Thought Leadership

Why I Understand the Value of Cultural Alignment: Once a Client, Now Culture Partner’s Keynoter and Consultant John Henry Scott III

(Note: When you witness how you can improve results by unleashing the power of culture, it stays with you. And often it provides a compelling reason for people who once were clients of Culture Partners to come on board as one of us. This blogs series shares what they learned firsthand in their culture change experience and how others can similarly benefit.)

Before John Henry Scott III came to work as a keynoter and consultant at Culture Partners, he worked in the technology industry. And it’s there where he experienced many of the challenges others face when working in large, siloed organizations: not just a lack of communication and miscommunication, but often different workstreams and beliefs about the way things should get done in certain parts of the organization.

“Those differences came to light when we were rolling out new technology for a client and getting stuck in the pilot phase,” explains John Henry. “Our leadership realized that if we wanted to meet our targeted go-live date, something would have to change.”

Alignment Gets Underway

With Culture Partners, the executive and senior leadership teams participated in a cultural alignment session. Together they identified a core set of cultural beliefs that would guide the organization going forward, as well as key results and how they would track performance over time.

In addition, Culture Partners helped them understand the value of seeking feedback. In some cases, feedback wasn’t happening at all, so there was frequently a “wait and see” attitude to problem resolution. To remedy this, the team embraced a new feedback mechanism designed to foster positive accountability and accelerate results.

“These efforts helped our teams work better cross-functionally,” says John Henry. “And when people got engaged in not just providing, but seeking, feedback, it was a real game-changer.”

But equally influential in paving the way to better results was the CEO’s shift in mindset and commitment. “Going through this whole process created space for talking about culture when discussing strategy,” says John Henry. “Culture is leader-led, and never in my career had I seen a CEO consistently emphasize core elements, like cultural beliefs and their connection to key results.”

Results Hit Unexpected Highs

Following the cultural alignment workshop with the leadership team, Culture Partners trained some 40 Culture Champions who would roll out culture workshops to nearly 2500 employees located at different sites throughout the U.S. Part of the culture transformation from the outset, John Henry became certified by Culture Partners as a Culture Lead so he could oversee the rollout to his organization’s locations, which was completed within two years of the first workshop.

So, how did it all work out? According to John Henry, cultural alignment had an impact from Day 1, starting with a CEO who was all in. Just as impressive, he saw people:

  • Seek and share feedback more regularly
  • Tell stories about how employees were applying their new cultural beliefs to achieve key results
  • Recognize those who were consistently exhibiting these cultural beliefs

All those efforts added up in hard numbers, as well, with the organization achieving:

  • 3X it’s target for a key result in 18 months
  • A nearly 8% YoY increase in employee retention

Leading and sustaining culture change became John Henry’s full-time job after the rollout, one he felt well equipped to handle thanks to his training and certification in Culture Partners’ tools and methodologies. And seeing what was possible for organizations to achieve was a key reason why he eventually made the move to work for Culture Partners.

“The fast pace of change is making it more and more critical for organizations to have alignment in workplace culture,” says John Henry. “I’ve been there, and quite simply, this stuff works!”

You can learn more about John Henry’s background and keynotes here.

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