consulting

Transforming Corporate Cultures: Proven results to Corporate Culture Change

Using proven “business” methods, developed over 25 years of implementing corporate culture change, our process is the key to long term transformational success. Our proven track record of successful culture shifts works, with for profits and nonprofits. Our approach addresses your organization’s specific challenges and working with your leadership and employee teams, at all levels of the organization we achieve sustainable results.

We ask the tough questions and listen so together we are establishing a methodology that respects your culture, values and mission. Through conversations that matter, surveys, analysis, diagnostics and training, we design and help you implement a path specifically for your organization, to help you achieve peak performance results and an appreciable increase in sales, service and engaged employees.

Niki’s legendary work in organizational development and sustainable culture-change, has insured a powerfully effective and sustainable classroom and in-branch training experience for front-line, mid-level management and executive personnel we have trained in the financial services industry. I worked closely with Niki during several on-site training programs over the past three years and was duly impressed with the way she handled every client and each new situation. Niki disarmed them with her warmth and natural charm and “wowed” them with the scope of her real-life and hands-on knowledge. And, she is a “coaches-coach” in the truest sense of the word.

CH, Partner, JMFA Direct

Organizational Development: Introduction to the Four Phases

Our culture change process is key to success in any continuing education endeavor in getting people to implement superior results, use the concepts learned and take effective action; i.e., to use their new skills consistently, over an extended period of time in their work environment to produce superior results. This is where many traditional training programs fail. Our proven track record of successful culture shifts is due to the fact that our approach addresses not only high informational content but, most importantly, the utilization of that information.

Our training methodology will enable departments identified to more actively accept and adapt to a culture change, while learning and implementing the team skills necessary to produce successful, high quality results for your organization. By using the most effective adult learning techniques, we teach concepts and approaches and then allow participants to adapt this information to their individual situations. Further, we facilitate role-play and case study exercises whereby participants have an opportunity to try out the new behavior in a controlled, simulated environment.

Adults demand a learning environment that respects their individual experience and group wisdom. The optimal situation includes solid real world tools and skills they can immediately use. For this reason all the training/ consulting processes we deliver incorporate materials and information that are specific to each organization. This allows your more experienced employees to learn by contributing their expertise while getting a good refresher on the more basic concepts other participants are receiving.

Having several different skill levels involved in a training environment is not unusual. Through use of the interactive techniques outlined above, the entire group benefits. All training material is adjusted by our perception of what will be the best skill learning “stretch” for the entire group and all individuals based on the information we receive during the Investigative Phase. We do the fine tuning in this area when we meet with the executive team in our Participative Design & Development Phase. Here we work with you and take into account your goals, objectives and the specific results you wish to achieve.

Front line and management need time to make the necessary changes to adopt the sales and service skills and tools that will enable them to compete in today’s economic environment. For this reason we know that an effective and lasting process, helping people modify their traditional behaviors and adopt new relationship building and service behaviors, cannot be accomplished by using generic training that is delivered as a one time, “shot-in-the-arm”. Our experience allows us to approach each training situation with a “We have been there” perspective. The process is personalized, tailored and uses follow-up sessions to reinforce the skills and principles participants learn in the classroom.

The interviews we conduct before the culture change process, assure participants that the program will be a safe environment in which to learn new relationship building behaviors; that their concerns in making this transition are listened to, understood, and considered; that the process content and interactive activities will be tailored to their specific situations and their level of sophistication and skill taken into account.

Initial Recommendations

There are several areas that we recommend be addressed in the implementation process we champion for you. To emphasize, it is our desire to build on your process, not change it, but enhance it. We customize the process with you and deliver it in stages, as intensively or not, as you may choose. We believe in the integrity of our training, coaching and facilitating and work with your specific needs. We want to give value, and will not compromise the value we deliver.

The Approach We Incorporate Includes:

  • High information content
  • Behavioral, attitudinal approaches
  • Skills application
  • Case studies
  • Role plays
  • Participant critique from peers and facilitator(s)
    (This process is done only in a comfortable, respectful environment. The stage is pre-set for a learning environment not a punishing one. It is our philosophy that training integrity is followed and adhered to at all times or we have failed our clients.)
  • Question – Discussion process
  • Experimental exercises
  • Feedback and evaluation
  • Videos appropriate for lessons to be used
  • Planned relationship building meetings, role play and peer evaluation
  • 360 leadership assessments; employee “testing”, individual and group coaching
  • Incorporation of your organization’s orientation and history
  • Use of present staff – employee and management – in the teaching process and in train-the-trainer sessions
  • Strong emphasis on the need for more effective communication strategies
  • Strong emphasis on building customer loyalty
  • A relationship rather than an operations focus throughout the entire organization that leads toward greater financial success and better morale and team work
  • Group coaching and individual management coaching practice, assignments, reporting back and performance measurements
  • Strong emphasis on values-based behavior
  • Setting of relationship building goals, (“cross-solve” goals) for all employees as needed

The bottom line is an approach which focuses on behavior that reinforces a relationship building culture for everyone at your company, from the front line to the executive team, with an emphasis on developing core competencies that are consistently measured, monitored and instilling management coaching behaviors that deliver desired, measurable results.

We recommend the following guidelines for conducting a training process be designed to enable participating departments to enhance your present core competency oriented culture:

  1. Top Down Training — We involve the executive team in the design, reinforcement and utilization of all aspects of training and the implementation process. In addition, we recommend training and coaching as a top priority most especially in the early part of delivering this project. This will assure the necessary buy-in and ownership of the underpinnings of the project, prepare them to model the appropriate behavior for their fellow employees and enable them to reinforce the skills and principles being taught in the program by using sound management skills, tools and strategies.
  2. Customization — It has been our experience that retention and application of the skills, principles, strategies and tools taught in any training program are increased significantly when the process is customized to include mastery of product knowledge and the corresponding benefit to the customer as an integral part of the curriculum. Also the use of case studies that reflect real world market conditions, and building and implementing the tools and forms that are a normal part of participants’ daily work life is vital. We, therefore, recommend that all training, coaching, rewards, performance incentives, testing and other support aids be reviewed and custom-built into the training programs participants attend.
  3. Structured Implementation Time Frame — We recommend delivery of programs in a concentrated time frame. This will enable you to create the strong momentum necessary to effect the behavioral and organizational change you desire at your company, and to function with even greater strength as a company that is known for high responsiveness within all departments with both the internal and external customer. We will work with you to develop a time frame that works best for you.
  4. “Hands-on” Personal Touch Approach — we strongly believe in the power of a “hands-on” personal touch when facilitating the culture change process. We realize that as an organization you are committed to the ideals of personal service and long term customer loyalty. By exemplifying these same ideals in the training programs we have found greater transference and adaptation of these attitudes by the employee population. You will benefit from both an organizational viewpoint and an individual employee perspective through using this approach. Specifically, a long term business relationship that provides the all important human element of individualized personal coaching and counsel in an atmosphere that structures group dynamics to be highly interactive and takes advantage of the “group wisdom” has greater impact than non-interactive training programs. We have found culture change requires a well structured program that provides “high touch” as well as “high tech”.

In summary, throughout our years of consulting we have found our four phase approach to be a most effective factor in helping organizations change from operations driven culture to a relationship building / loyally oriented culture. We have long term relationships with our clients because of the consultative stance we take to assure the continued application of the skills learned in our programs. We encourage continual conversation and feedback- part of the value added, to take advantage of the executive council service we offer as part of our Utilization and Follow-Up Phase.

Four Phase Consulting Approach for Developing and Delivering Projects

Through experience we have developed a system in which YOU work with us to structure a definitive process that is comprehensive and tailored to produce your targeted results; thus you benefit by “ownership” of project underpinnings. These project phases are:

  1. The Investigative Phase -”One on One” and small group interviews, electronic surveys, plus sampling on-site observation throughout the organization.
  2. The Participative Design and Development Phase — An interactive work session with your Executive Management Team to:
    • Review the findings of the Investigative Phase
    • Refine and clarify the objectives, targeted outcomes and the specific relationship selling, customer service and relationship management needs of your key personnel
    • Identify key resources, establish specific project time lines, and mobilize to develop and implement targeted results
    • Select appropriate assessments

    The information received is used to:

    • Tailor the “Standard” or “Building Block” components for the each of the training modules including comprehensive workbook materials
    • Develop any client-unique components, tools, case studies ,role play exercises , core competencies, that you have requested, customized very specifically to your needs
    • Administer assessments, collate data
  3. The Implementation Phase — this is where we conduct the actual Training and Education sessions.
  4. The Follow-up Phase — All of our programs include a series of follow-up sessions spread out over the ensuing months, in which we work with your personnel to assure application, problem-solve, reinforce and support.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Not every organization is in need of a culture change throughout the organization. Yet, most especially in these challenging times, every organization needs to look at, assess, regroup and strategically decide on a comprehensive plan that builds customer loyalty, increases employee satisfaction and directly affects the company’s bottom line.

We work closely with you to assure the direction you have decided on is right- for you and that all of your employees are on board. We factor in your mission, values and forward momentum and serve as a sounding board-throughout and after the process is complete.

There’s lots more and I look forward to talking with you further.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion