People Academy has been privileged to work with many organisations, worldwide, helping them shape and implement culture change, among them Team USA, BMW (UK), Birketts… and many more.

Each organisation was faced with their own unique mix of challenges and opportunities, where people’s behaviour has been the key to real and lasting change. In every case it’s leadership and how leaders behave that made the difference between success and failure.

Leadership - People Academy

leadership team itself and its employees are still left to work out ‘how we do things around here’ themselves. So, the importance of clarity around WGLL should not be underestimated. The aim of the leadership team should be to forge a clear ‘contract’ for how they behave that they can all sign up to. Whereas a vision or mission statement is a clarion call, these can become merely a poster gathering dust on a wall, unless it’s embedded in a change campaign.

Leadership Team - People Academy



Change, real and sustained change, requires a campaign approach to embed any new behaviour. There are real parallels here with an advertising campaign. Deliver your message and keep delivering it again and again, varying and refreshing the delivery but not the message. A change campaign needs to be planned and managed, flexible enough to allow for tactical adjustments as the landscape changes, which it will.

Success depends upon the leadership team owning and embodying the campaign, acting as custodians throughout, steering and making necessary adjustments to its path without departing from the message and the ultimate goal. The changes identified as campaign critical should be measured, usually requiring employee surveys, perhaps 360 degree feedback, stakeholder surveys and other methods.

Cohort 3 Team USA Olympic coaches, California, 2016

Cohort 3 Team USA Olympic coaches, California, 2016


Communication with employees (not just ‘to’) and stakeholders repeatedly and throughout, is key. Kotter, in his ‘8 Step Process for Leading Change’ cites ‘undercommunication’ as one of the main reasons why organisational change attempts fail. Adopting a sense of ‘collective cabinet responsibility’ is paramount; any diversion from the path by a leader is likely to cause disharmony and will undermine the campaign and its success.



It’s tempting for leadership teams to ‘tell’ employees WGLL, having invested in this exercise themselves – “after all, we’re leaders, they’re followers” – but this deeply flawed when it comes to achieving real and lasting change. Ultimately, for the change to succeed, it requires people doing something different.

Reality of change - People Academy


It’s not just about communicating change…it requires people to sign up and undertake the arduous process of real behaviour change, which can be unsettling for many. To work in the broader community, there has to be a clear understanding of what change is needed by them (their WGLL), believe in it, and summon up the sustained self-motivation required to see it through. Engagement of the wider community is crucial and leaders must focus on how they create the conditions for this to occur.



Focussing on the 'drivers for change' with the leadership and management of teams in worldwide organisations... 

Team USA Coaches, with People Academy’s Miles Henson (front, 3rd from right), Oakley headquarters, Foothill Ranch, CA, 2016

Team USA Coaches, with People Academy’s Miles Henson (front, 3rd from right), Oakley headquarters, Foothill Ranch, CA, 2016