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How modern leaders create winning cultures


August 24, 2022

As the “Great Resignation” drags on, more than four million Americans quit their jobs in May 2022.

Here’s some food for thought:

People are still reevaluating their life and priorities. It’s all part of the “Great Rethink.”

People want increased leverage, taking advantage of the “Great Renegotiation.”

Some people are doubting their decision to leave their jobs and are joining the “Great Regret.”

As an employer and a business, where does that leave you? How can you approach workforce management and the search for the right people?

There’s no question that this environment is unbelievably challenging for employees and employers alike, but it also presents an opportunity for leaders who recognize that in turbulent times, culture is more important than ever.

Culture can seem intangible, but at its core culture is a group’s shared identity, beliefs, symbols and patterns. It’s what people do, how they do it and why they do it, together. And there is growing consensus that culture isn’t peripheral to business.


of executives believe that improving culture will improve business value.1


of job-hunters say they are seeking a strong culture.2


of earnings calls between January 2020 and April 2022 addressed organizational culture.3

Leaders have a disproportionate influence when it comes to creating winning cultures built on trust and belonging. Our latest point of view, “The arc of modern leadership,” explores how agile, responsible, connected leaders do just that.

Agile leadership

Agile leadership fosters an environment that is highly innovative and decentralized. It embraces a degree of trust and experimentation that flies in the face of a 20th century ‘command-and-control’ model of management, and is especially important in times of uncertainty and compressed transformation. Agility is crucial in large organizations with complex hierarchies and processes, systems and rules that are difficult to dismantle.

Agile leaders enable their people to execute change at pace by asking their teams to think big and challenge assumptions, while giving them the freedom to fail fast and learn. Leaders encourage their teams to make intelligent decisions and improve decision-making by heeding the customer more. They give teams information, tools and skills, and encourage collaboration by breaking down silos.

If you can change the way leaders lead, and you enable them to embrace omni-connected experiences, then you can change culture.

Responsible leadership

Responsible leadership centers around the purpose of the organization and its role in society, considering the wider context—from political and economic upheaval to social justice movements and sustainability requirements. Responsible leaders are able to respond to these pressures and adapt.

Responsible leaders are emotionally intelligent. They communicate the organization’s purpose, lead with a strong moral compass and develop a thriving, people-led culture. They bring in diverse stakeholders and foster inclusive environments where individuals have a voice, feel they belong and are net better off. To advance common goals, responsible leaders inspire a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organization and its stakeholders.

Connected leadership

Connected leadership creates cohesion in the organization. Because their holistic needs are met, people are motivated to give their best—and produce better business results.

Crucially, connected leaders create what we call omni-connected experiences. Omni-connection helps ensure that people can fully participate and have an equitable experience—forging relationships, creating both personal and business value and impact, and growing their careers.

And one of the key elements of creating value through omni-connected experiences is championing a culture that prioritizes purpose, authenticity and psychological safety. Omni-connection is at the heart of employees’ experiences and their culture. Being omni-connected accounts for 59% of someone’s intention to stay with a company, and employees that benefit from omni-connected experiences are 29% more likely to experience a deeper level of trust toward their organization and team (page 6). And for shareholders, omni-connected companies experience a 7.4% revenue growth premium per year.

Delivering promises at Yodel

At Accenture, we’ve experienced this transformation in our own journey and have seen it in action with clients like Yodel, one of the largest delivery companies for B2B and B2C orders, serving many of the UK's leading retailers.

Following a restructure, Yodel wanted to place colleagues and customers at the core of the organization, in line with its brand promise. Employee attrition was high and Yodel wanted to engage and motivate colleagues in order to increase efficiency and improve performance.

The company introduced three new core practices: one-to-one meetings, daily team huddles and consistent team reviews. It also built management capability to deliver and embed these three new practices for more than 400 leaders. The transformation focused on the capability of all managers to spread people management responsibilities more widely across the business and emphasized using conversations to change everyday habits.

The results surpassed the expectations of both employees and customers. The business went from experiencing loss to profitability in two years. Employee retention improved, sickness absences decreased significantly, and voluntary turnover reduced from 38% to 3%. Yodel’s customer satisfaction score increased to a record high of 89.7%, and its customer Net Promoter Score increased from +48.8 to +64.3.

Taking the lead

Change is not easy, either at the company or individual levels. To make the benefits of true culture change happen—like increased innovation, productivity and retention—leaders must adopt new skillsets and behaviors. By encouraging authenticity and empowering visionary and collaborative leaders, companies can create a human-centered, growth-orientated, innovative and purposeful culture.

These current times represent a defining moment – and a fleeting one. Leaders who are agile, responsible and connected can effectively and consistently manage, motivate, include and inspire their workforces. They can create omni-connected experiences, where people know that they belong, that they have a voice, and that they are seen, safe and connected.

In doing so, leaders can live up to their promises and perhaps even launch the ‘Great Connection.’

To start your journey to become a more agile, responsible and connected leader, read the full report: The Arc of Modern Leadership.


Dr Simon Hayward

Managing Director – Leadership & Culture, Lead