Culture Change

Effective organisations have alignment between what leaders say, how they behave and the actual operational processes within the business.

Culture is often described as “how things are done around here”. It is the combined set of behaviours, ways of working and business practices of an organisation. An organisation’s culture builds up gradually over time, to deal with its external world in which it interacts and its internal world of how power and resources are organised to get things done. This becomes a ‘dominant logic’ that runs through the organisation, so no matter how clever the people, they seem to be hard-wired into a certain way of thinking and so changing it can be complex and difficult.

Our Approach to Culture Change

Combining the insights from Business Psychology and Organisation Development, OE Cam can help you define and then deliver a change in culture. Specifically, we focus on the few critical behaviours that a business needs to demonstrate that are crucial to delivering the organisation’s strategy.

The first step in our approach is to help you define the target culture that will support and enable the delivery of your strategy. The aspirational culture needs to be broad enough to be inclusive, tight enough to have meaning and edgy enough to be challenging. Many cultural change programmes fail when the defined target culture is too generic and/or disjointed from the organisation’s reality.

Tailoring the target behaviours

In our experience, the right target culture will be articulated in a way that is specific to the organisation, in order to guide how people work together on a day-to-day basis, help when making difficult decisions, and identify acceptable and unacceptable ways of working.

Redesigning how we work

Our approach also goes beyond the traditional culture change programme and talent management processes. We also help you to look at what changes are needed to the work environment, work flows and how decisions get made, in order inhibit those behaviours you want to stop, and promote and embed the behaviours you need across the organisation.

Encouraging new habits

As Business Psychologists, we are also able to look more deeply into assessing which employee habits need to change and work with you to identify effective ways in which people can be nudged into adopting the right behaviours for the long-term.

What’s Involved?

Every project is bespoke, however culture change projects typically include the following aspects:

  • Define your target culture with your senior leaders, who understand what is required to support the delivery of your strategic goals;
  • With a cross-section of your colleagues, run focus groups to provide examples of how this target culture would manifest itself, and also actual examples of the culture today;
  • Build a change programme that sets about encouraging a shift in behaviours.  This can include changes to how you engage with your employees and changes in your HR processes such as recruitment and performance management;
  • Review and change work processes that prevent the behaviours you are seeking to avoid, and promote those behaviours you need.

Why do I need culture change?

At certain times of their life, organisations can find that the behaviours, ways of working and business practices are ‘rubbing up’ against what is needed to survive and thrive in the external world in which it operates.

From inside the organisation, it can sometimes be difficult to step outside one’s environment and clearly articulate what behavioural change is needed to deliver the strategy.

Then, when delivering the change, the organisation’s leaders need to face up to changing “how things are done around here”, which often will challenge their own sets of behaviours and beliefs. It can also challenge their individual power base and could mean a significant change to how they operate.

Why OE Cam?

Our team of Business Psychologists and Organisation Consultants have the experience and expertise to help you shift your culture to become more innovative, customer centric and performance oriented.

We can help executive and senior teams manage the difficult transition from where it is today to where it needs to be, helping them face up to some difficult changes to ways of working. For example, we can provide external challenge to the organisation when defining its target culture, and ongoing coaching of the executive team as it grapples with unlearning old behaviours and introducing new ones.

To learn more about our Culture Change services, please contact Gary Ashton at or phone our Cambridge office on +44 (0)1223 269009.
We welcome all enquiries.