Developing Inclusive Leaders is the key to successfully delivering major culture change - Dr Ian Dodds

Yesterday evening I attended a leaders’ networking event. It had attendees from a range of sectors and I was interested in the emphasis they put on the importance of getting the cultures of their organisations right. Often what they meant by ‘right’ was not clear; but I see it as meaning having their culture aligned with their vision of success and their strategy for delivering it. Invariably this means delivering major culture change to obtain the degree of alignment sought.

My approach to successfully delivering major culture change is to develop inclusive leaders right down to front line managers. The results have been exceptional e.g. turning a failing factory round to be one of the most successful in a global Corporate in 5 years; enabling a loss making international business with 11,000 employees to become profitable in 3 years; helping one of the worst performing offices in HMRC, with 650 staff, to become one of the best performers in 2 years; working with a global technology company to enable it to build an inclusive and collaborative culture to drive innovation in 3 years. The way I develop inclusive leaders throughout the management group in organisations I work with is to:-

  1. Work with the leadership team to enable them to create a vision of future organisational success in terms of delivering key strategic objectives by building an inclusive culture. This is then communicated down the management line to everyone and their feedback is obtained on what will help and hinder the delivery of the vision.
  2. Help the leadership team use this feedback to construct a strategy for delivering their vision covering quick wins and longer term strategic actions. Once again this is communicated to everyone and each team is asked to determine its contribution to the strategy.
  3. Help the leadership team set up a Change Steering Group to drive and monitor the implementation of the strategy and ensure blockages to it are addressed.
  4. Enable the leaders of the organisation to become role model exemplars in the behaviours needed to drive their strategy. In my experience this is best effected by their having feedback and coaching on their practice of the behaviours.
  5. Train all of the managers right down to the front line in:
    • listening skills, including: seeking information; checking understanding; acknowledging feelings and positive contributions; summarising; etc;
    • how to empower people;
    • how to give effective feedback and in-the-moment coaching.
  6. Show the leadership team how to measure progress in changing the culture and address barriers to it and share success stories and the lessons on good practices from them

This is a process that I have used for many years to develop inclusive leaders throughout an organisation and at all levels and always with success in terms of delivering major culture change. If you want more information on this please don’t hesitate to contact me.