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Instigating culture change from the top down

Mark Allan from RSA and Grahame Price from St Paul’s Way Trust School talk about instigating culture change from the top down

In this video on culture change we hear from two leaders working in two very different areas. They explain to us what culture change means to them, share with us some of the mistakes they have made in trying to bring it about and then give us advice from their personal experiences.

Mark Allan, Managing Director, Affinity Partnerships, Royal Sun Alliance says that culture change means engaging the hearts of the people involved in your organisation in the path you are trying to lead them in. This cannot be done by merely stating your goals. You must recognise what this means to the individuals in your team and where they each are on the journey ahead. Also you must monitor who follows your path quickly, who takes longer to latch on and who perhaps is too stuck in their ways to change. Are the people from this last group the right people to have in your team?

He says the biggest mistake he made was to assume everyone would be as excited about a new project as he was. He became frustrated with people for not wanting to immediately embrace new things.

His advice would be to find a simple purpose or cause that you can unite people behind. Remain patient and try to introduce things in different ways to bring on board as many people as possible. Be ready to accept that in some instances it’s ok if people never get a certain aspect of what you are trying to achieve.

Grahame Price,Head Teacher, St Paul’s Way Trust School says in order to bring about culture change within your organisation you must have a passionate, non-compromising belief in what you are doing. Employees must realise it is their choice to stay with a group of like-minded people and drive towards a common goal or, if they do not agree with the values of you are striving towards, it would be best for you and them if they left and found work elsewhere.

Grahame says the biggest mistake he made at the start was failing to recognise some people who did want things to be different but were just too stuck in their ways to show it. He discounted them and was impatient with them. However now there has been so much change around them they have found ways to change too and proved him wrong.

His advice to anyone trying to bring about culture change would be to recognise the functional and dysfunctional relationships within your organisation. Admit that sometimes in order to improve the dysfunctional ones some personnel may have to change.

Both these two speakers show that fundamental culture change from the top down is possible but it is not easy. Key to the process is engaging your employees.



Mark Allan and Grahame Price were key speakers at Wavelength Connect event On Your Marks 2013. To view more videos from this event go to On Your Marks 2013.

Click on the link to view more videos from Mark Allan and Grahame Price.



With a 300-year heritage, Royal Sun Alliance is one of the world’s leading multinational insurance groups. Today, they employ around 23,000 people, serving 17 million customers in over 140 countries. Their strategy is simple; to deliver sustainable, profitable performance. Their strategic priorities are targeted profitable growth, operational excellence and sustainable earnings.

St Paul’s Way Trust fully prepares each of their graduates for the opportunities and demands of the adult world. During each child’s school career they place strong emphasis on six key areas: Communication, Investigation, Networking, Participation, Scholarship and Vision. It is because students learn to excel in these areas that they gain the confidence to become successful global citizens.

Their undergraduate curriculum is the result of very close work with two of their Trustees: Queen Mary, University of London and King’s College, London. It is precisely because of their unique relationship with these Higher Education institutions, alongside Warwick University and the University of East London, that they are able to provide this exciting, relevant and robust learning experience. This year they were announced one of the 15 Most Improved Schools in England

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