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January 25, 2022

Inspire – Innovate – Motivate

Changing culture from the roots.

2 min read

Andy Barker, a Bahrain-based executive coach for SpeakingIn, outlined the tree model in his presentation at Health, Safety, Security & Environment Virtual Summit held online on the 16 18 November 2021 on the impact of organisational culture and behaviour on outcomes. The tree model characterises the roots as the basis of organisational culture and decisions, while the taste of the fruit characterises the outcomes that reflect values and the way organisations deliver their purpose.

Barker stressed the importance of getting the culture right from the roots so the “nutrients” received by the organisation produce good “fruit” rather than poor outcomes, particularly in relation to health, safety and security goals. 

“A lack of cooperation leads to a lack of information, and a lack of information leads to bad decisions – and bad decisions hurt people,” Barker explained.

He said that values are the same as its behaviours and leadership “sets the tone”.

Barker’s presentation featured a case study about a facilities management company that undertook maintenance work on high-end buildings that are frequently made with expensive materials. He said the company was having a problem with leaks developing and, after digging deeper into the company’s culture and behaviours, revealing insights emerged. 

Both clients and employees saw the company as “transactional, aggressive and focused on cost-cutting” and “nobody knew the company’s values”, Barker said. As well as clients being unhappy when leaks developed, employees felt undervalued, did not care about their work and “made the bare minimum effort”. But cultural change, including improved employee engagement and leadership driven by values, “turned the company around”.

Employees are “very forgiving” when management is prepared to make positive changes – and this leads to better outcomes, Barker concluded.

Interview by Georgia Lewis Editorial Services

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