I'm an established culture consultant specialising in belonging, with over 25 years’ experience. I've had the privilege of working with organisations of all kinds of sizes, sectors, geography, private, public, not for profits and NGOs.
I first developed original models about 20 years ago to understand how belonging works in organisations, and to pin down what makes their culture tick.
It was a railway manager who really nailed home the concept of belonging for me, in a workshop in the early 2000s:
"I don't belong to a brand," he said, firmly distancing himself from the brand of the train operating company running the route.
"All I know about a brand is my tie changes colour every five years. I belong to the railways."
Pride, identity and commitment were all wrapped up in his sense of belonging.
Since then I've worked with clients to help improve connections, articulate what they value, improve ethical and collaborative behaviour, support leadership development, overcome internal conflict, resolve tensions post-merger or demerger, and galvanise everybody behind shared purpose and ethos.
I run specialist consultancy Belonging Space and I collaborate with other consultancies.
Clients over recent years include: The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cranfield University, The Royal College of Physicians, Spence & Partners pensions actuaries, Network Rail, UK Youth, Severn Trent, Rolls Royce, Berendsen and Balfour Beatty. I've worked with leaders and teams throughout the UK, in Denmark, Germany, across Europe and Scandinavia, the USA and Singapore.
I've also conducted research into the levels of belonging or isolation amongst a sample of UK employees, and in a previous role (as Director of Culture and Engagement at a major creative agency) into the expression of values of the FTSE 100 ('The Value of Values'), and the effectiveness of Codes of Conduct ('Commitment beats Compliance'). I'm a regular conference speaker, podcast guest and commentator on culture.
Belonging is such a broad theme - it touches all aspects of our lives, work and endeavours. We all belong to, and move between, so many tribes: family, faith, football, work, nation, town, there never seems enough time to capture it all. And there's always so much more to learn.
So, I am using a bit of time in lockdown to reach out to share insights and interesting belonging stories. This is a start and plenty of exploration to come. Gradually these conversations will build up a collage of many perspectives on belonging.
Let me know if there's an angle you'd like me to look at.