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Incommunities - Developing the Leadership Culture

October 31, 2017 11:36

Developing the Leadership Culture Case Study 

Bradford based Incommunities is a Registered Social Housing Provider. The organisation manages and owns more than 22,000 homes, offering a range of housing options and services for local communities. ICE were commissioned to help the organisation to develop and grow ahead of competition from 47 others. Our practitioners were chosen for their “unique and individual” organisational development approach to transformation.

Read More....  Developing the Leadership Culture Case Study

 

For more information please contact: 

Rachel Stamp 

rachel.stamp@icecreates.com 

07979 906 065 

 

Are you a boss, or are you a leader?

October 30, 2017 10:43

The distinction isn’t always clear – surely if you’re a boss, you’re also a leader by default? I have a great working relationship with my teams at ICE. They know me very well and frequently tease me by saying ‘Okay, boss. What are we doing?’, knowing that this term makes me cringe. To me, the term ‘boss’ is synonymous with a blame and shame culture. It’s an archaic term that has no place in today’s modern and transparent organisations.

Instead, I take pride in being able to call myself a leader. As a leader, I’m aware of my own limitations and I create energy by nurturing and developing the people I work alongside. Being a leader is about creating a climate of mutual accountability, shared vision and like-minded values.

After much reflection, the Natural Leaders experience was designed to help unlock leadership potential and to create teams that are thriving, not just surviving. We’ve even recruited man’s best friend to help!

“It was a really interesting way of looking at leadership and working with people and looking at it from a completely different perspective.” – Dr Rachel Preston, GP, Cumbria CCG

Consider this scenario: someone approaches you and asks what your organisation’s purpose is. They probe further – “what is your organisation’s ‘why’?” Do you intrinsically have your answer ready? Would all members of your team be able to answer without hesitation? A boss would be confident in their ability to answer, and would reprimand any individuals who they deemed to ‘fail’ this role-play. A leader makes it their mission to support all individuals, exploring what’s important and co-creating, resulting in engaged teams with confidence in their individual and collective autonomy.

And that’s the difference. A leader becomes immersed in their teams, never turning their nose up at a challenge, regardless of how mundane it may seem. In contrast, a boss stays at arm’s length, never dirtying their own hands or opening themselves up to a critical friend.

On the field with our working sheepdogs and sheep, you will be transported to a safe learning environment. Free from existing social hierarchies, you and your team will be free to explore, engage and connect – the results will amaze you.

“I know that the majority of our 12-strong team had mixed ideas in terms of what lay ahead as the day began; never in their wildest imagination did they envisage how interesting, challenging and thought provoking it would be.” – Hilda Yarker, Communications Consultant, Your Housing Group

How often do you truly connect with your teams? You might have a handle on what they’re working on, but does this go both ways? Top-down management can lead to organisational disconnect and fractured teams. As people struggle to identify their role in an organisation, paternalistic behaviour further reduces ownership of your vision and your ‘why’.

At Natural Leaders, we explore the symbiotic relationships between the leader (the shepherd) and our teams (dogs and sheep). To successfully shepherd, you don’t have to be a natural with animals! Much like the workplace, success lies in adapting to different personalities, building rapport and playing close attention to our communication and commands. I do mean verbal commands to some extent, but you’d be really surprised by how much of a difference our body language, facial expressions and tone of voice make on the road to successful leadership.

“It gives you a different perspective on how others lead and actually makes you reflect on how you lead yourself.” – Fiona Stobart, Chief Executive, Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland

To instil positive change in your organisation, a change of environment is essential. Natural Leaders provides this; you will be exposed to a whole new set of behaviours and will be given the time and space to discover how this can be brought back to your day-to-day working environments. Using our framework of strengths-based investigation, you will build new insights and strategies that will propel your organisation towards your desired future state.

“Months later, I still find myself replying in my mind what happened in the Natural Leaders experience in order to help me change my behaviour and generate a different more powerful outcome.” -  Fiona Harris, Senior Public Health Consultant Hampshire

If you’d like to explore your future as a leader and cement your organisation’s ‘why’, purpose and vision, Natural Leaders is the perfect space for you. Come and practice your team learning at an accelerated pace, strengthening and refining your leadership attributes throughout the day. Let your teams know that you’re a leader, not a boss.

If you would like to experience Natural Leaders or would like to share some thoughts with me, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at stuart@icecreates.com

The Spirit of Dunkirk

July 28, 2017 17:49

Critics are already calling it the best film of the year. Everywhere I have gone this week literally everyone is talking about Dunkirk! Whether it’s colleagues in the office, clients in workshops or fellow travellers on the train, it’s the hot topic so I thought I’d take the opportunity to treat myself to a bit of time out and took myself off to the cinema.

 I had given very little thought to the storyline other than it was a significant event in the history of our country and so I settled in the comfy seats with my popcorn and soft drink at the ready, waiting for the lights to go down. The picture begins - a story about the events of late May 1940 where allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

 As the film began, we soon witnessed the enormity of the task. Within minutes, the picture on the screen showed rows and rows of soldiers standing patiently and looking out to the sea and the skies ahead of them with one thought and one thought only…home. It struck me at that very moment: each and every person was connected and committed to a vision and a purpose and they knew the role they played within that. Their ‘why’ was to protect our freedom and our liberty, and they were willing to do whatever it took to achieve that. I have always respected our armed forces but even at this early stage of the film, I felt humbled not just by their willingness to serve but by their unreserved commitment to both the mission and the vision.

As someone who works with organisations and teams of people every day, it struck me that there were 400,000 men on that beach, (I am reflective that at that moment in time, we did not have women serving on the front line, although they played their part in so many other ways). It was the biggest team you could imagine and yet one of the most highly functioning teams you could ever hope to have.

It struck me that the thing that set them apart was their one common vision - a purpose that they believed in. They were passionate about their vision and they were prepared to fight for it. I was left sitting thinking, there is so much that we can learn from Dunkirk, that we can apply to now…so much learning that organisations and communities can benefit from, that would free people to be able to connect and contribute in a different way. I sat there thinking: ‘we need the Sprit of Dunkirk now, more then ever before’.

 I should say that many of the teams and organisations that I work with are in the public sector, mainly in the NHS and social care sectors. They are facing enormous challenges, not on the scale of Dunkirk, but I am sure that many of them feel like those men did on the beaches - trapped and surrounded, being forced to retreat. They have very little control over some of the external factors that have got us where we are today and that are driving our tomorrow. The strategy of Dunkirk was a success from failure; it was one of our biggest success stories. It was leaders being brave enough to say ‘we need to get to a place of safety so we have a chance to regroup, to set a new strategy and to go again to achieve the vision.’ At no time did anyone lose sight of the vision. They just knew that to achieve it, they needed to do something different. 

I sat thinking about some of the teams that we are working with. The face a fight for survival – they are not fighting people as such, but instead they are fighting austerity, lack of budget, increased demand and an ever-changing landscape. They feel trapped on all sides, trying to defend the services that they have and struggling to understand how they can make this work.

 

Without doubt, their challenges will never be on a scale close to Dunkirk; that was unprecedented and something I hope we never have to face as a nation again. However, the same feelings exist in organisations today, just on a different scale. I was gripped by the Spirit of Dunkirk and over the last week, I have sat on many occasions and thought ‘what can we learn from Dunkirk that can have an impact today?’ For me, there are a few key learnings that, if adopted, can transform organisation today:

  1. Everyone on that beach had signed up to a clear ‘WHY’. As part of that, they knew that no matter what, the mission at that time was to get everyone home, whether that be by carrying the wounded on stretchers, building temporary piers out of abandoned vehicles or standing in line and waiting patiently with their battalion, they understood what they were there to do and they did it.
  1. They had clear leadership that they respected. The leaders led from the front but also were the ones that stayed back. Their thought processes were agile and outcomes focused. There was no 5 year forward view strategy to follow; they had the autonomy to make decisions on the front line and they had the trust from the men on the beaches who followed them.
  1. They mobilised the people like never before – accepting the enormity of the challenge, they didn’t just look at what the armed forces could do. The navy and RAF mobilised people like you and I. Ensuring they were aligned to the ‘WHY’ and that they understood the mission, they mobilised 800+ small boats, because these boats could reach people far more effectively than any frigate, battle ship or destroyer could. They were agile, could change course faster and could get closer to people than any large boat ever could. Armed with a clear directive and an outline plan they set sail, knowing what they needed to do but with the autonomy to make decision for themselves, as long as they helped to achieve the mission.

 These are three simple principles and actions, yet they are the difference between success and failure. There is so much to learn from Dunkirk and I will add detail to all these three points in follow up blogs over the next weeks. 

It’s important to understand that the initial aim was to get 30,000 - the navy and army hoped for 45,000 of the 400,000 men home. I immediately felt disappointed that Churchill set the bar so low, and then realised that this truly was the enormity of the challenge!

 

By connecting people to a very clear ‘WHY’, leading them with passion, determination and absolute skill and empowering people to be involved like never before, they didn’t just bring 30,000 men home, they brought 324,000 men home. 

If this can be achieved in such desperate times, then what could we achieve as organisations if we just applied the same thinking and principles.

  • Everyone signed up to a clear ‘WHY’ - one that belongs to them.
  • Give clear leadership that knows how to serve.
  • Mobilise people like never before.

 We need the spirit of Dunkirk to carry our country through the present challenges:

  • We all need to be connected to a vision we believe in and that we will fight for
  • We need to understand the part we can play and be prepared to play it, knowing that if we don’t, we will have a detrimental impact on the vision
  • We have to develop and grow leaders who will be respected and trusted and who people will want to follow
  • We have to mobilise ‘the small boats’, whether that be teams, communities, families etc. - helping them to connect to our vision and giving them the plan with the autonomy to help us achieve the vision. 

So the question to end on is: “Can our organisations develop Dunkirk Spirit?”

At ICE, we believe that they can, and we would love to hear you views too…

- Rachel Stamp

Energy Management

October 21, 2016 15:03

Most of our conversations with leaders will at some point focus on energy. It could be their personal energy and resilience for leading change – ‘I just need the energy’ or ‘I never seem to switch off and recharge’. It may be how to motivate and engage the energy of the people who work for and with them - ‘If we spent as long talking about solutions rather problems and work rather than social life, we’d have sorted it ages ago!’ Alternatively, it might be how to ‘manage’ the people who sap energy and will give a thousand reasons why change won’t work, or why they are not prepared to make personal behavioural changes - ‘I’ve always done it this way…’ –sometimes described as organisational ‘mood hoovers’.

Energy management is a critical leadership skill, both personally and within teams. There are some simple steps you can take to manage your energy and help create energy for others. Radcliffe identifies 4 types of energy - physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. There needs to be balance with all four, otherwise we experience an energy deficit which can unbalance our effectiveness and, in extreme circumstances, cause energy crisis.

“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to manage your own energy, and help manage the energy of those around you.”

-         Peter Drucker

At ICE, we love the metaphors that Andy Cope uses in ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’ about ‘shining a light’ with energy and creating energy for others as opposed to ‘casting a shadow’ for yourself and others. Our work with individuals through coaching, team effectiveness and leadership development helps people to see themselves how other people see and experience their energy and, most importantly, what they can do to take control and manage their energy resources.

 

There are some very practical and tactical actions that you can take to you manage your energy and resources, such as:

  • Working out when your energy is highest - are you a lark or an owl? Focus on important or demanding activities when you’re most energised
  • Knowing what refreshes your energy and planning these activities/treats into your routine
  • Identifying what saps your energy and working out how you can manage/mitigate/avoid this.

We find people who make transformational changes are those who are able to connect to their purpose, their drivers, their ‘why’ or their purpose. Typically, they have more energy and are also more resilient. In their busy daily lives, they are people who are able to be clear about what is important and are able to link their choices about where and how they spend their energy. We call this values-driven behaviour connected to purpose. The personal application also works for leading teams; after all, we are all human.

“I’m convinced that the most effective competitors in the 21st century will be the organisations that learn how to harness the emotional energy of employees.”

-         Noel Tichy

Culture Map, developed by ICE, provides insight using people’s assessment of preferred, current and future desired culture. It looks at how much energy they are able to bring to their work, dependent on the alignment of culture and what is called ‘cultural entropy’ i.e. what stops things and people changing and ‘gets in the way’.

Based on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Barrett’s work on Human Consciousness, we know that if people do not feel that some of the more basic needs are being addressed, they cannot move to be transformational - affecting and leading change - often connected to energy.

This quick assessment can be a really helpful start to the conversation and journey around ‘What do we need to do to help people have more energy and bring more of themselves to the challenges?”

Culture Map works in a range of different settings and sectors with powerful results.

If you would like to learn more about connecting your energy and motivating and managing energy in others, or how Culture Map can help, please contact us at leadership@icecreates.com

Revenues and Benefits Case Study

October 14, 2016 10:59

Revenues and Benefits Case Study

ICE Creates was commissioned to support the Revenues & Benefits team at Tewkesbury Borough Council to review the way they delivered their services in light of the national changes around welfare. The aim was to release capacity to focus on a more joined up approach around financial inclusion. Against a range of local and national performance targets, it was shown that the service was at bottom quartile levels and that staff were struggling to cope with a never-ending backlog and rising customer complaints.

 

Read More.....  Revenues and Benefits Case Study

For more information please contact:

Rachel Stamp

rachel.stamp@icecreates.com

07979 906 065 

Business Plan - How Are You Doing?

August 10, 2016 15:48

Are your business reviews going to plan?

Whether local authority, private or voluntary sector, this time of year always holds significant value to your organisation.

The office is quieter than usual and several chairs sit tight to their partnering desks with a smattering of post-it note reminders in view. While some of you may be thinking, ‘Yes! One week, three days and seven hours until I’m on the beach too!’, we are thinking about something slightly different.

With quarter one in the rear-view mirror and quarter two passing at great speed, the question to ask yourself and your colleagues is - ‘How are we doing against our business plans and objectives?’

Has the enormity of the plan made it difficult to know where to start for some of your colleagues? Has the day job just got in the way? Perhaps by copying a previous approach, you’ve found that efforts just aren’t bearing any fruit? Maybe the metrics and KPIs that are in place aren’t meaningful or relevant anymore?

There are many possibilities behind why things don’t go to plan or solid results aren’t taking shape. As SME practitioners in both transformation & organisational development, ICE has been asked to co-create solutions for a whole host of different scenarios.

The commonality that appears from most of our transformative conversations is that resources are always at a premium. Taking time out to conduct an intervention is often seen as a risk or ‘impossibility’, as it will undoubtedly impact upon staff’s ability to perform their day job. However, people are appreciative of the fact that if you change nothing, nothing changes.

One size will never be fit for all purposes and therefore, our approach takes into account the differences in processes, scale, scope and the desired outcomes. Each service review is set up individually with the right people, timescales and agreed outcomes to make it a success for you. This includes ensuring enough time is reserved to allow genuine knowledge transfer, so the review delivers flourishing (not just sustainable) change in the short and long-term.

We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you directly about your plans, their scalability and what really matters to you.

To help start your discussions, we have shared three outlines of our methods to delivering change at varying scales in order to help you map out which approach is right for your situation.

Small Scale Example – Sometimes referred to as a rapid review or temperature test, this approach is used in low complexity and lower volume transactional systems that do not cross functional boundaries.  Teams of staff representing end-to-end flows of work spend 1-2 days per week creating a current state map with a baseline of measures and data. This can take place in as little as 2 weeks. 

Through the following envisage (future state) stage, small quick-wins are identified, along with experiments that can be contained within the team. 

Action plans are used to drive progress, and are regularly reviewed to track benefits achieved.

Medium Scale Example – This approach is used in more complex and higher volume systems that often have a ‘break fix’ element.  They will impact on more than one team.  Teams of staff representing end-to-end flows of work spend 2 days per week creating a detailed current state picture, supported by data and performance measures.  The exploratory stage takes longer - 5-6 weeks. 

Through the envisage stage, experiments are identified, along with the resources required to run them successfully.  These experiments often cover more than one team.  Twice weekly reviews are held during the experiment to track benefits achieved. Full roll-in plans are developed, and action plans are created for larger scale changes.

Large Scale Example – This approach is used in high complexity project systems that often have high volume transactional elements within wider processes. They have significantly cross-functional boundaries.  A team of staff representing end-to-end flows of work spend 2-3 days per week creating a detailed current state picture, supported by data and performance measures.  The explore stage takes longer - 6-8 weeks. 

Through the envisage stage, experiments are identified along with the resources required to run them successfully. These experiments often cover more than one team and can require a daily review to track benefits achieved and to unblock system conditions. 

Full roll-in plans are developed and action plans are created for larger scale changes that may include restructures or significant changes to accompanying systems such as IT.

To find out more, contact Simon Platt on 0151 647 4700 or at simon.platt@icecreates.com

Part 2 - Nature & Nurture - a Story About Transformation for Success

June 24, 2016 15:21

Sonny looked through the paperwork and sighed. “Oh dear!” he said. “That is a lot to worry about but don’t bluster, Mrs Fluster, our transformation and integration teams have everything in hand.”

“I’m afraid not,” said Mrs Fluster. “Our teams are really worried and confused. No-one can agree a way forward that will cost less money. Everyone wants to help and be brave, but they’re scared of taking risks."

“Now, Mrs Fluster, calm yourself,” said Sonny. “We’re not on our own and there is a way to make our community grow and flourish. Yes. Yes, indeed. The solution lies in gardening!”

“Gardening?” said Mrs Fluster. “You’re not making any sense!”

“Oh, but don’t you see, Mrs Fluster? Gardening is how we’ll do it! With gardening, we’ll all know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.”

He went on to explain: “Think of us like a garden. You can’t leave it to sort itself out. Fruitful, productive gardens need both nature and nurture.”

How to make your garden grow

Firstly, you need to know your garden - the type of soil, its plants and the plants you want to grow. Which parts are exposed to the wind, which need to be in the shade? This is like insight into what’s really happening and what is really important to your teams. A word of caution! It must be grounded in truth and everyone given a voice.

The next step is to create the right environment for growth in your garden. Your Leadership does this. Don’t forget to add nutrients to feed it – resources and support for people to agree what is important to them; to make difficult decisions, explore the art of the possible and be creative with ideas that will add value. And water – the free flow of communication and exchange of information, making it all safer for your teams to experiment and flourish.

Now that you’re all prepared, you can start to plant and create new things. Remember to work together, co-create it, and pay attention to what is important to everyone and everything in your garden. After all, in your garden you need to know which plants and seeds flourish where, and when to plant them to get the best from them.

Your plants need plenty of nurturing and encouragement along the way. For leaders, this means being out in your teams and the community, regularly telling simple and personalised stories, connecting people to the vision. Think about the newly established plants and saplings in your garden. You have to encourage the roots to go down deep. Values and emotional connections are just like the roots of your new saplings. Your stories need to grow and stay in people’s minds, so use metaphors and pictures to reinforce your stories. This needs time, just as you wouldn’t keep pulling up saplings to check they are growing as that would quickly kill them!

So, allow your garden to grow. For sure, some plants may be in the wrong place and need moving. Weeds will come and need pulling out and you’ll need to make sure it gets plenty of water and ongoing care.

But, with plenty of water, the right care and guidance, this approach will help your garden to thrive throughout the seasons.

To be continued...

Part 1 - Nature & Nurture - a story about transformation for success

June 24, 2016 11:13

"The way many organisations try to deal with current problems often seems to make things worse, not better. Most have gone through numerous rounds of change programmes, mergers, centralisations, decentralisations, new IT systems, new mission statements, new balanced scorecards, or new rewards programmes.

Collectively, it can seem like the current way organisations are run has been stretched to its limits - and these traditional ways of working often seem part of the problem, not the solution.

We hope for more, for radically better ways, but is that possible, or is it idealistic, wishful thinking? Supposing it is possible to create organisations that draw out more of our human potential...what would this be like? How do we bring them to life? These are questions at the heart of this short storybook. To me, this is not merely academic, but a very practical question. Increasingly, more and more of us long to be part of creating amazing places to work and be. Places where the best happens every day!”

- Stuart Jackson, co-founder ICE

One warm spring morning Sonny Brightside was at his desk, pondering and puzzling the mammoth task ahead of him: his community was still not able to be as resilient and self supporting as it could be - and that mattered to him. Sonny wanted people to be the best they could be, living in a happier, healthier place where everyone could grow and flourish. A loud knock at the door interrupted Sonny. “Oh, what a huge pile of paper!” he said as Mrs Fluster staggered in, weighed down by pages and pages of paper. “What’s all that?”



“The blue ones are all the important things we’ve already spent money on, but this even bigger yellow pile is all the important things we still need to do and we don’t have the money to do. How are we ever going to do all the things we have to, never mind the things we want to do?"

"I know we have a plan, but I really don’t know how we can make it work?"

“Mr Senior needs his new medicine, Miss Brady is coming home from hospital and the young ones are up to mischief again, causing mayhem in the parks and shops.”

To be continued...

How can we quickly introduce transformative systems thinking that leads to continuous improvement to our organisation, whilst also improving cultures?

April 22, 2016 14:59

The need for continuous improvement and lean system approaches is often wrongly attributed to the faults of individuals, rather than systems and processes.

It's no surprise that this mindset can lead to negative attitudes towards the subject when teams or departments are put under the microscope.

Our experience tells us that when it comes to looking at ways of improving how they work, organisations sometimes forget about:

  • What the customer really wants, as well as their needs and what is of value to them
  • How the processes and performance impact upon those who work alongside them in other teams/departments - the holistic system
  • Making sure that their ideas or changes are affordable, scalable and repeatable
  • "But we don't have any time!" - often, there is a struggle to make the time for lengthy programmes, training or meetings, but there is another way...

Our experience in delivering lean systems thinking across the government sector and multiple industries has shown that people are more able to adopt, adapt and become adept when the focus on improvement is based on a mutual subject.

We all want easy, fun and participative experiences that are part of everyday life to help us digest and work out what this change will mean to me.

The ICE team has designed a simple and highly effective experience to introduce holistic systems thinking to any organisation with the want or need to implement improved, more effective ways of working. 

With no more than two hours, we will deliver a dynamic experience to any part of your organisation.

With easily transferable insights, participants will leave with strong foundations laid to build upon, as well as approaches to transformation and change that can be applied into 'business as usual.'

We would love to meet with you and better understand what matters to you.

ICE's 7Es transformation experience creates real, sustainable change that really does become business as usual. Together, we can #MakeBetterHappen

How do you baseline your organisation's culture and strengthen its future?

April 5, 2016 15:55

Measuring the culture of your organisation can be a difficult challenge. How can you define such a multifaceted subject that spans the whole of your organisation?

Standard staff surveys offer a certain degree of insight into how individuals perceive your organisation or what they’d like to see done differently, but their offer does not stretch much further than this. By their nature, they are unable to give you a sense of whether people are aligned to or believe in your values.

From delivering culture and leadership transformations, ICE knows that a culture’s DNA consists of underlying beliefs, values and behaviours. It is essential that we dive deep into these factors to explore how they shape the current culture.

As well as unpacking and understanding the positive values and behaviours an individual exhibits, it is essential that you also discover any potentially limiting factors.

Through continuous learning, ICE has developed a simple, cost-effective starting point which enables organisations to explore and capture their culture – both in a current state and a desirable future state.

Using a model framed around Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Need’, we are able to differentiate positive and any potentially negative elements of your culture, while also establishing how your staff sit within the 7 levels of need.

Supported by our organisational development experts, our complete organisation overview will provide you with the professional guidance and support to address concerns and enhance strengths. This gives you the best chance of establishing a truly values-driven organisation.

To talk through how we can work with your organisation or for more information on our culture mapping offer, contact Simon Platt on 07583 049 603 or at simon.platt@icecreates.com