Culture themes

Aligning the senior team

The challenge

The senior team casts a long shadow. They set the culture through their behaviour, the decisions they make and their priorities. If you have defined performance outcomes that depend on certain behaviours for their achievement, the senior team must ‘walk the talk’ and align their behaviours, values, and beliefs to the culture they require to implement the business’ strategy. It's the basis for truly effective senior team behaviour.

How do you achieve such alignment in a group that may have their own agendas, drivers, beliefs and unique personalities? How do you get those who don’t yet see the value in culture management as a business tool to work with you?

Executive team alignment in culture transformation

Recognise the risks

  • The culture debate may be seen as intrinsically part of employee engagement and HR.
  • Individuals may believe that their areas have healthy cultures, with the need for change lying elsewhere in the business.
  • Individuals may not be aware of their own management style and belief system; they believe they are already good role models for the organisation. It can be particularly difficult for those whose careers have rewarded them for being the way they are.
  • The organisation is investing heavily in value statements, new review procedures and internal communications to raise awareness of the desired culture, but the senior team are doing the same things as they did before. The senior team are failing to walk the talk.

Action checklist

  • Review the culture. Are the differences between the stated culture and the cultural reality created by the leadership team and experienced by your employees?
  • Build culture leadership capabilities within your senior team. Managing culture is like any other business skill, doing it successfully is often not intuitive. You’d train your team to use a new IT system, so why not train them to build skills in culture?
  • Leading culture well is frequently a personally transformative experience. It requires high levels of self-awareness. Consider 360 reviews and 1-2-1 coaching to build effective senior team behaviours.

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