated to everyone, managed and measured (see Culture Pulse® ).

Strategy is essentially the route map to achieving the vision. The Blue Horizons team has many years of experience in the strategic development of companies and public sector organisations both as senior executives themselves and as professional advisors. This experience includes working with small young companies, large organizations and government at all levels.

We would normally help our clients undertake strategy development through a series of facilitated workshops. Where needed, we can also help managers facilitate workshops for their staff to ‘translate’ what the vision and strategy means to them on a practical level and ensure good communications. This can be part of the leadership development process for managers, helping them to apply key leadership skills in real life situations.

Our experience has led us to recommend that development of the top management team should always be considered in conjunction with the organisation’s future strategy since this is often neglected. In the worst cases, this can actually block or slow down progress. However, when it is more appropriate for strategy to be considered alone this can also be done, using a variety of different approaches:

Structured workshops

Working with clear objectives and focused on specific outcomes, strategic planning can be undertaken over a longer period. This may be beneficial for strengthening teams and gaining ‘buy-in’.

Facilitated discussion

Facilitated discussions can help where key issues have not been articulated. The presence of a neutral facilitator enables discussion to be focused on solutions and what’s good for business. Within this, we may apply consensus techniques to help facilitate agreement on areas where views may not be consistent.

This technique can be applied to many situations ranging from problem solving to strategic discussions. It can also be used within team building events where the client would find it useful to combine a team activity with focusing on one or more business issues or opportunities.

Team Building

Off-site unusual locations are used to remove people form their normal environment and the day to day pressures. When relaxed, thinking positively and creatively, this is when the best ideas often emerge.

Remote inspirational locations, exciting and fun ropes courses and an ocean going yacht are all used to create the right environment for building better teams.

Blue Horizons can also undertake team analysis with the use of Belbin and MBTI profiling instruments and then help you use this information to further strengthen your team.

Change Management

The process of change management is basically the combination of all of these elements – a clear vision with supporting strategy, a culture which supports and encourages the kind of beahviours and processes that are really needed and effective leadership to drive the whole lot.

Being able to measure the results and quantify cultural change is key in terms of both ‘business’ results and operational effectiveness. This is where we make use of Culture Pulse™.



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