On Thursday 23 May, Minttulip co-hosted our second free Culture Summit with Microsoft, once again jointly organised with our Microsoft friends Olly Heron and Richard Fisher.
Again, the agenda was untraditional, with no dedicated product updates or licensing “pitches”.
Once again, we focused on customer stories, and examples from “real life”, where knowing or not, success has been driven by adopting a growth mindset, whilst “Working out Loud” to achieve positive cultural change. This time we made sure to make progress on a number of fronts, not just through more concrete customer stories, but by broadening the audience to include commercial customers, and by launching a new network for the conversation to continue in – and live on past the day itself.
Feedback from the day clearly tells us these simple fundamentals were gently placed in the hearts and minds of our attendees – as intended.
Olly Heron and Minttulip MD Rob Mossop opened the summit with a thought-provoking metaphor to describe the cultural aspects of organisational strength:
- Shear Strength can be delivered through engaged employees that work with a clear purpose under a shared vision. This can boost retention, happier people and a higher performing organisation.
- Tensile Strength can be delivered by off-loading mundane tasks allowing people to withstand and resist the pull of firefighting, distraction, and time-wasting. Focusses on quality time, delivering autonomy in choice of work and becoming a more creative organisation.
- Compressive Strength can be delivered through an agile digital working culture, giving people the flexibility to pursue ideas, so that in tough times you can grow out of challenges and resist the crushing efforts of the outside world. This can resist the impact of external pressures, to work rapidly on your most important challenges.
At Minttulip, we see these organisational strengths as a critical component of a successful culture and of high performing teams and companies – they are common components across the public and commercial sectors that deserve proper attention.
This was followed by our HR panel discussion with: Johnny Kersse (HMRC) | Jacqui Lloyd (CITI) | Sharon Hunt (Microsoft). It covered many deeply involved diversity and inclusion aspects and provoked some great discussions about the challenge that HR functions face, and the critical role they play in driving cultural change. Made me think about Alan Turing, OBE, voted our 20th century icon in BBC2 show Icons.
Alan was a British genius mathematician – considered father of computer science and AI. Also, homosexual, and certainly on the Autistic spectrum. What’s clear is that HR hiring policies across private and public sectors are being change to properly include: LGBQT, Autism, and those with disabilities in recruitment programs.
Also, it made clear the importance of Accessibility in tech products as enablers for participation at work. A monumental cultural step change applauded and copied more and more broadly. I love this quote I recently found: “We need to recognize the importance of variability, both in ourselves and the people around us.” Unknown.
Next up, our new Minttulip colleague Dan Thomas and I presented on “How to refresh your culture and stimulate engagement”. Dan joined Minttulip from Lloyds; he lives and breathes insights on culture change. He’s been a real tonic helping us to change our culture by nurturing a new community – please join us and our conversations around culture change! More about our session can be found in these two stories (link) (link).
Our second panel discussion on the changing workplace included lively discussions with:
- Zoe Humphries from Steelcase who have published ground-breaking research on the future of the workplace well worth reading. One of the most interesting aspects of their work is how they synthesise changes in perception of what work is, the availability of new digital capabilities, and the physical places where work takes place to build a clear vision for supporting a different kind of flexible work culture in organisations.
- Samit Saini spent 13 years at Heathrow as an IT Security Officer, now regarded by his peers as an Office 365 Solution Specialist. He and his now manager, Komal Tekchandani, show clearly how a growth mindset approach can bring huge benefit to individuals, and organisations. The work Samit has done developing a range of time and resource-saving PowerApps is indicative of how effective organisations support the passion and interest of individuals to develop themselves and their abilities. Watch their inspiring and emotional culture change video below.
- Steve Sprange from Bank of England shared the success they have nurturing a network of change agents (Digital Ninjas), and how using ‘adoption by stealth’ can be a highly effective mechanism for provoking interest in new capabilities. Steve is passionate about winning the hearts and minds of users, not just bombarding them with technology, and the huge strides made at The Bank show how effective their approach is.
- Simon Parr from the Police National Enabling Programme shared his unique sense of humour and passion on culture change in both the Police Forces he has worked in, and as a result of his work on the NEP. Some of the stories about the barriers that internal policy throws up around things as simple as ordering a new pair of trousers resonated very well with the audience – it’s clear that we all have idiosyncratic processes that get in the way of our “real jobs”, and that removing these strips out distractions.
- Mel Andrews at DEFRA told us some stories about the challenges of scaling change programmes across a large organisation composed of multiple departments. Building consistent messages and including everyone can be a real challenge at that kind of scale – but Mel gave us some great insights into the work they’re doing at DEFRA.
Stuart Love the CEO at Westminster City Council closed our event with a fascinating explanation of how WCC are instilling a growth mindset with the “The Westminster Way” that is slowly but surely changing the culture in a variety of ways.
One of the key elements Stuart mentioned revolved around their work on diversity in hiring policy, which touched nicely on previous themes on the HR panel. One of the clearest messages from Stuart was that it is the duty of leadership to be visible and engaged in their pursuit of cultural change.
It is not enough to set some policy and leave it to others – cultural mindset is an aspect of an organisation that requires continuous support and renewal, top to bottom. Our story touches on Stuart’s session.
If this whets your appetite for more thought provoking organisational cultural exchanges, please contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter – or one of our speakers. We will ensure you are added to our new a social network public community and on the guest list for another event later this year.