It’s more than frustrating when a bold vision for culture change fails to inspire action, especially when you know it’s essential if your organisation is going to survive and thrive in a challenging, disruptive world. It might be down to change fatigue, people too busy firefighting or because they don’t understand why this change programme will be different from the last or how it connects with the wider organisational priorities.
But what if we told you that there was a simple framework you could use with your team – any team – consisting of three questions that would help you to:
- Align behind the big picture and strategic direction your organisation is heading in
- Demonstrate you understand the very real challenges leaders and their teams are facing and actively want their input into your plans
- Identify a clear link between the strategic direction and action the HR team is taking and the above priorities and challenges.
Introducing the 3Ws
The 3Ws: it’s one of our core frameworks (we wrote about our other favourite framework the 3Cs here. It’s another great tool to keep in your back pocket, especially when it feels like your team is stuck).
Our frameworks are similar in that they help you to have a powerful team conversation. It’s an exchange with purpose and focus. The questions keep you on track and help you to avoid someone dominating the agenda, people going off at a tangent or just going round in circles.
You can use it with your own team, peers, senior team or another team you work in.
‘This is where HR leaders need to ask themselves what does the culture need to be? And with that insight, what is the culture right now, where’s the biggest gap? And critically, what is the most important next step?
Mark Ferguson, Head of EMEA
W1: What do we want to achieve and why?
This opening question is all about the bigger picture and direction you’re heading in. It challenges you to get clear about the ‘why?’. It’s worth taking your time here to make sure everyone gets the ‘why’ because it’ll give context to the discussion around the second and third questions.
W2: Where are we now?
Time to be candid. Once you have clarity on the big picture, it’s time to reflect on where you are right now? What’s working, what isn’t. Start spotting the gaps or the wrong turns you’ve been making.
W3: What next?
What do you need to do to make sure the plans you’re putting into place are the right ones and that they’ll have the desired business impact? Do your decisions fit with what you now know after answering W1 and W2?
‘The 3Ws is perfect for HR leaders needing to bring in transformational culture change to deliver long-term growth in a disruptive environment, where agile, smart thinking is a priority.’
Dan Meek, CEO
We know part of the 3Ws charm is that it’s so easy to remember. There isn’t a lot of time or headspace available right now for radical new thinking or complicated models. This is a simple, pragmatic solution for a complicated world.
Give it a try, not least because it will give you time to pause and reflect away from the challenges of the working day and to-do list.
From big picture to action stations
The questions might be simple and easy to remember even if the conversations take you into trickier territory. But you’ll know that you’re having the right conversation.
What’s the upside for the team?
Peers, senior leaders and stakeholders – you’ll demonstrate strategic thinking, that you grasp the bigger picture and the specific challenges your organisation is facing and how the HR and culture change strategy will support long-term growth.
Your team – HR business partners and L&D teams will see the link between people programmes, whether that’s recruitment and retention or training and development or other programmes and the strategic aims.