How to create a single unified culture when the people came from several different acquired companies?
This was the challenge facing Pöyry Management Consulting. With cartoons and storytelling they’ve made progress
Cartoons and storytelling to develop culture
Congratulations to Pöyry for their cultural development project being one of the five most innovative Human Resources projects and winning an international award. Thanks to all the people involved, especially the project team and the project leader Jane Piper of Pipsy. The Boston Consulting Group and World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) recognised the project for its new ways of involving people in changing an organisational culture. The competition was fierce and the winners were selected from over 3,500 survey responses in 101 countries.
What was the project goal?
The Management Consulting division was established in 2010 from seven different parts of the Pöyry Group. The goal of the winning culture project was to understand the Management Consulting culture and to explore how to ‘think, feel and act’ as one global consultancy, leading to improved client service.
How was the project approached?
The project approach was to drive cultural change from bottom up and to get commitment to cultural change from everyone.
The first stage of the project was to understand the culture. For that purpose, the project team gathered 115 stories describing the culture (both positive and negative) from the staff. Storytelling created a fun atmosphere where sharing thoughts was easy. From these 115 stories, eight stories were selected that best described what encourages, but also hindered, acting as one global consultancy. These stories were then illustrated in cartoons.
Stage two of the project focused on how everyone could play a role in changing the culture. People reviewed the cartoons and discussed the underlying stories in several workshops. All agreed on the actions necessary for cultural change. These had to take place on three levels – personal, local office and organisational – to change the culture. These actions are currently being implemented.
The power of storytelling…
Storytelling proved to be a very successful way for people to relate to describing and defining the organisational culture. Cartoons were a playful, but also thought provoking way of engaging people in conversation about cultural change. Engaging people in the discussion was important for them to think about how their own behaviours could change the culture.
This project demonstrates the approach Pipsy takes to projects
- innovative but pragmatic
- focusing on getting real change at all levels in the organization
- impacting on business results.
For more about storytelling read the blog Storytelling, cartoons and cultural change – an unlikely mix?