‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ is a phrase originated by Peter Drucker.
What does it actually mean in terms of behaviours though? And how do you create a culture for success?
I’ve been reflecting with Alexa Hawkins Bell, Fundraising Development Manager at Mind on the work we’ve done to help the Mind Development and Community and Events Fundraising teams develop their team culture to help them work together to achieve their targets.
Culture is ‘how we do things here’. It’s the attitudes we bring to work. It’s the words we say. It’s how we respond to others. Culture plays out in our every day behaviours.
Every organisation has it’s own unique culture and cultures can be shaped.
I work to help teams develop a culture where innovation can flourish. I help individuals and teams to make time to think about the big picture, to work together to build on ideas, to develop and test the most promising ones, to learn from failure and build their confidence to challenge ‘how we do things here’.
Part of the Lucidity programme is around influencing, because if you are working on anything new, you can’t expect anyone else to like your idea. You have work to do to get others on board, whether that’s senior managers to allow time and budget or colleagues in your own and other teams to help you deliver your new idea or project.
‘There isn’t much focus on training that helps you to be confident, or helps you to work with your peers. It’s those skills that are often referred to as soft skills. I think the term soft skills is wrong. They are integral skills. The more I work with teams I see how people could make more headway in all interactions of work if they were more practiced in these integral skills.’ Alexa Hawkins Bell, Fundraising Development Manager
With every training day or programme I take a brief to understand the current culture and the shift that is required. For Mind I ran workshops every month for a year, each one unpicking a different element and providing practical application of integral skills including building confidence, bring you best self to work, influencing, stepping out of your comfort zone, managing up, thinking differently, giving and receiving feedback and speaking up in meetings.
‘The team loved it – they said it was some of the best training they’d ever had. Lucy’s training gives an opportunity to practice in a safe environment and the shift from discussion to practice really makes the learning click in’ Alexa Hawkins Bell, Fundraising Development Manager
What does the culture look like now?
There’s been a shift in attitudes and thinking. There is more bravery and a greater appetite to self directed learning and development. For example, people have more confidence to ask for feedback straight away, rather than waiting for a 1:1, teams meet to plan their strategy for important meetings ahead of the meeting and pitches are practiced more (and won). There is a more open environment and an acknowledgement that everyone is doing the best job they can with the tools they’ve got, and a greater willingness to ask for help because sometimes things simply don’t go to plan.
Building a culture for success is an ongoing process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It take time, commitment and small steps. If you’d like some help contact lucy@Lucidity.org.uk