Ms. Hearn is a Leadership and culture expert with proven success in facilitating transformational changes to ensure business sustainability and creating collaborative culture for organisational development. Adept at articulating learning and development interventions tailored for industry-specific needs. Prominent public speaker with demonstrated ability to leverage communication and interpersonal skills to develop future-proof leaders, cultivate diverse and inclusive workplaces and promote personal development. Strong history of forging trusting relationships with key stakeholders and clients to achieve company objectives. Expert at developing leadership and management training courses, seminars and workshops for C-level executives and employees.
Ms. Hearn has spent 25 years focusing on leadership as a driver of organisational culture, which started with her work as an internal consultant with American Express, leading a very successful culture enhancement initiative across Europe for 4 years.
As an international consultant, speaker, facilitator and executive coach, she’s worked in 25+ countries with clients such as American Express, McAfee, Royal Sun Alliance Group, H&M, Skanska, City & Guilds, Greenpeace, IKEA, MasterCard, SOS Children’s Villages, ABN AMRO and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Ms. Hearn has co-written three multi-award-winning leadership books: ‘The Team Formula: A Leadership Tale of a Team who found their Way’, ‘Leading Teams: 10 Challenges, 10 Solutions’ and Amazon bestselling ‘The Leader’s Guide to Impact’. A fourth book will be published by Pearson Business in 2024.
She has a degree in Marketing Economics from IHM Business School and an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability from the University of Cumbria and various certifications including Business Sustainability Management at the University of Cambridge, Artificial Intelligence in Business Strategy at MIT CSAIL, and Brain Based Coaching at NeuroLeadership Institute.
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Appleton Greene corporate training programs are all process-driven. They are used as vehicles to implement tangible business processes within clients’ organizations, together with training, support and facilitation during the use of these processes. Corporate training programs are therefore implemented over a sustainable period of time, that is to say, between 1 year (incorporating 12 monthly workshops), and 4 years (incorporating 48 monthly workshops). Your program information guide will specify how long each program takes to complete. Each monthly workshop takes 6 hours to implement and can be undertaken either on the client’s premises, an Appleton Greene serviced office, or online via the internet. This enables clients to implement each part of their business process, before moving onto the next stage of the program and enables employees to plan their study time around their current work commitments. The result is far greater program benefit, over a more sustainable period of time and a significantly improved return on investment.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. All (CLP) programs are implemented over a sustainable period of time, usually between 1-4 years, incorporating 12-48 monthly workshops and professional support is consistently provided during this time by qualified learning providers and where appropriate, by Accredited Consultants.
Leadership & Culture
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Peter Drucker
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
A healthy organizational culture = a healthy bottom line
Organizational culture is not merely a ‘nice to have’. A recent study by McKinsey of 1000+ organizations showed that those in the top culture quartile achieved 60 percent higher shareholder return than median companies and as much as 200 percent higher return than those in the lowest quartile. This data is supported by a multitude of other studies. Culture matters and culture starts with leaders.
Organizational culture as a concept was first coined in a 1951 book by Elliott Jaques called ‘The Changing Culture of a Factory’, and the concept started appearing in management studies in the late 1970’s. Since then, it’s been a topic of ongoing interest for leaders and organizations, but it’s been more theoretical and conceptual than practical and applicable. Culture has therefore often had the unfair label of being something vague, soft, and ‘fluffy’. That’s not true. Culture is the strongest driving force of an organization. It’s ‘how things get done around here’; it’s made up by explicit procedures as well as implicit behavioural habits. It affects all functions with an organization, the employee and customer experience and ultimately the bottom line. Do culture right and you’ll attract the best employees, loyal customers, and satisfied stakeholders.
There is always a culture, whether you are aware of it or not
Culture can be hard to pinpoint and analyse, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. There is always a culture, and the better organizations and leaders understand their own culture and the role cultures plays and how it is created, the more they can influence and shape it.
Take control of the culture and use it as a driver of success
Real, behavioural change, intentionally spearheaded by leaders, to drive culture is still relatively rare. There is greater understanding than ever before that culture is important, which is a big positive, but initiatives to change/influence culture are rarely carried out in enough depth or over enough time to truly change behavioural habits. It takes time and persistence, but it’s worth it. Numerous studies point to the importance of culture, like a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper study where a majority (67%) of survey respondents said that culture is more important than strategy or operations. Their data also shows that there is a discrepancy between what leaders say about culture and what employees actually experience, giving a clear indication that alignment between words and actions are crucial to shape a trustful, healthy, effective culture at work.
Culture is about behaviours and habits
Many organizations realize how important culture is, but few work actively with their culture in a meaningful way, hence missing out on its true potential. Sometimes culture is described as the perks you get as an employee; the space you work in, the fussball table or the coffee station and the Friday after work drinks – or your ability to work from home. But as much as all those things can be expressions of cultural intention, they are not creating the emotional impact on people that behaviours and lived values have. The perks and activities can play a role in employees (and other stakeholders) experience but unless supported by behaviours they become inefficient drives or culture, or merely a fun and relatively superficial activity.
The link to leadership is strong but managers and leaders are so busy with their day-to-day job that the leadership-culture link is often overlooked. Ultimately leadership is the act and art of influencing others. And many people leaders are not fully aware of what impact they are having on people around them and as a result are not aware of what culture they are creating within their teams or their organizations.
Leaders are culture shapers
How leaders behave and what behaviours they accept or overlook in others become the culture. Leaders need to make sure they are consistent by role modelling and rewarding the ‘right’ behaviours – not just because it’s the right thing to do but because of how it impacts employee engagement/experience, collaboration, innovation, customer experience, brand, financial results and more.
The key to real cultural change starts with deep self-awareness, particularly for leaders as their role means they are expected (even if only subconsciously) to set the standard for how things get done. Culture is often implicit, it’s what we see others do, we read between the lines to understand what is expected. If leaders are not aware of what behaviours they are creating in others, it gets difficult to lead. A company’s culture is shaped as much by the behaviours we tolerate or overlook as the behaviours we role model, and this is why leaders need to become great self-leaders and start to reflect on their own habits and practices. Consistency in behaviour is also important as inconsistency tends to confuse and slow things down and even make people cautious and fearful.
Great leaders are excellent self-leaders
When leaders learn how to influence culture authentically and productively, they see that it requires a great deal of self-awareness and self-leadership. Leaders need to understand how their own internal processes of thoughts and feelings ‘leak’ to the world around them and what effect that has. This gives them the ability to shape a culture intentionally and meaningfully where everyone can thrive.
Culture can be actively cultivated in line with organizational vision and values
Organisational culture needs to be on the agenda of every board, executive team, and leader in a very practical way. An understanding of the role of culture in achieving an organization’s purpose and goals can create an alignment in intention and behaviour that fuel results. Leaders at all levels set the tone for ‘how things get done here’. Culture starts at the top but can’t just be dictated from the top. It needs to resonate with people at all levels, as something they would ‘stand for’ themselves. Leaders need to ‘live’ the culture, not just ‘talk the talk’. Leaders who want to maximise the power that is culture, must look to themselves first: How am I behaving? What messages am I sending through my behaviours? What behaviours am I creating in others? And then start changing and adapting their behaviours, creating new habits if needed to create the desired culture, and acting with consistency.
Benefits of a healthy, clear and strong culture
There are many benefits with culture. With a clear, strong, healthy culture, people know exactly how to operate, and this helps them to act with integrity for the good of all constituents, supporting the brand and the brand experience. In a fast-changing world, it allows people to act with integrity and confidence without necessarily having all the answers, supported by the culture. This drives consistent, long-term success, where actions and behaviours are supported by practices and processes. Numerous studies point to the importance of culture, like a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper study where a majority (67%) of survey respondents said that culture is more important than strategy or operations. Their data also shows that there is a discrepancy between what leaders say about culture and what employees actually experience, giving a clear indication that alignment between words and actions are crucial to shape a trustful, healthy, effective culture at work.
Culture needs to be consistent and authentic or it creates costly distrust and disengagement
There are numerous ways for companies to assess cultures today, by studying behaviours and practices and/or rolling out some kind of Employee Engagement Survey, with a focus on employee experience. And there may be customer experience feedback gathered to gain information on how they perceive the organization. These types of surveys can be useful in recognising strengths and development areas, but the outcome often doesn’t go beyond actions and tick lists. They rarely get to the behavioural, habitual change that achieves real change. And in stopping short of real change, which comes down to that behavioural change, very little is achieved. As a result, employees (in particular) tend to feel let down, thinking that the big words about vision and caring about employees (as an example) are just empty talk. This is turn can impact talent retention and ultimately customer experience and at times therefore also loyalty and profitability.
Using leadership and culture to win the ‘war for talent’
Organizations have long faced the “war for talent,” but the recent pandemic made it worse. According to a McKinsey report published in late 2021, 40% of workers were “quite likely” to change occupations within the next 3-6 months. And according to a DDI report, one of the most significant difficulties CEOs confront is finding and keeping top talent.
During the pandemic, many employees started working from home. Several claimed a higher quality of life thanks to reduced commutes and increased family time. People had to pause, reflect, and ask themselves: What is important to me? What kind of life do I want to lead? What activities do I want to engage in? How would I like to work? It’s in our human nature to desire to make a difference and feel like we belong to something bigger than ourselves. A healthy, meaningful culture can make that difference to your organization and help win the ‘war for talent’.
In an increasingly hybrid world of work, the role and importance of culture is at the forefront of organizational success. When people don’t see each other every day, the culture is harder to see and experience, and therefore requires more focused attention. Before remote/hybrid working became a trend in many industries a lot of the culture could be picked up in daily interactions, but if we can’t see it, we don’t really know it and we can’t do it.
Organizations and leaders want to get practical by having culture theories and concepts translated into practical steps that will make a difference.
This program takes leaders through a step-by-step process of becoming effective leaders as culture shapers; to build self-awareness (including strengths, stressors, energisers etc) and social awareness. It will guide leaders on how to effectively choose behaviours, understand, and authenticall