“The preferred advisor” was the presentation of the partner group, in the department on Funen, asked 3 consulting houses to submit their bids. The desire was to train their employees to become the preferred advisor and not just the accountant who comes and looks at the accounts. HUMI instead chose to challenge management on the approach, and thereby culture, with a recognition that it was not enough to look at employees in isolation, but the sum of the overall behavior. An approach that the partner group resolutely bought into. At a 2-day combined culture and values seminar, EY's partners, together with consultants from HUMI, created a common management foundation, which, looking back, has lifted the overall culture.
Brian Skovhus Jakobsen og Søren Smedegaard Hvid genkalder deres tanker om transformationen i EYs ledelseskultur og motiverne bag.
- “At the time, we chose to say yes to HUMI's presentation because we knew we had to change our management habits. Now it was just said out loud and made clear to us. There were some things in our organization that bulged out and we were not happy with that. We had too many redundancies, and when we have too many of them, we have to investigate why it happens, ”says partner Brian Skovhus Jakobsen.
- At the value seminar, we noticed that one of the reasons was the old-fashioned traditional management style, which was carried by the culture we all grew up in. At times, we had a bad tone towards our employees and each other. It created an excessive distance between us, our employees and the organization, ”he says. “And then we in the partner group had not sat down to talk through how we really want to run the business. We all did something different. At the seminar, it was an exciting process to get spoken out and clarified how to act as a leader if you want to be part of our company. We found that, by and large, we had the same desires. We had a desire to change the distance. A desire to become better at understanding the individual employee and to a much greater extent be able to help them develop and thereby give them a more exciting life ”.
Søren Smedegaard Hvid adds: “If we as management know how to behave properly towards our employees and customers, it creates a positive spiral. We must not think that employees are just dancing to a recipe that we give them. They dance just like culture dances ”. We, in the partner group, needed a common string to play on. And we have that now ”.
'Many people may think that it is a declaration of bankruptcy that we as leaders must learn to behave properly', Brian continues. “But a leadership style that has been driven the hard way for many years does not change with a flick of the finger. So the fact that we actually did away with that paradigm in 2 days was enormously positive ”.
From 14 leaders to one joint management
It was not without trepidation and excitement that Brian Skovhus Jakobsen and Søren Smedegaard Hvid went to a seminar with the others in the partner group. Would their colleagues now accept and go into the process, they would participate… - Those were some of their thoughts.
Søren Smedegaard Hvid remembers: - “At the time, of course, I was excited about the course. I just knew it was just right. Now here 4.5 years later, I really feel that we are a strong team that stands together on the common leadership. Before, it was hard to find head and tail in the organization. What I have personally gained from the seminar is a greater respect for my fellow colleagues. An awareness that everyone performs differently. And that understanding has created a greater mutual respect. The process itself was a central part of the process. It would not have been the same if I had come up with a piece of paper with some values on it, or if HUMI had delivered a finished result that we had to live up to. It has given us an enormous sense of community that I experience still hangs on to this day. And that common feeling was created at the culture and values seminar ”.
Brian Skovhus Jakobsen agrees: “Yes, everyone in the partner group should feel that they were part of it, otherwise no one would have taken ownership of the process. So it was an extremely important process ”. Brian Skovhus Jakobsen continues: “At the seminar, we in the partner group have manifested a fixed point. We have reaffirmed our common values. This means, among other things, that our internal resource consumption to deal with different attitudes and inappropriate behavior is minimized. When episodes occur, we can quickly grasp our values and say “Now we are not true to what we agreed on at the seminar”, and that way we quickly get back on track. There will always be someone in an organization who goes to the right when the rest of us go to the left and who thinks they have special rights, but that actually stopped right away when we came back from the seminar. A few senior executives left our organization. They did not want the same. And that's all right. It frees up time for us all to focus on business. ”
Things are going well on Funen, and it must continue to be so!
There should be no doubt that EY is doing well on Funen. It is going so well that the other regions are asking why things are going so well in the department on Funen.
- “The entire partner group today has a uniform view of how we should act to be part of our community, even now 4.5 years after the seminar. And that is a significant factor in relation to the fact that our business has gone so well ”, he states,“ because it has opened up new roads and new business areas. At the same time, there is an enormous amount of calm. We agree on things in the partner group and together we are strong. It has definitely affected our business results. At the same time, we had been trained to be clear in our communication in the time after the seminar, so we got to anchor the change. It was an important part of the process that the employees could feel that we wanted them. They should feel the change. Along the way, we were good at informing and communicating about what it was we were doing. Partly to keep ourselves stuck in the change process, partly to maintain the progression. It has given our employees an enormous motivation, joy and involvement that we as management have taken this step. Now we have been working with these tools for a while, and now we must be aware that it will not be a new norm, but that we constantly practice vigilance and lift ourselves up, ”says Brian Skovhus Jakobsen.
'Yes', adds Søren Smedegaard Hvid, 'You also do not drive too many kilometers in a car without it being serviced. It is important that we as managers take responsibility on an ongoing basis ”.
This means that there are new initiatives in the pipeline at EY, which in the autumn of 2018 has planned a “next level” course at HUMI, which aims to involve and motivate the entire manager level.
Brian Skovhus Jakobsen says: “We have a desire to involve our middle managers as catalysts for change. We really want to listen to their opinions and attitudes. We need to focus on these things, otherwise we do not have a business that attracts the right employees. And then we have no future partners in the pipeline to take over the company. So it has a huge value that we continue to focus on our development. That we continue to be present to each other and our employees ”.
- 'That's really what it's about', concludes Søren Smedegaard Hvid. “It is about creating a presence for customers and employees. Because then we are both the preferred advisor and the workplace ”.