Evolving Culture to Support a Challenger Bank to scale

This was what the client sponsor wrote…

Our business was, in many ways, at a recognised inflexion point; an initial period of youthful energy and adrenaline fuelled growth, was maturing into something a bit more mature and sustainable.  We recognised that whereas previously, cultural alignment had just “happened”, our growth had started to create some misalignment and that we therefore needed to intervene to address that, and create a solid base for our future.  As is likely to be the case with many businesses, we first of all tried it ourselves, however it was unsuccessful – done as a side-of-desk exercise by enthusiastic, but inexpert volunteers, it lacked pace and failed to gain traction.  There was also a strong sense that it failed to get a genuine understanding of exactly what the organisational culture, and any issues in it, were.

We therefore went to market to find a third party who could help us.  There are many consultancy firms who offer relevant services, however we felt that our challenges required a very specific capability, that being to look a CEO in the eye and say “I disagree”, or “have you thought about…?”  The selection process therefore focused on experiences of highly challenging environments, dealing with individuals who held forceful, often irrational perspectives and who held only limited convictions as to the importance of getting the workplace culture right.  Culture Consultancy stood out in this regard.

The goal was to define a Mission, Vision and Values for the business, subsequently embedding them into the fabric of the organisation.  This was achieved in a collegiate manner through a series of interviews and workshops that also delivered a robust baselining of where we were today.  This was particularly enlightening, and highlighted some home truths that were latent, but not sufficiently visible, so as well as progressing the broader culture change agenda, it flagged to us some specific issues that had to be dealt with there and then.  Culture Consultancy excelled throughout with not only their expertise and insight, but also their ability to manage multiple, complex stakeholders through outstanding levels of communication.  It is also worth adding that budgets, agreed at the outset, were rigorously managed and adhered to, so never any surprises.

To launch the new Mission, Vision and Values, we held a company-wide conference, orchestrated by Culture Consultancy.  The feedback was superb, with staff hugely motivated, something that in itself told us just how overdue this work was. Work continued thereafter with the business and with HR to embed within the organisation.  The result is that we have a new way of looking at how we see our own behaviours, and how they come across to colleagues and customers.  There is a new found sense of purpose throughout the business, with people in all roles much clearer on how what they do, and how they do it, impacts on customer perceptions of our business.  And quantitative assessment of staff engagement and satisfaction has increased.

John Eastgate, Sales & Marketing Director