Our mission is to bring a life-centred, values-based perspective to organisation and change by partnering with leaders and change agents who want to redirect the purpose of their work and transform the culture of their organisation.

Our deeper purpose in the world is to change the story that shapes society and create a world in which work works, for all of life.

Our values are Clarity, Fairness, Openness and Respect for mutual needs

culturework

organisation renewal
...with attitude

Getting Personal

David Youell

It’s not too ‘big’ a statement to say that we are living in an unprecedented historical moment of great challenge and enormous responsibility, and that the decisions we make as a species right now will determine the course of human evolution and the shape of life on Earth. That is where we are.

But if we’re honest about this reality and willing to do what it takes to earnestly play our part in hastening the cultural transformation that’s unfolding, we’ll discover that it’s also a time of great possibility and opportunity.

In my view, the real crisis in the world today, is a crisis of leadership. Vision and visionary leadership is desperately needed in business, in government, in our institutions and in society generally. Plenty of energy goes into recreating the past but precious few individuals or organisations are out there pointing the way to the future. I’m interested in working with any person or group with the courage to step out from the herd, and lead. ... read more

 

Paula Downey

Most of us start out with worthy ideals. I believe that. We don’t intend to dedicate ourselves to empty or trivial goals. Most of us want to do the right thing and we’d like to believe that our professional choices and decisions are good, not just for us but for others too. And yet, we’ve somehow managed to create a world which, despite material improvement for a minority, just isn’t working for growing numbers of human beings - which ironically, includes the so-called ‘winners’ - and it’s not working for the planet either.

I believe the fundamental task of our generation is to find a way to change the ‘story’ that is shaping our organisations and through them, our culture. I believe we have to re-story and re-voice the world in order to rescue and recover our humanity. Until we bring our whole selves and our personal values to the world of work the organisational ‘machines’ we’ve constructed will remain unchanged. ... read more

Convinced of the need for deep change, and committed to work worth doing

The conventions of professional life encourage people to define themselves by what they ‘know’ and to identify closely with their expertise. But whenever we hide behind the fig leaf of our knowledge - the smallest part of who we are - the world is immediately a poorer place. In the personal stories we share with you here we step out from behind our professional fig leaves to tell you something about who we are, where we’ve come from and what we stand for.

Our story

We began working as a team in the early eighties establishing our own company in 1987. Our professional journey and practice reflects the path of our evolving personal experience, a deepening concern for the context in which we all live and work, and a strong commitment to engage in work worth doing.

The first decade was spent largely writing, producing and directing high quality internal communication media for blue-chip national, multinational and semi-state organisations and helping non-profit and social enterprises with similar needs. On our shelves are awards from Ireland, Britain, Europe and the USA for ground-breaking work we’re still really proud of.

This success prompted clients to invite us to address more complex communication and cultural challenges and so our work morphed into the broader sphere of internal communication, supporting management in (typically) large organisations in the task of establishing or improving the communication function to make work more meaningful and workplaces more coherent.

Working as insiders took us into boardrooms and management suites and through observation and off-the-record conversations with CEOs and senior managers we began to appreciate some of the contradictions between the ‘say’ and the ‘do’ of corporate life, and the personal and cultural schizophrenia that often comes from that.

Wake up call

At the same time we were waking up to the social and ecological decline our generation is witnessing everywhere and the real-world consequences of day-to-day organisational decisions. It was clear to us that our culture is pushing up against both human and ecological limits and we wanted to find an authentic path through all of this that would enable us to make the work that we do part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Finding ourselves at a professional crossroads, we had a choice to make: ignore the inner signals and keep on going, or reflect on them and respond. We chose to respond and started out on what was to become a long and deeply challenging journey.

We read extensively. We began to study again, formally and informally, to follow new paths our questions were pointing us toward. We took time out and made space to ask tough questions and explore at the deepest level our motivation and the purpose of our work. It was quite distressing at times - giving up your sense of professional identity isn’t easy. It was confusing. Of course! There were no maps or road signs. And it took a huge amount of time, talking and thinking, starting over again and again. And though the personal sacrifice has been enormous, neither of us would hesitate for a moment to do it all again. Not for one moment.

A new purpose

Out of this investment of time and energy together with a combination of constant reflection and professional practice over more than a decade, an entirely new philosophical orientation has evolved for us, one that is more in line with the real global context. A new purpose for our work has become clear and a new approach to organisation, culture and change has emerged.

CultureWork is the practical expression of all of this. It’s our way of supporting leaders and change agents and progressive insiders who want to respond meaningfully to the urgent challenges of our time.

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