Consolidating an Empowerment and Accountability Culture – Case Study

The Business Need

Laya healthcare company’s management wanted to consolidate their culture and integrate a focus on empowerment and accountability across the business.  The management had launched a successful buyout and rebrand, and the company had an excellent record as an employer of choice, with positive employee engagement results.

The ndc Approach

ndc started evaluating the current culture by:

  • meeting Director of HR to understand the business context and needs
  • meeting the executive team to explore each of the executive’s perspectives on the culture and the behaviours they wanted to develop more in the future.

Executive Effectiveness

ndc began a benchmarked 360-degree assessment for each member of the executive, with coaching sessions tailored for each individual.

Once executives had begun to recognise their own strengths and gaps that they needed to address, a two-day executive retreat was held.

At this retreat, they had time to reflect on themselves and their respective roles in the business, as well as to share each other’s assessment feedback. We examined their collective profiles and the commonalties that defined them as leaders and the likely culture this would create.

Together they identified the immediate steps they could take to reduce some of the unintended consequences in the culture. Each executive continued to have individual coaching on increasing constructive behaviours to promote a culture of accountability and empowerment, without losing their focus on customers and respect for people. ndc introduced the concept of having regular ‘check-points’ during meetings and with each other to ensure alignment. The executive saw this as simple and helpful input to make them more effective.

Strategic Management Development

At this point we also began to work with the next level leaders.
They each undertook a positive psychology-based self-assessment with feedback from colleagues (Strengthscope). Each team member received an in-depth debrief and coaching meeting tailored to their needs. Subsequently, we held a series of workshops to develop constructive communication and conscious business behaviours.

To consolidate the work with both groups, we facilitated an articulation of the culture as perceived by this group and reported that to the executive. Following further team workshops with the executive, we brought both groups of leaders together to establish improved ways of working to promote ‘working as one’ and foster greater accountability, and empowerment.

The Outcomes

  • Behaviours of individual executives began to change almost immediately. Those who were often quick to challenge or oppose began to ask more open and curious questions, and listen better to colleagues and reports.
  • Each member of the executive introduced having a formal personal meet-up to align and connect with each other more fully every three months.
  • This promoted greater joined-up working and reduced misalignment at executive meetings.
  • Their shared understanding of the unspoken culture-shaping messages they send to the business increased, and they were able to prompt and support each other about this.
  • The next level of leaders gained the courage and confidence to challenge upwardly robustly and to influence processes and ways of working that improved ‘working as one’.
  • Opportunities were identified to make some business operations more efficient and to begin to address mindsets that were not fitting for the future culture they require.
  • Key behaviours that promote engagement and empowerment were linked to key performance indicators and reward structures.
  • Their annual employee engagement survey results, while already above average, showed marked improvement in some departments.
  • Meetings became more efficient, key decisions were made in a timelier manner and there was a substantial reduction in time spent preparing reports.
Written by:
Dr Martin Egan

Culture Consultancy, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development

September 29, 2018