The Culture Builders

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March 4, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive - working with purpose at the heart of the culture

Selina Hales, founder of Glasgow-based Charity, Refuweegee talks to Owen Cook about managing, leading and looking after staff, volunteers, and yourself in a high-purpose environment, where people pour themselves into their work.

The conversation brings lessons in working towards unachievable goals and developing a symbiotic relationship with your people in order to continue to perform under difficult circumstances. If this one doesn't give you goosebumps at some point, we don't know what will.

This was recorded pre-pandemic.

March 4, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive - Leadership in the charitable sector

In this episode, our Head of Programmes, Owen Cook, talks with Diana Jupp, the CEO at Pancreatic Cancer UK - the Charity leading on raising awareness of this type of cancer and providing support to patients and families affected by it. Diana talks about the challenges that working in a charity so closely linked to loss brings to her and the team.

During the course of the conversation Diana shares her insights on maintaining culture whilst growing an organisation, the difficulty of finding the right balance between investment and delivery when you have limited resources, and what to watch out for in your people when they are driven by purpose, possibly to the point of burnout.

This podcast was recorded pre the pandemic.

March 4, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive - keeping an eye on the talent ball

How do you maintain culture, connection and performance in your organisation when you add talent? In this episode, Hilary Wells - HR Director for Hawkeye - talks to Owen about managing and developing people to achieve high-performance.

Hilary shares her insights on recruiting people during phases of rapid growth, in contexts ranging from family-owned, to truly global businesses and dealing with the resulting shifting dynamics.

January 28, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Talent in the new reality

Kellie McSorley, Founder of  SILK Search and The SET joins Jane Sparrow to discuss the current and emerging talent landscape that organisations are experiencing. Her insight is both deep and broad – bringing in a number of perspectives that point to the emerging direction that organisations will be taking as they look for the next wave of senior leaders.

In a pandemic and hopefully post-pandemic world, new skills are going to be critical as companies look to on-board people who bring a strong mix of ‘soft skills’ that enable them to effectively manage a rapidly evolving workplace. Placed as she is in the thick of the search for talent, Kellie talks fluently about the immediate Executive talent needs and what is being seen on the horizon. A compelling listen.

December 11, 2020  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Don’t wing culture in aviation

Jane and Chris both take time on this episode to interview Peter Davies – a man whose vast experience and knowledge of the aviation industry and its unique leadership challenges needs two interviewers to do justice to! He’s a turn-around specialist who has rekindled the passion, and passenger numbers in a number of airlines and aviation-related organisations. But he’s not your average trouble-shooter.

To give you an insight into this, he devotes five minutes of this podcast talking about fixing toilets. It’s not as trivial as it seems, and it’s something that typifies Peter’s style – caring about the small elements that make an organisation successful. And, critically, caring about its people. He talks about the head and the heart of organisations, and where they sit for him. You’ll be surprised and fascinated by his answers. He’s a positive challenger or, as he calls himself, ‘a fixed disruptor’. His industry insight is fascinating, and his wider leadership approach is inspirational.

December 9, 2020  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – The Culture of the Board

Sir John Tusa’s board experience reads like a top ten list for the UK arts world. He’s been part of the governance process for organisations such as The British Museum, The English National Opera and the National Portrait Gallery. This, on top of a career that’s seen him running the BBC World Service, co-founding Newsnight and managing London’s Barbican Centre. So, when John writes a book about Boards, you know it’s going to be good.

Chris recently reviewed John’s new book – On Board – and was compelled to talk to him about how an organisation’s culture is impacted by governance, and the people who are trusted with it. What he got was a podcast that is packed with stories that draw from four decades of practical experience, both as a senior leader and as a senior Board member. You’ll want your pen ready for this one – it’s littered with advice and insight that everyone will value.

November 26, 2020  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Energising a magnetic culture

Libby Townsend – Group People Director at OVO Group – joins Jane Sparrow to discuss her experiences in a range of corporates, and what she sees as the deeper factors that create a ‘magnetic culture’ for organisations – drawing in and keeping bright people as we enter the new year and a range of new challenges and possibilities

She shares her journey and learning points around the creation and maintenance of strong cultures - such as her tent-in-a-field induction with Virgin Mobile and how it demonstrated the power of fun in an organisation. Libby also talks about the difficulty of ‘retro-fitting’ purpose in organisations, and the challenge of trying to motivate a ‘stale’ culture.

Currently, Libby feels that the organisations weathering the current situation most successfully are those that have a clear, lived purpose, and are actively encouraging dialogue and communication that is based on it. She sees managers as the vital success factor, and believes that organisations should be placing a great deal of emphasis and support on this group – something based on her own experience of being a mentor and remaining connected to those she has supported as they have grown.

November 13, 2020  

The Culture Builders Burst – There’s something funny about culture

From March 2020 to today we have all been living and working on a rollercoaster – the initial stages filled us with fear and trepidation, but also with a keen sense of humour and shared laughter. Over time, fear has become resignation and humour has faded. But, with the change in seasons, steps ‘back’ around lockdown and people feeling at a low ebb, we need it more than ever.

In this quick burst episode, Chris takes a dip into this surprisingly complex subject and highlights its importance (and risk) in creating a strong team culture. He also lays down the challenge of bringing it back – dialling back up the ‘funnies’ and finding ways to share humour. We all need to smile right now, and it’s not something we should leave to chance.

October 15, 2020  

The Culture Builders Burst – Unplug to recharge

With statistics right now indicating that two thirds of us are facing issues with burn-out, it’s vital that we start taking on board the idea that ‘unplugging’ is a critical factor for sustainable working, and to give use a fighting change of making it through this most difficult, prolonged period of uncertainty. No one is taking the right amount of time off at the moment, and people are working longer and harder than ever. But it will end badly if we don’t make some changes now.

Jane and Chris, on this Burst podcast, share some very practical ways of building in the ‘pauses’ and the permission to stop – even short moments that give us back the energy and focus that we need. They encourage listeners to think about ‘structured’ and ‘unstructured’ unplugging – either things we plan for and implement in a planned way, or those ‘happy interruptions’ that give us a pause and a change of pace. Their tips, as ever, range from the easy to the extreme – this time, it’s dogs and broken legs.

September 3, 2020  

The Culture Builders Burst – How to make September the start of the next chapter

September will be a significant turning point for many of us – as the critical situation created by COVID19 will become a chronic situation that we are learning to live with. The change of the season and the return to school/work for many is a signal that a change is hopefully coming. We have an opportunity to define the next stage of our strange 2020 world, and it’s important that we don’t sleepwalk through it and miss the opportunity. Cultures are fluid, people are looking for change and, with the right pace, great things can happen.

Jane and Chris share three areas of focus and consideration for anyone thinking about how to tackle the next few months – how to take ownership of the direction of travel and use the situation to move the culture of your organisation forwards. There’s a reminder of just how far we’ve come, how much new ‘muscle’ people have developed over the last few months – and how we harness this growth-under-pressure. As Chris says, there’s no blueprint for the future of work, so we either sit and wait for it to appear, or we create it ourselves.

 

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