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Culture matters. Check out these client case studies that demonstrate the strong link between a healthy culture and business performance.

Enjoy Senn Delaney's latest newsletter. This issue features our latest CEO view from the top video on leading culture with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin CEO Peggy Troy.She discusses creating the ‘At Our Best' culture to align and engage all areas of the health care system. The shift from a functional business model of services within 13 different divisions to an integrated delivery model was aimed at realizing the purpose of having the healthiest kids in the nation.

Read the latest blogs on culture shaping by Senn Delaney Chairman Dr. Larry Senn on Cultureuniversity.com. His latest article examines why culture transformation only comes through personal transformation.

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Senn Delaney Chairman Dr. Larry Senn shares his insights on best practices in successful organizational culture change in regular posts as a member of the faculty of CultureUniversity.com. This educational website and blog is dedicated to providing workplace culture awareness, education, best practices and expert insights to positively impact society on a global scale.



The leadership team of the NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway, embarked on a journey of intentionally shaping a healthier, high-performing culture to become even more effective in serving NATO. JWC calls it the "One Team" culture. Senn Delaney Vice President Boris Diekmann  details the culture-shaping journey and results in this article published in NATO Joint Warfare Center’s Three Swords magazine.        

Tom Voss, chairman, chairman president and CEO of Ameren, discusses leading a culture transformation at the St. Louis-based utility to restore it to top performance and winning in four critical categories. 

 

The culture work led to creating an inspiring purpose, ‘to power the quality of life’. Voss credits the culture transformation for being a big factor in helping Ameren achieve goals of top-tier performance in safety, total return on shareholder value, customer satisfaction, employee engagement and operational excellence.

 

“If you look at the way our culture is today, it’s significantly different than it was six or seven years ago. We’re now a team that’s really aligned with one purpose, and we really took care of all those little issues that were causing us to not function at a very high level,” says Voss. “Ameren is now performing at a very high level, within the top quartile of our industry and certainly within the top half in shareholder return. So, it’s been a real turnaround financially. In fact, our financial performance is probably the best it’s ever been compared to our peers, probably at least in the last 20 years.”

 
Watch a video of highlights of the interview with Tom Voss



Children’s Hospital Los Angeles regularly earns top honors for the care it delivers and  is designated a Magnet Hospital  – an honor held by only five percent of U.S. hospitals . With such an impressive track record, why has the academic medical center been working on its culture? Chief Executive Officer Rich Cordova provides the answers in this ‘view from the top’  interview. Cordova examines the need to change cultural ways of working together across disciplines, and with other health care providers to provide a broader, community-based, and collaborative system for delivering care needed today. And he shares the benefits of building on a strong foundation for its people to thrive and navigate changes in the health care landscape.



Jim Hart, president and CEO of Senn Delaney, a Heidrick & Struggles company, recently hosted a roundtable for chief executive officers at Chief Executive Group’s CEO2CEO Leadership Summit at the New York Stock Exchange to examine key elements of business leadership and performance-driven power of purpose.  

 

Read the article that appears in the current issue of Chief Executive Magazine where CEOs who attended the roundtable shared their insights, progress and challenges. The consensus of CEOs is that a major problem they face is a disengaged workforce, and a big part of the solution is to inspire workers through alignment around a clearly defined purpose. They also caution that defining the purpose is only a first step; keeping that purpose alive even as the company grows and evolves must be a priority for company leaders.



If you want to inspire people in a way that can be truly transforming, lead your organization with a clear purpose that can serve as the guidepost to fulfilling your mission, writes Nick Neuhausel, Senn Delaney partner, executive vice president and energy practice leader. He cites utility company client Piedmont Natural Gas as a strong example in a short video and also shares a compelling video from client SunEdison that shows a purpose in action that is truly inspirational.

One company, one team, one culture, aligned around the same vision, living by the same values, making decisions for the greater good, getting the best synergy and collaboration across all divisions, business units, product and customer segments. Does this describe your organization? Or does this describe a state of being that you would like for your organization but you continue to be frustrated that it falls short of this ideal? Few companies operate at this ideal state, but it is achievable, writes Senn Delaney Chairman Dr. Larry Senn.The real solution is not just about changing the structure or changing the leadership team, but rather, refocusing the culture around a one-company approach.

As the energy industry environment undergoes significant changes, electric companies must shape their cultures to adapt and succeed. Four prominent energy leaders participated in a dynamic panel discussion on corporate culture and strategy moderated by Senn Delaney Chairman Larry Senn to explore the challenges and opportunities.

Panelists included: Craig S. Ivey, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. president; Patricia ‘Pat' Kampling, Alliant Energy Corp. chairman, president and CEO; Andy Vesey, AES executive vice president and COO Global Utilities; and Thomas R. Voss, Ameren Corporation chairman, president and CEO.

This article is a recap of the discussion and key takeaways and insights from our distinguished panelists on why corporate culture matters, how it can be shaped and how to lead culture change.

Senn Delaney Chairman Dr. Larry Senn describes the importance of culture to enable strategy and improve performance. He suggests that CEOs should focus on three powerful drivers of performance: purpose and direction, structure and enabling processes, and creating a culture that enables both.

How agile is your company? This is a question CEOs and their senior teams should always be examining closely, especially during times of turbulent change. Creating a culture of agility is possible and should be the CEO's first strategic priority because it is the culture that enables companies to flex nimbly in any direction and execute any strategy, writes Senn Delaney President and CEO Jim Hart. He describes the process for creating cultural agility.

After six years of leading a hugely successful turnaround at frozen food company Iglo Group, Chief Executive Officer Martin Glenn announced his departure in January, 2013. He had reshaped Iglo into Europe's largest frozen food business, making it the market leader in frozen food, 2.5 times the size of its nearest rival with a strong track record of innovation and a demonstrated ability of consolidating the frozen sector through the successful acquisition and integration of Findus Italy.

As part of the turnaround strategy, Glenn engaged Senn Delaney to help create a common ‘PACE' culture as a platform for results and top-line performance. In this interview with Senn Delaney Partner and Managing Director EMEA Dustin Seale, Glenn reflects on the journey and how the PACE culture has been a key tool to enable and accelerate its growth strategy that resulted in record financial performance.


Senn Delaney CEO and President Jim Hart shares key leadership lessons on shaping an organizational culture based on the four key principles of culture shaping. He examines USAA CEO Joe Robles' successful efforts to create a culture of service. The article includes a video interview with Robles. Hart points to Robles' views on leading with a higher purpose and passion, and the paramount importance he gives to leading corporate culture, as important messages for leaders to understand how those have played in to the success of USAA.

Nick Neuhausel, Senn Delaney partner, executive vice president and energy practice leader, discusses the importance of culture fit in CEO succession planning. He cites Atmos Energy, a highly successful gas distribution company, as an example of how to do it right. Watch video and read article.


UK Power Networks CEO Basil Scarsella discusses his efforts to create an accountable, measurable culture to realize the vision to become an employer of choice, to be sustainably cost efficient and be a respected corporate citizen. Since the power distribution company embarked on the culture-shaping program, progress has been measured on several key goals. In 2012, UK Power Networks dramatically improved the reliability of power supplies, customer satisfaction, staff engagement and development, and achieved a strong financial performance. The company beat strong competition to win the prestigious 2012 Utility of the Year title at the Utility Industry Achievement Awards.

Senn Delaney President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Hart hosted a private CEO Roundtable in December in New York City in partnership with Chief Executive magazine to explore the need for cultural agility in businesses. CEOs who participated in the session discussed the challenges, opportunities and implications of cultural agility for their organizations. They gained a first-hand understanding of what an agile organization is and how an agile organizational culture can enhance organizational performance or keep companies innovating even during periods of major disruption. Their insights and observations are summarized in a Chief Executive roundtable article in the March/April issue of the magazine, Shaping a Culture that Drives Agility and Innovation: CEOs ponder the intangible asset that can make or break a company's future.


Iglo Foods Group is the market-leading frozen foods business in Europe, operating in 11 countries across Europe. It acquired the Italian Findus business, making the Iglo Foods Group a truly European business. With a relatively new executive team and an ambitious plan to create a centralised product and marketing function, Iglo Foods Group had a clear need to create a common culture, based on performance and collaboration, as a platform for results and top-line performance. Chief Operating Officer Tania Howarth reflects on the successful focus on creating the PACE culture as a key tool to enable and accelerate its growth strategy that resulted in record financial performance in 2011.

More often than not, companies become transformative through the leadership of the CEO, writes Robert Reiss co-author of The Transformative CEO, in this guest article. He writes that putting culture first is one of five key characteristics of transformative CEOs that make them game changers. In his book, Reiss discusses a few rules CEOs can use to help their businesses become transformative and shares stories from CEOs who have made it happen. Reiss is host of The CEO Show, nationally syndicated to more than 600,000 listeners, and creator of The CEO TV Show, a weekly CEO video interview site.

Why is a company's culture so critical to business performance and employee engagement? Piedmont Natural Gas Chairman, President and CEO Thomas E. Skains states that the Piedmont Pride culture is the single most important factor in achieving stellar financial results, improving customer satisfaction and providing a Thriving work environment that engages workers and attracts the best talent in this leadership interview with Nick Neuhausel, Senn Delaney partner, executive vice president and energy practice leader.

Watch the 20-minute video interview

Listen to the interview podcast



“Why Culture Matters” was the focus of a Human Resource Roundtable hosted  by HRD Consultants, Mullin & Associates Ltd. and Senn Delaney. An executive panel comprised of five senior leaders, whose experience crosses several industries, including healthcare, utilities, professional services and investment banking, shared their perspectives, advice and business examples of why culture matters for their organizations. Panelists explored the implications of culture, why culture should be shaped, how it is shaped, who owns and leads the culture and how to measure a culture.

Panelists included:
  • Craig Ivey, president, Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc.
  • Deborah Zastocki, chief executive officer, Chilton Memorial Hospital
  • Andy Kaslow, Ph.D, president, Quantum Leap Advisors
  • Jamie Lane, vice president, Talent & Organization Development, Hess Corporation
  • Jim Minogue, managing director and head of human resources, Gleacher & Company

This article recaps the panel discussion and learnings.


First Horizon National Corporation CEO Bryan Jordan has led the nearly 150-year-old financial institution through turbulent times since the start of the economic crisis in 2008. In this interview, he discusses why shifting the long-established “Firstpower” culture was an important part of the turnaround. As a result, First Horizon has returned to profitability and improved performance and is better prepared for significant industry changes ahead.

When the economic crisis struck in 2008, seemingly overnight, the financial services industry faced dramatic change. First Horizon National Corporation's emphasis shifted from expansion to refocus on its core businesses of regional banking and capital markets. The CEO and chief human resources officer swiftly responded by intentionally shifting the “Firstpower” culture to align with a strategic refocus on its core business as the best regional banking system in Tennessee. In this interview about leading the culture, CHRO John Daniel describes how a smaller, but more flexible, nimble and accountable organization has emerged. As a result, First Horizon has returned to profitability and improved performance and is better prepared for significant industry changes ahead.

While many companies struggled during the recession, USAA, the financial services company serving military families, experienced some of the best success in its 88-year history. The company continues to have robust growth, top ratings for financial strength and receive top rankings for customer service. What is the secret sauce? CEO Gen. Joe Robles says the key ingredient in its recipe for  continued success is the culture of service. He discusses the importance of his role as the “chief culture officer” to keep a sustained, committed focus on the culture of going above and beyond — and doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.


John Bryson led Edison International, one of the largest investor-owned utility companies in the nation, as chairman, president and CEO from 1990 until his retirement in 2008. In this recent conversation with Senn Delaney Chairman Dr. Larry Senn, he looks back on why building a high-performing leadership team was critical to helping fulfill the utility's vision of Leading the Way In Electricity.


With a clear mandate to bring Miami Children's Hospital into the digital 21st century with an EMR transformation, CEO Dr. Narendra Kini took the proactive approach of first shifting the collective mindset of the institution in a more accountable, collaborative and customer-focused direction. By creating a culture called The MCH Way, he fully prepared the hospital to embrace the radical change that electronic medical records would bring. The culture shaping also helped create dramatic improvement in patient, employee and physician satisfaction and clinical outcomes. Dr. Kini shares his leadership lessons for IT transformation success in this Senn Delaney view from the top interview.



At a time when organizations have to perform at their best, and all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, how do you improve the bottom line and top line of your organization? One answer lies in gaining maximum organizational synergies, something most organizations fail to accomplish. Why do so many companies fall short? What does it take to succeed? Founder and Chairman Dr. Larry Senn shares insights and offers some thought-provoking questions for leaders to consider.



The Ohio State University President Dr. Gordon Gee discusses his passion and progress on creating a “One University”, high-performance culture to take the largest university in the U.S. from excellence to eminence. On the global stage, it is part of his vision to build a new model for the university of the 21st century: more agile, more responsive, less insular and less bureaucratic.


In just two years, Chief Executive Ron Hilton has led Staffordshire County Council, one of the largest local government bodies in England, to dramatically higher performance, fiscal health and economic stability. The council has moved up the national performance tables into the top 10 percent of local authorities for improving performance. Mr Hilton discusses the spectacular results the Council is seeing from an ambitious reform agenda that is focused on creating a high-performance culture.


In this candid interview, Atmos Energy Corporation CEO Bob Best shares his thoughts on leading during challenging times, and why creating and sustaining a healthy, performance-based ‘AtmoSpirit' culture has contributed to the gas distribution utility's stability despite the challenges in the industry and the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Senn Delaney CEO and President Jim Hart stresses the importance and proven value of leaders having a "thriving to win" mindset, especially during economic turmoil.

Even in the most resilient of companies, long-term strategies that guide fulfillment of the mission are being rethought, retooled and refreshed in response to challenging market conditions caused by the economic crisis. WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest health benefits company, recently did just that. David Casey, vice president of workplace culture and chief diversity officer, discusses the company's ‘Strategy Refresh' announced late in 2008 and how WellPoint's leaders are realigning the culture to support the directional shift.


Driven by a heartfelt mission to provide the best care for every child, Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio is striving to become a preeminent, nationally prominent pediatric teaching hospital and research institute.

To achieve this, hospital leaders are executing an ambitious strategic plan to increase capacity, enhance patient care and services, improve performance and discover new treatments and cures.

A foundational part of  the hospital's roadmap to success includes building a one-team culture of accountability, collaboration and innovation, one that connects administrative, medical and support staff throughout the hospital and research institute to the mission, strategic plan and values. This article describes the positive results they are already seeing.


It's become a business imperative to maximize operational effectiveness, trim costs, standardize and streamline processes, achieve economies of scale and increase competitive advantage. Today's most successful leaders do this in a way that balances the greater good of the enterprise with the competing demands of their autonomous businesses that must respond to the individual needs of their markets.

A more collaborative model that helps leaders of complex businesses to maximize effectiveness is gaining traction. Four prominent business leaders discuss their challenges and successes in shifting to this shared business model.

It is considered to be one of the most successful mega-mergers of equals in the United States to
date. The 2004 union of WellPoint Health Networks and Anthem, Inc. created the largest health
insurance company in the nation.

When so many mergers fail or don't realize their expected potential, why is the WellPoint-Anthem story such a success?

Chairman Larry Glasscock, CEO Angela Braly and members of their Executive Leadership Team share  their journey to build a new company and create a culture of trust and innovation and the many business benefits that have resulted.