As COVID hit its global markets, an international financial services firm swiftly moved its entire workforce to remote working. And at the same time, a division employing 6,000 people launched a radical culture change strategy that required the understanding and commitment of every person in the organisation.
Contexis was charged with ensuring the strategy was not just understood but owned by the entire international workforce. And at the same time, in the midst of crisis, employees felt connected, secure and committed.
Start with Why
The first step was for everyone to understand and fully engage with purpose and how this created context and meaning for the new strategy. Shared purpose bridged the physical and social distance between team and leaders. And it allowed everyone to connect with why it mattered.
But that wasn’t enough. To succeed, everyone, working from home, had to take personal ownership and responsibility for change. And that required a shift from a culture of hierarchy to one of autonomy and self-responsibility. And a new spirit of trust, cohesiveness and inclusivity.
Finally, that culture had to spread across the organisation to embed unstoppable change.
The programme consisted of 4 main phases:
- Inspiration: own purpose; welcome change, learn new tools and skills to effect the change
- Engagement: design the change to own the change; everyone contributing ideas, devolving change literally to the grass roots
- Execution: live the change; team by team, every part of the firm puttting learnings into practice every day
- Extension: spread the change; taking the process to the entire organisation
6,000 people living the change started with 120 senior and mid managers in cohorts of 10 in a programme of Teams-based workshops, discussions and self-learning lasting 6 months. That group formed the core of leaders who took the programme out to the next 1,200, with the support of in house facilitators and moderators trained and supported by Contexis, and ultimately 6,000 people. That process is ongoing.