Culture change

Leader Development Programme . . . done!

August ended with a bang as we celebrated 14 Leaders from Select Lifestyles, who completed the access2growth Leader Development Programme.

The last 12 months with them have been a huge success – just ask the Directors and Leaders!

No time to rest though, as we look forward to starting the 2nd year of the programme with a new round of Select Lifestyle’s managers next week.

The Leaders with their certificates.

The Leaders with their certificates.

The Leaders with Joe Booth and Leanne Shea.

The Leaders with Joe Booth and Leanne Shea.

Well done Select Lifestyles!

This month sees us start a 5th module in a leadership development programme, with Select Lifestyles Ltd.

Module 5 is different to the others and stands alone due to the technical knowledge required. Therefore we harnessed the skills of internal experts within the company to help write the education book and to present to the management team.

Joe and Leanne took a backseat as the presenters took over and did a sterling job! This module was a real team effort – well done to everyone involved!

access2growth tailor every program . . . and you don’t get more tailored than this!

And here they are - the Module 5 presenters!

And here they are - the Module 5 presenters!

Emma - Operational Developments Manager

Emma - Operational Developments Manager

Claire and Fiona - Operations Managers

Claire and Fiona - Operations Managers

Michelle - HR Manager

Michelle - HR Manager

Alex - Health & Safety Manager

Alex - Health & Safety Manager

Amy - Sales Ledger Manager

Amy - Sales Ledger Manager

Why too many new employees fail

This month we are working on successful Human Resource management for a client . . .

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Whilst specialised skillsets are essential for specific roles, we believe businesses should focus more on the attitudes and behaviours of the candidate.

Do technical skills really matter if the employee isn’t able to accept feedback, does not have the drive to achieve full potential or has the wrong personality for the organisation?

If your HR department solely covers all recruitment processes, try involving current employees – especially the line manager for the vacant role. They won’t be distracted by facts and figures, but will be looking for someone who is a good fit for their department.

Joe Booth's recommended reads

Whilst access2growth has kept Joe Booth busy for the last 25 years, he still finds time to learn new ways of working for enhancing efficiency and continuous improvement.

We wanted to share Joe’s favourite books from the last 25 years.

Have you read any of these?
Are there any books you highly recommend?

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Joe Booth’s summary of 2018 for access2growth

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2019 will be the 25th anniversary for access2growth.
I remember the trepidation I felt starting the company back on 1st January 1994. Could we make it work? Could we make a difference? Would our clients improve their business performance as a result of our support?

Since then so much has happened (over 150 clients – Rolls Royce Aerospace, Carl Zeiss, Denby Pottery to name a few). I will not bore readers with distant memories, however I am proud to say that 8 of our clients have won national awards as a direct result of our support – this I feel is access2growth’s greatest achievement!

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I must take this opportunity to thank all past and present employees of access2growth. Special mention goes out to Alison Johnson, who was there from the beginning, getting access2growth off the ground. And Paul Curtis for his tremendous contribution and valued wisdom - we could not have achieved our successes without him.

The core competency of access2growth was to help our clients implement Lean successfully, which we extended by creating “Lean Managers” to change the culture of the organisation. It is a pleasure to say that 25 years later we are still maintaining this!

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In 2018 I continued our work with existing clients, whilst my daughter Leanne Shea, progresses in her quest to introduce the Lean philosophy into offices – which is mostly unheard of and sadly neglected.
We also started a fantastic new Management programme within the Care sector, which has been fun and demanding….just the way access2growth likes it!

2019-20 is already looking exciting for access2growth. Keep up to date with us by following our LinkedIn page, using the link below:

 And thank you for your continued support

Words of wisdom for changing culture

Described by Jan Emblemsvåg, friend of access2growth:

“Edgar Schein recognized 50 years ago that culture cannot change as a project in itself. There has to be real, visible changes experienced by the people so that they actually see a new day rising. Moreover, these changes must be lasting and result in better performance. Once the performance is improved due to new ways of working, people will believe in these ways and they will stick. A new culture will emerge . . .”

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The Impact of Culture

Paul Curtis took the time out to write his thoughts on the impact culture can have on an organisation - see his article below;

Culture Impact

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In the 1980-90s a company’s culture was seen as an important element within the strategic planning framework.
Today however it’s seen as more tactical, not something to be lived, rather something to be planned and managed. Despite designed cultures rarely working, the subject of ‘Culture’ has become a low priority. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake.

Typically, an approach is adopted that best suits the company’s perceived needs i.e. develop a strategy that will keep you ahead of the completion and in favour with the customer base (assuming longevity is a desired outcome for the business). 

This thinking only relies on a critical assumption; that your strategy cannot be copied, or achieved faster by your competition.

Is it sound business practice to develop a winning strategy totally reliant on innovation (acquisition, products, service and cost) in a time where technology is growing exponentially? 

If one assumes everything can be copied, then differentiating yourself on the most difficult element to copy must become a critical success factor. Culture is extremely difficult to copy, it is even more difficult to achieve. 


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Is Strategy successful without an established culture?
With so much time invested in market research, consultancy support, communication forums, strategy workshops, deployment workshops etc., why do we still persevere with this obsession?

We are told it’s to; provide a clear plan of what the company needs to, give stakeholders/stock market confidence and provide clarity and guidance to the employees

Or is the truth . . . Sitting amongst all the bureaucracy ‘Strategy’ has just become the pursuance of just one metric ‘Winning’ where winning means generating big profits (irrespective of any social impact).

The development culture is dying and this action is producing the same results everywhere:

  • High flyers (promoted or recruited in) reduced to underperforming conformists
  • Fearful, anxious, bewildered and broken-down people trying to find meaning in their lives
  • People who want something to blame and blame everything that seems different
  • People who see the complexity but are marginalised amidst all the noise


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What can be done?
First stop looking for silver bullets. In 2003 a study was carried out by Harvard Business Review called the ‘Evergreen Project’. The aim of the research was to identify what differentiated the great companies from the others (criteria had been established to enable judging). 
The great companies excelled at four practices:

  1. Strategy - all companies within the research could evidence a strategy that was known by all employees not just a few
  2. Execution - flawlessly implementing the strategy
  3. Culture - having the right motivation and behaviours, including how good and poor performance was rewarded
  4. Structure - this equated to round pegs in round holes i.e. having the right people in the right jobs in the right organisation structure

The Evergreen Project established that without Culture the other three practices are not enough to achieve greatness. Culture can kill the performance of excellent people.

The conclusion we draw is that culture has become less important in the twenty first century. Peter Drucker once said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". Perhaps it’s time to renew our thoughts on culture to ensure our strategies have a better chance of working.



Article written by Paul Curtis (August 2017)