The team at a leading Australian law firm didn’t just want to tick a box. They wanted to ensure that their organisation continues to be a supportive workplace where staff can truly explore and grapple with the ethical and practical considerations of what it is to exhibit cultural leadership.
In 2021, a leading Australian law firm engaged Polykala to design and deliver a large, long-term organisational culture program for the entire firm. The project involved co-designing and delivering a training program enabling courageous conversations to ensure that the business is the best place for all kinds of people to work, grow, learn and contribute. They also wanted the training to reach their people across a diversity of learning styles, to connect with their heart and smarts. To their credit, they wanted something radically different to help make a real difference to the way inclusion, diversity and workplace culture was practised on an everyday basis. They wanted their people to walk away with new skills, tangible insights and wider perspectives. As to why this firm chose to work with a boutique company like Polykala rather than one of the big 4 consulting firms; they valued our distinctive approach, our independence and our willingness to stand firm on the intellectual and pedagogical basis of our take on adult learning and adaptive facilitation.
The project involved one of the most extensive design processes Polykala has undertaken. Over months and many design iterations, we produced three bespoke versions of our cultural leadership training for groups across the firm. The sessions consisted of facilitated conversations about workplace interactions and our tendencies to interpret situations differently according to a composite of our demographic experiences and our cognitive makeup. The practical component of the program combined a set of interpersonal workplace skills from supporting our colleagues to engaging in difficult conversations. Threaded throughout the training was the principle of challenging participants to step outside of our comfort zone and into our learning zone to ensure that the workplace environment promotes and strengthens the values of the organisation.
Our partnership with this law firm has been one of the most rewarding projects we’ve undertaken. Over the course of two years, Chyonne Kreltzsheim and Ananth Gopal have delivered the most extensive cultural leadership training and facilitation Polykala has undertaken in its 10-year history.
We’ve completed sessions with more than 1,000 staff across Australia and the Asia-Pacific and we’ve been overwhelmed with the response from participants including senior leaders and some of the most talented young graduates from across the country. Throughout the sessions, we’ve noticed from their people a sincere desire to learn, to unlearn, and to see themselves as active agents in upholding and advancing the firm’s values which gives us immense job satisfaction. We’re honoured to now work with the firm on an ongoing basis, providing a version of this program to all new joiners.
“I had the pleasure of working with the Polykala team on a large, long-term organisational culture program. The thoughtful, thorough and collaborative approach shown by the Polykala team was second to none. Ananth and Chyonne are extraordinary facilitators, creative designers of learning experiences and invaluable thinking partners. Their passion and expertise was evident in every interaction we had and I genuinely appreciate everything they each brought to our firm.”Organisation Development Manager