Arts Centre Melbourne is a special place where people come together for truly remarkable experiences. In thinking about what the organisation needed to do in order to be the perfect host for audience and artists alike, the internal culture was the first thing that needed to evolve.
The Arts Centre Melbourne sits prominently positioned on St Kilda Road and in the hearts of Victorians. While not as flashy as it s Sydney cousin, this building, or more precisely what goes on inside it, contributes enormously to the cultural fabric of Victoria and Australia. The more than 800 people who work at Australia’s largest performing arts centre host some of the finest local and internation al talent. From the sublime to the everyday, night after night they collectively manage all of the activities necessary to stage world c lass events. So what kind of internal culture does it take for this prestigious institution to successfully play such a special role, that enriches the lives of so many, and how do you build such a culture?
There are numerous theories about organisation culture and leadership. For our purposes, organisational culture is defined as a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in an organisation. Transformational leadership is where the leader identifies required changes, works to create an inspirational vision to guide the change and delivers change with help from committed, engaged employees. Leadership development interventions are often aimed at building the leadership capability necessary to drive positive organisational culture change.
“How we deliver our experiences is as important as what we deliver. We put people and culture as our number one priority for change, elevating HR to the Executive table and making it a strategic contributor. We defined our
target internal culture with our senior leaders and then embedded this within all of our systems, processes and relationships. Equipping our people leaders with the skills to embrace and drive this culture became a major focus.’”
– Claire Spencer
Defining necessary change and target culture required careful thinking and
understanding of what areas of focus would make a positive difference. More challenging by far, however, is actually making change happen. In order to ensure change happened, Arts Centre Melbourne called upon PeopleScape to play a key role.
A series of structured development programs were rolled out for executive, senior, frontline and emerging leaders. In order to ensure maximum impact from each element of intervention, PeopleScape worked closely with key Arts Centre Melbourne stakeholders to identify specific cohort development needs.
Programs included assessment and coaching, at individual and collective team levels, with a focus on building targeted competencies. To date, approximately 10 days of workshops and 4 days of team coaching have been delivered across the entire leadership population.
Positive behaviour change is at the core of PeopleScape’s approach to cultural transformation. Proven methods emphasise the need to create awareness and motivation, as a prerequisite to individual growth. Without positive individual behaviour change at people leader levels, team and culture transformation simply does not happen.
Anyone who has tried to break an old habit and replace it with a new one will understand that behaviour change is challenging, even when the path to getting there is well planned.
To enable leaders to truly grow, PeopleScape taught them how to maximise the value of feedback, regardless of where it comes from; understand the power of engaging with a ‘growth mind set’ when learning opportunities arise; and to authentically manage their vulnerabilities.
With an emphasis on personal and collective benefits, we helped them tune into unique motivators that enabled them to change and develop. With key growth enablers in place, workshops were used to build specific targeted skills, identified through needs analysis. Team coaching sessions served to reinforce skill development. They provided an environment where people leaders could openly discuss challenges to progress and learn from each other.
At all times throughout the program, a key objective has been to build capability for ongoing self-sustainable growth, through knowledge transfer from PeopleScape to Arts Centre Melbourne.