Culture Fixer Case Studies
Industry: Public Utilities
Problem: Employee with 11 years tenure at company was complaining constantly about her new boss. The animosity escalated to the level that the employee formally filed a report about being harassed by her supervisor, who had even more tenure with the company, to Human Resources. Specifically, the employee complained about favoritism, not giving credit where it was due, personal animosity and inconsistent application of company norms and procedures.
Solution: A combination of individual coaching for each team member, leadership coaching for the supervisor and a series of 3 short Cultured communication skills trainings succeeded in improving the work culture of this specific part of the company. The content they were taught includes confirmation bias, negativity bias, victim thinking, emotional intelligence, team communication and communicating across different communication styles. The supervisor had not been holding one-on-one feedback sessions for lack of time. Once she began 15-minute one-on-ones where she listened to whatever the employee had to say, the situation improved, even though the two individuals never became close friends.
After that success, the company engaged in a series of short Cultured communication-skills training for all of the finance/accounting departments as they worked through an 18-month software implementation process. The bi-monthly short trainings gave everyone the chance to think about how they were communicating under the stress of the change process, to learn stress management and practice more impactful communication.
Problem: The company suffered a decline in employee engagement according to their most recent survey, which was part of their application to a Best Places to Work award. In previous years, the company had scored significantly higher on the communication-related questions but steep company growth had eroded communication quality.
Solution: All employees from all locations were invited and encouraged to attend a variety of Cultured communication skills classes held in Charleston and Washington, DC. Employees were allowed to choose from two different levels of Cultured training workshop, many attended both and the remainder attended one or the other workshop. The result was immediately improved internal communication building back the company’s culture after the stresses of hyper-growth had taken their toll.
Results were so positive that the company is scheduling advanced Cultured training for senior leadership team.
Problem: Small contract metrics company was acquired by foreign, white-label pharmaceutical manufacturer, bringing in a completely different culture. Before acquisition, the 25-year old company enjoyed a strong family-oriented culture, with paternalistic ownership and leadership team. The new owners put the company on a much more aggressive growth track, expanding both the service lines and performance expectations.
Solution: The new Vice President of Human Capital brought in Dr. Camacho for a multi-year Cultured communication skills training agreement, where she trained emerging leaders on the key communication skills that shape company culture. These skills include understanding the role of bias, how to listen without judgment, giving and requesting feedback, develop clear points of view and presentation skills. Thus new leaders were equipped to handle challenges of the more demanding context brought about by the fast company growth post-acquisition.
Industry: Digital Marketing
Problem: The fast pace of growth resulted in sloppy communication practices with complaints of “unprofessional” messaging and unclear feedback. These are raging symptoms of a company culture that’s in trouble. The company feared losing key employees as the company culture deteriorated in the face of aggressive expansion. Most of the company’s workforce is quite young.
Solution: The company scheduled a suite of Cultured workshops for the entire workforce, in both locations. These quarterly trainings not only taught key communication skills to employees at all levels but opened up safe space for difficult conversations. Because the workshops are so interactive, they also act as informal team-building sessions, which are key components of a healthy company culture.
"No suggestions for improvement, but I'd like to compliment Laura for an excellent training session. She was engaging and interesting to listen to and interact with. Loved the session!"
Survey Response from Engage Any Audience workshop at Mayne Pharma, January 25, 2016
"Laura you are a great speaker and presenter. It was very refreshing and informative to hear you talk!"
Survey Response from Engage Any Audience workshop at Mayne Pharma, January 25, 2016
"Laura Camacho's Leader Communication for Project Managers was the best workshop on communication I've ever attended -- at that's after years of working at top Silicon Valley companies including Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems. The content was especially pertinent to engineers like me. She keeps you busy the whole day so there's no being bored (plus you meet interesting people.) Highly recommended."
Deborah Hodge, principal Charleston Technology Partners
"I thought this Engage Any Audience workshop was perfectly paced and very beneficial to me in particular being that I tend to be technical based I sometimes don't realize that I may not be a true active listener though I am hearing what is being said. I think the tools provided during this training will help me build a stronger foundation of communication with my team and I really enjoyed the interactive exercises. It pushed me past my comfort zone and gave me a little different perspective into how I can better myself as a communicator and a manager. I would love to attend another class like this in the future."
Survey Response from Engage Any Audience workshop at Mayne Pharma, January 25, 2016.
"You would have been proud of me. I spoke in front of approximately 100 people at our annual Christmas Auction on Friday, the 13th. My sister/best friend gave me her honest opinion. She said that I seemed very poised & confident. I was so glad that I was not extremely nervous like I have been in the past. Your blogs are a huge help & I learned a lot during our summer coaching sessions. Thank you so much Laura!"
From Donna Tedder, public speaking coaching client.
"The skills Laura taught me for handling personal and business situations when I am out of my comfort zone have been invaluable. I have increased my visibility at work and have more self confidence."
MaryChris Delcioppo, Systems Educator at Medical University of South Carolina
"Even though I had recently taken a public speaking course at the university, I got so much out of the Presentation Wow Workshop. Laura helped me feel more confident in making presentations, even though I have a foreign accent. She showed me exactly how to deal with that. Highly recommended."
Antje Johnson, WITN, Washington, NC.
"I really enjoyed your PM Communicat
Kylie Jeffords, Charleston County Government
"I don’t have much time to elaborate, but you are doing an amazing job of connecting ‘soft skills’ involving the head, the heart, with the nitty gritty technical, logical, analytical workplace we (I) work in. Very timely. Thank you."
Will Terry, Safety Manager, Mayne Pharma USA
"I was in a good place career-wise when I started working with Laura but she helped me see how to leverage my resources in a much bigger way. Now things are really taking off for me."
Internationally-known pianist, Mac McClure, associate professor and Director of Graduate Piano at the National University of Colombia.
"I got so much more than I expected from the Presentation Wow Workshop. The time just flew by in a second. I found the material extremely helpful but it didn’t feel like a seminar, more like just learning with good friends. Now I’m so much enjoying the Choose Clarity and Confidence e-course. Wow. Thank you!"
Martha Gamboa, Greenville, NC
"I was asked to present at the University Leadership Council, and as a deeply technical person, I don't always have the presentation and communications skills to present to non-technical audiences. Laura was instrumental in helping me take on my audience's perspective, ridding my presentation of needless technical jargon, and conveying value they would understand. She was also extremely helpful in crafting my language to be meaningful and align with the thinking and language of those in the room, contributing to a much more impactful presentation than I would have ever been able to put together on my own. Overall we all need help with our presentation skills at MUSC, but Laura is an absolute pro, and knows how to give constructive feedback in a way that worked for me in short order!"
Jonathan Yantis, Senior Network Engineer, MUSC
Tom DiLiegro, Benefit Advisors of Charleston LLC
"For years we have created feedback surveys after our conferences, but we needed more insightful responses that would help us shape future events. Laura helped us narrow down what we REALLY wanted to discover through these surveys. Laura also helped us create a list of open-ended questions that were aligned with those goals. Having her communications expertise and experience not only improved the quality of the responses we received but after 24 hours, we have received as many responses as we did total for each of our previous surveys!”
- The Southern Coterie
"Meeting Street Schools is founded on Growth Mindset principles. We hired Dr. Camacho to provide professional development for our operations teams because of her expertise in Growth Mindset and other subjects (such as stress management and emotional intelligence) that promote employee empowerment. She teaches in a way that encourages students to progress in their sense of agency, building resilience and grit along the way. Our team members really look forward to future sessions with Laura."
Jackie Kohlhepp, Meeting Street Schools