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Leading by example - a powerful driver of culture change

IDC has considerable experience of working with leaders in organisations to help them drive culture change.

At the outset, we always make clear that the example set by a client's leaders is key to influencing others in their organisations to behave in the new ways their business strategies require.

We are currently working with a client which has realised that its employees need to be able to relate better to an increasingly diverse range of customers. Initially, they had had some feedback from one of its accounts that some of its men had poor client relations with their senior women. When they looked into this they were disturbed with what they found. Not only were some of their most senior and experienced men failing to build effective relationships with the senior women in the account; but they were also failing to understand the client's very different culture.

The client decided that a powerful intervention was required and discussed what to do with IDC. This resulted in a decision to utilise IDC's leadership behaviours' development programme for 45 of its top leaders.

The starting point was a workshop, which IDC designed and facilitated, to develop a Leadership Behaviours' Charter which pinpointed those behaviours the leaders needed to practise to deliver success for the account. Using IDC's online leadership behaviour survey tool, each leader then received feedback from 10 observers, some of whom were colleagues and some customers. Each leader had an IDC coach who confidentially reviewed their feedback and worked with them to develop a personal action plan to enable them to build their effectiveness in practising their weaker behaviours. Their coaches are now working with them to help them implement their action plans. In about four months time the online behavioural survey will be repeated. It is what IDC calls a pulse feedback survey which will be repeated at approximately four month intervals.

This client had IDC's leadership development process recommended to them by a director of another organisation who has been using it for over 12 years to drive culture change in the different organisations in which he has held senior positions. There are a number of different approaches that IDC has developed that can be adopted to reinforce the organisation-wide adoption of the behaviours from the leadership example. These include facilitated observer feedback meetings as well as interactive theatre workshops to illustrate good and bad practice of the behaviours.

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