Category Archives: Organisational development


How (and why) to be an agile organisation

As mentioned in last month’s article about Artificial Intelligence, the world of work is continuously evolving. This demands that we all operate in a more agile way.

Being an agile organisation is a competitive differentiator. Not many organisations have completely transformed, although some are moving towards it. For example one of my clients is introducing agility in a big way. They’re transforming the way they work and disrupting the traditional ways of operating. Some organisations haven’t started yet, particularly those who are strongly wedded to hierarchy. But, if they don’t keep up, their business will disappear like Kodak and other big names who are no longer trading.

This article looks at the key factors to become more agile at the organisational level, some of the things you’ll need to let go, and the mindset you’ll need to embrace (especially if you’ve been working in the traditional way for ten years or more).

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Being an authentic organisation

Last month, we talked about Being your authentic self. In short, it’s about being who you are and being comfortable with that.

Authenticity can apply to organisations as well as individuals, particularly as we move further towards a world that’s run by technology. The danger is that the workplace becomes an impersonal environment that ignores the emotional and social needs we have as human beings.

How can you create a culture that embraces technology and enables people to be their authentic selves? This month’s article comprises two complementary ideas about how to be an authentic organisation.

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How to design an agile organisation

In today’s complex, interconnected and rapidly changing environment, it is more important than ever that organisations can respond quickly whilst still achieving efficiencies of scale. A key enabler of this is having the right organisational design, and recognising that the design of yesterday (designed for efficiency and assuming predictable patterns) will no longer work in the digital age, where agility and speed of response is key.

Matrix working – please click to enlarge the image

All your practices need to combine in the service of cohesively driving the business strategy in this environment, and good organisational design does this by taking into account:

  • Customers
  • Processes
  • Systems
  • Culture
  • People practices

Nowadays, whilst hierarchy is still present, organisations also model matrix working, cross-functional working and flexible teams. Flexible teams, in particular, are key to enabling the agility required to compete – coming quickly together and then disbanding quickly.

In addition, I am seeing communities being formed to drive specific agendas and influence their organisation’s culture (e.g. employee wellbeing; building a reputation for innovation; creating a feeling of community at one site where there are disparate functions). This is typically done at site level, but could also be done at functional level.

What this means to you as a leader
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6 stages of change management

Last month, you learned about the award-winning change management project I ran recently together with my associates. This month, you’ll discover how you can apply our unique six-stage methodology to your own change programme, with its focus on yourself and others (know yourself and know/support others).

Note that it’s important to accomplish each phase before you move on to the next, as each step builds on the previous one – if you skip or skim over a phase it’ll come back and bite you!

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Award-winning change management


L to R: Lesley Pugh, Lisa Hancock (client), Rose Padfield, Emily Sun

As you might have seen in my recent LinkedIn announcement, The Padfield Partnership has won an award for excellence in change management, presented by the Association for Business Psychology.

The award was granted for a large change management project I worked on with two of my talented associates. Please read on to understand the work we did and discover the implications for your business.

This links to my article Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action

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Setting your company vision

Research often shows the first trait employees want from their leaders and colleagues is honesty. The second trait they want is for their leaders to be forward-looking.

Setting the direction is therefore a key part of your role as a leader.

You have probably heard the expression ‘start with the end in mind’ from Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

In this article, we look at the points to consider when creating a vision statement. (I have previously shared some exercises to create your vision – see at the end of this article for links to Organisation Development parts 1 and 2.)

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Futurism: Future-proofing yourself and your business

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to be curious beyond the day-to-day operational imperatives to consider what the world will look like in 30 or 40 years, and decide what we can do now to be part of that.

This month’s article gives you food for thought about the interesting topic of futurism – in researching this article, I was amazed and fascinated at what is happening out there, and have included a few of the lesser known developments in case you find them as fascinating as I do.

In a work context:

  • As an organisation, you need to balance the demands of today with making time to prepare for the future
  • How will you manage the demands of customers (whether they are internal or external) in the here and now, who are not thinking long term?
  • With the increasing pace of uncertainty and change, how will you manage your own stress levels and support your employees, and keep yourself and them marketable?

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Introducing nudge theory

This month’s insights are inspired by Inside the Nudge Unit by David Halpern. It describes the work he has done in behavioural science, especially with the UK and US Governments. It’s an interesting topic that companies are beginning to talk about.

Read on for an easy-to-remember model and ideas about how to apply nudge theory to organisational life. I hope you find it as thought-provoking as I do. There are also a couple of quick video clips that are really interesting, so it’s worth clicking on them too!

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How (and why) to collaborate effectively

More than ever before, collaboration is encouraged to ensure the best thinking comes through and that organisations create an environment that enables people to fulfil their potential. That’s why this month’s issue looks at how to collaborate effectively in the workplace, giving you both theory and practical suggestions for you to apply.

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Culture and why it matters

This month’s article is from a client of mine, Gabrielle de Wardener: She works at Aimia, a data-driven marketing and analytics company which owns and operates loyalty programmes around the world. In her role as Culture and CSR Director, Gabrielle has introduced innovative and award-winning ways of delivering CSR in a meaningful way, and in this article she shares her approach and its impact.

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