Why we set up Pecan

When I was leading culture change and colleague engagement at Co-operative Banking Group I couldn’t find a company to support us with the change journey our people were going on. 

I could find a number of brilliant organisations that could help us with elements of it:

  • Comms and creative agencies who designed fantastic visuals of the journey and a brilliant portal to help us to embed the culture through peer-to-peer recognition and feedback
  • Leadership development and coaching companies who did really good work with the top 200 population
  • Research companies who told us what our current culture and people engagement was
  • Training companies who offered to change the behaviour of our management and front-line populations

But there were a number of things missing:

  • There was no one who understood the overall process of changing a culture – at best they were specialists in their part of the process
  • Speed – we had two years to create an integrated, customer-focussed culture, from two organisations that were superficially similar but intrinsically different and neither was customer focused!  Multiple partners added time-lag, not to mention putting pressure on leadership and management time as they came up to speed with ensuring they understood the current situation and the gap
  • Insight – we were offered lots of information but little insight and so felt that we were dealing with a blunt instrument when we had a budget that required a sharp one
  • Which takes me onto my next point – budget. I was in the very fortunate position of having a small culture and colleague engagement team (for which I am very grateful to my highly enlightened Chief Executive and Organisational Design Director!)  We also created a team of 90 change champions across the organisation - people nominated for their passion for change, ownership of the values and influence on others.  So I had some great people … I just didn’t have masses of money and could not afford to use an external resource to train everyone or to duplicate the cost of briefing and inducting lots of different parties who all needed to gain a deep understanding of what we were doing.

So, we did it ourselves, with very specific, targeted external support. Within two years we established a culture with 90% pride in the company (benchmarking 5% above other high performing organisations) and the best customer satisfaction of any high street bank.

In order to do it we had to make the organisation responsible for changing itself, without doing lots of development activity first (we simply didn’t have time to be linear!) and so we developed frameworks that any people manager could deliver. We worked with our partners to help them to provide us with the insight we needed and developed new methods for measuring engagement and culture. We catalysed behavioural change through providing tools to managers that meant they designed and delivered interventions from their people’s perspective which dramatically reduced any natural resistance. We worked closely with the organisation so the approaches developed were relevant and useful, whether the population worked in a call centre, a branch, or head office. 
We weren’t starting from scratch. The leaders in my team had changed culture in a number of companies previously and the approaches used were tried and tested.  What we hadn’t done before was to organise it into a structured system. 

So is changing culture hard?  Yes, it’s hard because it requires commitment and determination. But it isn’t rocket science - it’s a series of relatively simple steps.  We call it People Engaged Change™

So, if you want a partner who can help you throughout your process of people/culture change. A partner who can and wants to take responsibility with you for your change outcomes and benefits. A partner who wants you to own and become capable of culture change so that you can sustain change, realise the benefits of it and change again, as customers and markets demand it.  And a partner who has done it before, on a number of occasions, very successfully, Pecan could be the partner for you.