The Culture Series:...unlocking the influence of a business climate, the C5 model explained

The Culture Series:

...the C5 model explained

Achieving outstanding business performance is not just an ambition but something that all organisations strive for in today’s results driven business environment. However, attempting to balance both client and employee satisfaction can prove to be somewhat difficult whilst maintaining a high functioning company. The three-fold process, the C5 Model, measures the prevailing climate and provides leaders with data and insights enabling an effective action plan for business performance and improvement both internally and externally, providing the efficient framework for formulating an effective roadmap towards sustainable improvement. A better climate at work not only motivates “discretionary effort” in people but delivers advanced bottom line performance, which will then filter through the rest of the company creating a more motivated and productive working environment. Recent studies by the Hay Group across a wide range of sectors found that business performance improves by over 30% when employees experience a greater climate. These can be assessed through five dimensions that can be easily reflected and acted upon:

Clarity: everyone knows what is expected of them. People are clear about mission, values and goals.

Congruence: challenging but attainable goals are set that are aligned to the company’s strategy.

Control: employees are given authority to accomplish tasks and act without checking and there are no unnecessary rules, policies and procedures.

Contentment: employees are recognised and rewarded for good performance, performance management work effectively, and constructive feedback is given and well received.

Commitment: people are proud to belong to their team and organisation, give discretionary effort willingly and are committed to the common purpose.

Whilst the aforementioned factors influence largely the climate of a company it is integral that you create a process in which these can be put in place to continue to reinforce and adhere to the practices and beliefs of your company. Climate is influenced largely by;

Alignment of structure: This is the degree to which as leader defines and aligns their own role and the roles of their people toward attainment of the organisations goals. It looks at the nature of people’s jobs and examines areas of gaps or overlaps; headroom distance and compression and optimisation of spans of control.

Behaviours: Leaders who provide a clear sense of direction and purpose, encourage the commitment and enthusiasm of others, build trust, energy and momentum, and involve others in decision making, will be more successful in creating a favourable organisational climate than leaders who do not employ these behaviours, leadership behaviour has the greatest impact on climate.

Conventions and progress: these are the rules and regulations that prevail in organisations e.g. reward and recognition structures that are fair and equitable; two – way communication channels that are open; decision making is easy and there are no unnecessary rules; clearly understood business planning that is cascaded through the organisation.

To truly realise the potential and meaning behind this however each element of the process should be followed up and actioned to ensure the dynamics of a company are kept smooth and channels of communication kept open. A hugely significant factor in this failure rate is leaders not paying sufficient attention to culture and climate synergies and differences. Using a three stage approach to the previous collation of data allow for an in depth understanding of the climate prevailing in the work place.

Stage 1 – Stakeholder Interviews

The assessor conducts a series of interviews with nominated stakeholders. spending on the size of the organisation. During these sessions participant should be asked to share these experiences in relation to “What it feels like to work here”

It is important to point out both what’s going well and what should be improved on to ensure a focused balance on both parties, focusing purely on the negatives can create a negative working enviroment whereas an entirely positive focus is not accurate and does little to aid the task at hand.

Stage 2 – Leadership Assessment

Leaders should be asked to complete a predisposition inventory. Leadership behaviour has the most impact on Climate so should be a large focus. It has critical impact on a team’s performance and ultimately aids in the development of organisational capability and performance. This in-depth psychometric tool gives insights to leaders about how, and why they are most comfortable in communication with other, their preferred approach to problem solving and implementing actions, and their most comfortable and predictable leadership style.

Stage 3 – Client Feedback Workshop

An in-depth feedback workshop is then held with the client using the C5 model which will highlight what is working well in the business and enhancing the Climate and most importantly, the areas that are negatively influencing the climate.

The application of the Business Climate Diagnostic has been proven to add value and improve business performance across all sectors. It applies locally as well as globally. It delivers for Leaders and executive teams the insightful data they need to make good decisions and design intelligent road maps for their organisation. The result is a clear agenda for sustainable, profitable business improvement.

 

Helen Sweeney


The Culture Series: safe space for safe work

The Culture Series:

...safe space for safe work

A Partner and I recently met with a group of managers to discuss ways to improve meetings. Our goal was to figure out how to create a space that people actually look forward to being in. We each began by describing a meeting we remembered as especially powerful.

One story stood out.

My colleague told us about a time when he was a young engineer working on several project teams in a manufacturing facility.  He said, “Neil, my manager, would take everyone out for pizza when he came to the factory, and we’d have a ‘no secrets’ meeting. Neil asked us about whatever he wanted to know and we did the same in return. It was a meeting where everyone had permission to say or ask anything. It was amazing.”

Neil used these meetings to discover how his team was doing, how their projects were progressing, and what they needed in terms of support and resources. He asked broad questions to initiate open conversation:

  • What do you think I need to know?
  • Where are you struggling?
  • What are you proud of?

There was no pressure to have a perfect answer. The only requirement was to be honest and sincere. Of course, it helped that Neil was a thoughtful, authentic, and caring manager — qualities needed to create the psychological safety such a conversation requires.

The quest for better meetings ultimately lies in leading with mutual respectful, inclusivity, and establishing a space that is safe enough for people to speak their minds. You may not need to do exactly what Neil did, but you can increase the freedom, candor, and quality of conversation in your own meetings by focusing on two key areas: giving permission and creating safety.

Here’s how.

Let’s start with permission. Permission to say or ask anything is priceless. It allows us to fully express ourselves: to seek what we want, to give feedback, to speak up about issues when we find the need. By announcing that he would like to have a “no secrets” meeting, Neil was giving his team permission to display a level of candor that isn’t reached in most settings. He asked those who spoke not to hold back or edit their thoughts. He asked those who listened to give their peers a chance to be fully heard, which is what we all want — to say exactly what we are thinking and be respected for saying it.

In your own meetings, talk about permission up front — it’s best to address it directly rather than assume it’s already there. What permission would you like from the group so that you can lead effectively? What permission does the group need from you to successfully participate?

As a leader, ask your team permission to:

  • keep the conversation on track when it diverges or gets repetitive
  • call on people who have not yet spoken
  • hold people back if they are dominating the conversation
  • ask clarifying questions when you need someone to elaborate

Empower your team by reminding them that they have permission to:

  • ask questions at any time
  • invite colleagues into the conversation if they have not spoken
  • ask to spend extra time on a topic
  • ask other people to say more about where they stand on an issue
  • express concerns that haven’t been fully addressed

Finally, encourage your team (and yourself) to ask permission before making a comment. It will help ensure that your comments are non-threatening and received thoughtfully. Before speaking out, say:

  • May I ask you something?
  • May I tell you something?
  • May I give you some coaching?
  • May I push back a bit on what you are saying?

If that feels like too much to remember, the main takeaway is: You and your team have a right to ask for whatever you need to be effective in a meeting — to lead for results, to fully express yourselves, and to add value to the discussion.

Now, let’s focus on safety. The degree to which a person feels safe in a meeting setting is largely based on their previous experiences. Many of us have — at one point or another — experienced feeling as if we were not heard or appreciated when we spoke up. But when people feel their comments will be listened to and treated with respect, they are more likely to be vulnerable and say exactly what they are thinking. Conversations become broader and deeper when everyone is involved and feels safe enough to speak their minds. To create psychological safety during a meeting:

  • ask the group to devote their full attention to each person who speaks (do this at the start of the meeting)
  • allow each person to take their time and complete their thoughts
  • ask follow-up questions for clarity if necessary
  • share what is valuable about someone’s question or comment
  • use people’s names and refer back to earlier comments they’ve made
  • invite people into the conversation who have not spoken
  • answer any and all questions truthfully
  • summarize what you learned as the meeting comes to an end
  • explain what actions you will take to put those insights to use and ask your team for their suggestions as well
  • acknowledge the quality of the conversation and thank the group for it

After the meeting, follow up by:

  • completing the action items by the deadlines you set
  • not sharing the conversation with others without permission
  • sending written thank you notes to participants (when appropriate)
  • following up with people to ensure their comments were addressed to their satisfaction

People don’t just want to belong, they want to contribute. You can give your team the opportunity to do so by applying the above principles. In the process of having more candid, mutually respectful conversations, your team will become more cohesive and able to work together more powerfully. They may even begin to look forward to your meetings because of the remarkable conversations that permission and safety create. And better still, you may even start to look forward to leading those meetings.

 

First published by HBR


CAP30

CAP30

CAP30 is an exclusive, client-centred development community for leaders of local businesses who are focused on scaling up during 2018, and for whom a tailored and flexible workplace-based approach works better than an MBA.

CAP30 is for businesses that are looking for faster, more reliable growth, and a robust strategy to support their business goals.
CAP30 delivers increased skills, confidence, business focus, and the opportunity to direct more of your time to the things that matter most to you.

If you are interested in finding out more about CAP30 please contact stephen.warburton@CambridgeAP.com


principles header

A transformative view

With a vision to challenge the Consultancy status quo, we aim to redefine how our clients achieve their business outcomes, creating greater value sooner and in ways that are difficult to replicate.

#ConsultancyRepurposed©

#ConsultancyRepurposedCAP knows that when the most relevant insights are assembled, shared and challenged from multiple perspectives, the best opportunities and outcomes will emerge. We do not re-invent the wheel unnecessarily, but instead use a range of techniques to capture, analyse and repurpose this breadth of insight, looking at where worlds collide and also the gaps between. A small but perfectly formed suite of approaches enhanced exponentially by perspective. Creative thinking across industry boundaries to give our clients transformational results, quickly. We have the inside-the-box thinking of the big consultancies, but the unique ability to deliver outside-the-box thinking without constraints.

#BusinessGrowthParadox©

#businessgrowthparadoxWhen we look to grow and scale organisations, we talk about go slow to go fast. By this we mean helping businesses to move with speed, but importantly to get the right building blocks in place from the outset, #SettingUpForSuccess. This is an important part of business growth and we are proud to work as a critical friend to help challenge, resource and commission your path.

 

#UniqueContribution© and #SettingUpForSuccess

#uniquecontributionEntrepreneurs by their very nature are dynamic able individuals, capable of doing most things that they put their mind to. But just because they can do something, it does not mean they should do it, especially if it stops them from doing what only they can do. Equally, in larger organisations time is often wasted and poor decisions made where there is insufficient consideration of who or where it’s best to take a decision, where delegated authority is inappropriate or where the clarity of the “ask” is missing. Our #UniqueContribution© test addresses each of these concerns, as well as applying a behavioural layer to prevent people becoming overwhelmed.

We will help you to stop doing what others can do equally well and give you the time back to be unique. We know how to ask the right questions to get the right answers and we do it in an interesting and engaging way.

#KillingComplexity

#killingcomplexityHow often does that ‘quick fix’ or ‘workaround’ become embedded? How many of those “but it won’t take a minute” compromises become the new norm? Add these together, layer upon layer, and you rapidly get to ways of working that are compromised in so many ways; unnecessary complexity. The impact on profitability is obvious, the impact on people is often catastrophic and your ability to comply efficiently with regulation, devastating.

At the heart of what we do is #KillingComplexity©. Technology itself (inside the box) may be extremely complicated and intricate, but there is never a good reason why any organisation’s processes need to be complex. A well thought through operating model, which is simple to operate yet “genius” to design, is the nirvana. And this is what we do.

Outcome focus is essential. This means being clear on what is to be achieved and open to the ways in which that is delivered. It needs to recognise the #UniqueContribution© of individuals and refuse to compromise on optimising these or their motivational drivers. Done well, this releases huge amounts of untapped potential, exponentially increases productivity and associated profitability, whilst at the same time eliminates untold levels of stress. We call it #KillingComplexity©.

For a different approach, come and talk to us and be part of the change.


Cambridge

Contributing to The Cambridge Phenomenon

Our modus operandi is to be the breathing embodiment of the Cambridge cluster. We’ve embraced the well documented Cambridge Phenomenon, paying it forward where we can and sharing selflessly.

Part of the phenomenon’s success is to engage academia and entrepreneurship and be able to translate opportunities into real world strategies, and it is here we are playing a pivotal role:

  • We provide access to a distributed network of partners who have worked internationally in companies of all sizes
  • With many of our home-grown SME’s destined to be unicorns of the future, we help articulate the journey from start-up to industry-leading business and co-develop an achievable and supported route map
  • We actively build initiatives to connect growth businesses with exceptional executives, relevant communities and complimentary organisations looking to embrace new challenges

Find out more about our commitment to Cambridge.


About us

Why Cambridge Advisory Partners?

CAP is all about creating industry leaders, ensuring clients achieve significant differentiation and secure unrivalled market position, and then driving home that advantage.

We don’t accept that it’s ever enough to merely survive, and we only work with clients with a burning desire to thrive.

We are expert practitioners in the #BusinessGrowthParadox© of going slow to go fast, believe in #KillingComplexity© and utilise everyone’s #UniqueContribution©. Our overarching approach is #ConsultancyRepurposed© - to define the very essence of business consultancy in the connected digital society.

CAP knows that when the most relevant insights are assembled, shared and challenged from multiple perspectives, the best opportunities and outcomes will emerge.

We help you achieve this with pace and energy, embracing lateral thinking and delivering practical and sustainable solutions in an ethical way, always focussing on the outcome.

CAP knows this is best achieved when you harness both behavioural drivers and technology differentiators to truly motivate, and when you are unbiased towards industry norms and perceived wisdom.

We will not compromise on quality. We will never commit to more than our partners can oversee and we see our greatest abilities in being able to understand your business more clearly, identify opportunities more quickly and unlock the greatest realisable value.

To join our exciting client base, let's discuss how we can work with you.


team header

The Partners behind CAP

CAP is a boutique practice of highly-experienced consulting partners, CEOs, successful entrepreneurs and behavioural specialists committed to delivering a more accessible partner-led service, making a real and measurable difference.

We are far more than a group of senior executives who have undertaken this type of work before. We are agile. We are creative. And above all, we are a team that has invested time to become attuned to the behaviours that either inhibit or facilitate success.

We are open, collaborative and all committed to continuous learning and knowledge sharing. We continuously challenge the art of the possible, giving our clients more options and greater confidence to go further, faster.

We have specialists in unlocking the benefits of flat, dynamic structures. We have team members steeped in recruitment and talent management, and we have people familiar with managing investor relations and external reporting requirements.

We believe that all assignments should be partner-led and assign the most relevant leader for your needs who is committed to making a lasting difference to your business.

Stephen Warburton – Managing Partner

Stephen is one of the country's leading "go to" people when it comes to growth and governance. He has over two decades of experience of working with start-up and growth companies, leading FTSE and Fortune 500 telecoms and high tech companies, and building Professional Service practices.

Chris Taylor – Partner

Chris has over 20 years of experience working in the UK and internationally with HR consulting firms, leading sales teams focussed on high-value solutions with FTSE and Fortune 500 companies. Working as a sales director, he has led high performing sales teams and is known as a rainmaker in achieving multimillion dollar corporate deals with his clients.

Caroline Brown – Partner

Caroline has 20 years of experience at plc board level, driving strategic growth and leading high-performing teams in the media, professional services, fintech and technology sectors. She thrives in entrepreneurial markets.

Bevis Moynan – Partner

Bevis is the only coach globally to be both a senior trainer of motivational mapping and a trainer of neuro linguistic programming. Bevis provides bespoke and unique business growth and advisory services with the intention of improving engagement and motivation at work.

Sara Barrie - Partner

Sara helps people and organisations to be their best and realise their potential, by enhancing leadership capability. A recognised business leader, she is an engaging, authentic and passionate coach who brings fresh thinking, challenge and fun.

Working with us

Ever wondered what it would be like to work with some of the country’s brightest minds who help clients unlock exceptional value? That’s what CAP does every day. Why not have a chat to us about how you can become part of something very special.


What we do

Our unique approach at CAP

CAP knows its strengths and unashamedly plays to them, and them alone. We deliver three types of assignment:

  1. Strategy and target operating model
  2. Governance, risk and compliance
  3. Operational effectiveness and supply chain optimisation

These are our “disciplines” and our partners are each renowned experts in these fields.

Where CAP is truly unique and where it defines #ConsultancyRepurposed© is its application of four inextricably linked “perspectives”:

  1. User and customer experience
  2. Digital and data
  3. Organisational development and behaviours
  4. Commercial

But, unlike others, we:

  • Are industry agnostic, focusing on outcomes and how they are best achieved, regardless of sector
  • Secure insights through combining “big data”, social/business media (inc. discussion forums), relevant networks and bespoke research
  • Utilise opensource tools and techniques, but creatively, in ways others have yet to imagine
  • Continuously look at where disparate worlds collide and where opportunities to re-define the accepted norm exist

For CAP, simply looking to “catch up” through benchmarking-led approaches is never enough. Our approach goes beyond this and ensures we set our clients apart from their competitors, delivering growth and scale, stability and progress, and transformation and market leadership.

Our disciplines

Strategy and target operating models

Why change unless you want to be the best? We see target operating model work as an opportunity for transformation. Whether you want to grow or evolve, we will define a strategy and ways of working to take you to industry leadership, allowing both differentiation and longer-term cost leadership to re-define your industry’s benchmark standard of excellence.

Operational effectiveness and supply chains

#KillingComplexity© is one of our mantras. With experience of working with owners on scaling for growth, successful businesses ready for listing, or established businesses re-inventing to take advantage of technology and market advances, we have the credentials you need. We have an intense focus on playing to strengths, finding the #UniqueContribution© and eliminating “time theft”. Our clients spend more time doing the things that differentiate them. Going faster because they partner with others who are specialists in their own domain. And having access to greater opportunities because they see the value in collaboration.

Governance, risk and compliance

There is nothing our team doesn’t know about this area. Whether you’re after compliance review or addressing governance with game changing thinking around flat structure leadership, we have the experience to make a positive impact. And we always ensure that more relevant insight is created at less cost with significantly less disruption.

 

Perspectives

Our value goes well beyond our finely tuned, expert-led discipline expertise. How we deliver this using our unique perspectives is transformational. We invest heavily in creating these perspectives, following the latest thinking, engaging in and leading the most relevant debates and creating forums for collaboration across sector and functional boundaries to tease out the very best ways for our clients to deliver their required outcomes; but we don’t merely replicate what others have done, we translate, re-imagine and repurpose to create sources of sustainable competitive advantage.

Customer and user experience

This perspective looks to help our clients optimise how they serve their customers and clients, understanding what customers are looking for, what they value and are prepared to pay for, how they prefer to interact, and the true nature and respective needs of the customer provider relationship. Fail to deliver what the customer needs and there will be no market. Over deliver where there is no perceived value and you’re incurring unnecessary cost and affording competitors cost advantage.

Digital and data

The world we live in is increasingly digitising and often in ways that we couldn’t have imagined even a few years ago. This pace of change is set to increase with AI, distributed privacy and big data gathering momentum. This perspective analyses how our clients can take advantage, not just of these developments, but also from the inherent value in its intrinsic data sets and how it can drive advantage (including “built in” compliance) from a well organised data architecture. Such is the importance of this area that not only does CAP have its own research capability, but it also has active partnerships with researchers in the university and beyond.

Organisational development

Whilst the impact of AI cannot be underestimated, people remain one of the greatest assets a company has. Aligned and motivated, it will feel like there is nothing that can’t be achieved. Without this, it’s always going to be a tougher ride. Our partners are passionate about people and people development, both at an individual and system level, and have worked with some of the largest talent management companies around. We have a network of specialists from numerous fields including, for example, psychologists, NLP master practitioners and motivation scientist. We have access to a suite of tools ranging from motivational maps through to resilience and mental toughness, which we routinely deploy to add a degree of richness that other strategy consultancies find hard to match.

Commercial

#KillingComplexity© and the #BusinessGrowthParadox© are at the heart of what we think about. Creating the environment where people and organisations play to their strengths, killing the “theft” of valuable time is essential, collaborating vs competing, and taking the right “Make vs Buy” decisions without ego because it is the right thing to do. Helping clients understand which assets are core and how they can be monetised in ways that they had never thought of is of very significant value, and an area of strength for CAP. Within our team we have accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, scientists and operations directors who are each passionate about discovering increasingly effective commercial models and are each committed to continuous learning.

Come and talk to us to understand how our disciplines and perspectives can help make your business unique!


Our values

Being clear on our values

Our foundation at CAP is based on values, principles and ways of working that we will not compromise on. Only those who are wholeheartedly committed to these can be part of the CAP family.

Our values

  • We act ethically and with humanity, operating with honesty, transparency and integrity
  • We contribute to our people, clients and communities, using our talents and resources to add value and build sustainable futures

Our principles

  • We lead by example and actively support each other
  • We act in the best interests of our people, clients and communities, being transparent in our actions and decisions
  • We conduct our personal and professional lives in line with our ethics and professional standing
  • We are inquisitive, behaviourally curious and committed to lifelong learning
  • Client work will always be partner-led
  • We encapsulate the Cambridge identity in our work and philosophy, seeking innovation, collaboration, inclusion, curiosity, balance and diversity

Our clients will experience us as

  • Interested, investigative, passionate and innovative – we will bring all our curiosity and available talents to each client
  • Reliable, results-driven, adding value and behaving ethically – we will do the right thing even if that is difficult, including telling you if we are not the right fit
  • Acting with integrity, humanity and empathy – we are not here to judge, we are here to help

Is this what you would like from your business partner? If so please contact us today.