How does internal culture impact project delivery and why is it so important to drive internal engagement?

PJ Mistry, Global Transformation Manager at Unilever joins Michael Gietzen on this week’s episode of Identify to explain how internal culture can support the success of project delivery.

You can read the full transcript below or watch the episode here.

MG: Welcome to Identify the news views and insights from within the events industry, I’m delighted to be joined by PJ today as we look at activating culture from inside and out. And really, this is a subject matter that is very close to my heart and I’ve spoken and indeed, written a lot about internal culture.

So PJ, first thing I would ask you is in your experience, why is internal culture so important about assisting with change and goals?

PM: Yeah, absolutely. I think everything starts with people. Ultimately that’s what it comes down to. So whenever looking to drive change or create impact. Yes, you should start with ultimately, what is, what it is that you want to create, but in order to really do it, it has to be driven by people.

And that has to be every single person within your organization.

MG: And if it’s, how do you get that message across? How, how, how are you working with teams so that you get the best out of them?

PM: Yeah, I would say that, really it’s human nature to want to own things and to innovate. So even if there’s been a process or a purpose that’s been written in the past, I think really giving individuals a feeling that they’re, they’re actually part of creating it.

Maybe even if you already have in mind, what you want the final outcome to be really that, that process of facilitation and choreography and partnership and collaboration. I think that’s super essential to netting out at something that makes everyone feel really bought in, um, into the idea and feeling that they can personally drive it forward.

MG: 100% and I think there’s definitely more that brands and agencies can do together to make sure that they can harness the best out of the team. And when I asked about inside and then out, I think if we can get it right from that collaboration, are you seeing that and wanting that from agencies.

PM: Oh, absolutely. I think, you know, recently I worked on a project with Identity where it was really all about actually creating this cultural, um, kind of internal cultural impact at Unilever. And in order to do that, actually to create that event and to create that platform. I felt it actually started also with us planning the event and how we work together as a, as multiple agencies, actually, that we brought together along with ourselves as clients and making it feel again, like everyone was a part of that journey.

So rather than just maybe more of a traditional agency, client relationship, where I would just share a brief and the agency would go ahead and bring some creative ideas and then we sign off and then execute, we really collaborated every single step of the way. And I think that because that whole energy of collaboration and partnership was kind of, was already there in the planning, the event itself had that energy just very authentically as an output.

MG: Do you know what it’s, you’ve made me spark off a few things. I think one is. Delivering an event is, uh, is a game of percentages or a game of inches where we have to think about all the little bits we can make improvements in to ultimately have a better event. And I think getting that internal drive and excitement and support and backing and everything to be able to do the full potential is so important.

Um, and I think the second thing is: the return of live events, getting it right now and all the lessons that we’ve learned and these ways to collaborate. Would you say that’s fair as well? Thinking about the return?

PM: Absolutely. I think that the virtual world actually gives us an unbelievable opportunity to think about humans at the center at a moment in which we feel more divided than ever if we can crack it now, if we can build that connection in this circumstance. Absolutely. You know, that’s just an exponential impact when we’re all able to be together again.

MG: And I think a good way for me to end is from your experience and clearly working on some yeah fantastic global projects. What are you seeing as the output, what are you seeing as the results of getting this right for external campaigns?

PM: Yeah, I would say just bigger, bigger impact, more authentic, more genuine impact. People feel energy. And that means even when you’re creating a campaign, something that, you know, for instance, if I’m creating a campaign, no one may ever see my face behind that campaign but if I’m pouring in elements of kind of my own passion, um, into that.

I really believe that that authentically comes through in what you deliver and has a way greater impact and value to the business.

MG: Well, that’s the perfect answer because you know, for me, if we can get that culture priests, right. And I think in a world where it’s a very competitive landscape and you’re thinking about audience experience, authenticity is absolutely everything.

PJ, thank you so much for joining me today. If you have any other comments that you want to add to talk about internal core culture within your business or agency and how they are driving better returns for your events. Please leave it in the comment box below. Thanks again, PJ.

PM: Thank you for having me.