In 2019 I left my role as Associate Director at Moore Stephens LLP to build on my 20 years of experience and understanding of how organisations work. In 2019 the Culture Lab Consultancy, a trademarked brand, was established with the founding principle for helping leaders increase organisation value through being deliberate and conscious about their organisation culture.
Hi and welcome to Culture Lab Consultancy Ltd, my name is Kami Nuttall, I am a culture at work expert, derived from 20 years of experience of auditing organisations, seeing how they work from a governance, risk and ways of working perspective, and also from a people perspective, understanding the human experience at work.
Culture Lab Consultancy exists to help you join the dots between your culture and corporate strategy and purpose, risk appetite and risk management frameworks, governance and internal control practices. Through internationally recognised and evidence based culture frameworks combined with auditing practices your baseline culture is identified – I peel away the surface of your organisation, positioning your challenges in the context of your cultural practices, I go beyond the usual HR metrics of measuring culture such as through standard staff surveys - I help leaders and internal audit functions understand what needs to be done to achieve the strategic WHY by focusing on the strategic HOW.
Effective organisations lead with purpose and values. They prioritise ethical conduct and integrity. They align organisation purpose, encouraging people engagement, facilitated and supported by the right practices. Effective organisations create inclusive environments that are underpinned by high psychological safety. I believe that corporate values are an important steer for decision making and behaviours but on their own are merely aspirational. Mental health and wellbeing should be taken seriously in the workplace, and promoting employee candour and diversity in thought are key to creating effective high performing teams. The employee experience and journey should be supported through learning and promotion of self-awareness and personal growth. All of these things and more are important elements to have in place and together can create an effective workplace culture.
“I do not see a unique role for the traditional industrial/organizational psychologist, but I see great
potential for the psychologist to work as a team member with colleagues who are more
ethnographically oriented. The particular skill that will be needed on the part of the psychologist
will be knowledge of organizations and of how to work with them, especially in a consulting
relationship.” - Edgar Schein (1990)
My degrees in Psychology and Social Anthropology help me with understanding the corporate culture landscape. As an experienced consultant, I have worked with Houses of Parliament teams reviewing internal control frameworks and first and second line assurance frameworks. With the National Archives, Sport England and General Medical Council I have helped them diagnose their organisation culture in the context of the issues and challenges they faced. I have helped Stroke Association uncover the root causes of issues faced for a core support function including where they were positioned internally. I have helped UNITAID further their understanding of their ethical environment in the context of a multicultural environment. In all of these projects I have focused on understanding their unique ways of working and diagnosing the challenges they face that have their root causes within their organisation’s culture. I have helped them understand their issues by positioning them in the context of their unique organisation culture.
My time with Oxfam GB was both amazing and hard – my personal and professional growth in this time was shaped by the places and people I visited, many locations that were off the beaten track. In Yemen I visited a woman in Prison and talked to her about the help she was receiving through local partners funded by Oxfam GB, to help her receive representation in courts; I was humbled to see her in her environment, and at the same time awed at the mammoth task and ambition of the local programme team to change tradition and cultural practices and attitudes around child marriage.
When I visited Niger to look at the slow onset emergency response programme I did a ‘stocktake’ of the goats and sheep that replaced livestock that died due to draught – during my visit the programme manager told me that the Tuareg and Fulani men did not see me as a woman and therefore were not concerned to talk to me -the idea of ‘identity’ and ‘gender’ mean different things to different people. It reminded me of how cultures are distinct from country to country.
In Pakistan I visited camps set up for displaced people following the devastating impact of the 2005 earthquake and at the same time witnessed how experts/ specialists brought in from head office to respond to the emergency can clash with local senior management for whom respect and hierarchy were important ways of working.
In Sudan I visited South Darfur camps that were full of displaced people and heard about the atrocities and risks that women faced while out looking for firewood, as well as the difficulties faced by Non-Government Organisations to remain neutral in a highly charged political environment – where if you say the wrong word your agency would be expelled.
In Banda Aceh (north Indonesia) and south Sri Lanka I saw how the geography of those regions had changed completely following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami – it was humbling to visit locations where so many had lost their lives and inspiring to see how local families and enterprises were surviving.
These are few of the countries I visited during my time with Oxfam. As an Internal Auditor I quickly grasped the cultural differences in each location, how visits enabled me to further my understanding of how national and local cultures shape how programmes were delivered, how decision making was affected, and attitudes towards risks and controls – these insights have helped me position recommendations more effectively.
I have delivered extensive training and workshops in many different locations around the world, sometimes with translators. My training events are interactive, encouraging participants to engage, by asking questions and confirming understanding. I have spoken on many topics through IIA platforms in the Middle East region including auditing culture, agile auditing and overcoming resistance to change – I co-authored one of the earliest articles on Auditing Culture.
During my time with Moore Stephens LLP I have had the pleasure of overseeing and leading the audit plans for the Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, The National Maritime Museum, General Medical Council, Nursing & Midwifery Council, General Optical Council, Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, Age UK, Action for Children and The Association of Accounting Technicians. These are a few of the organisations I have worked with.
The foundational values of Culture Lab Consultancy Ltd are based on my core values: Creating belonging by nurturing effective connections. Serving with purpose and integrity so that I make a difference to those I work with. Acting with courage at all times. A base principle for understanding culture is that we learn our value systems from a very young age. I learned my values from my parents, teachers, community, and through my experiences. Awareness of this helps me serve my clients effectively.
When I am not working on the Culture Lab Consultancy, I am also a Board Member, Chair of Audit and Risk Committee and Member of Remuneration and Nominations Committee for Grand Union Housing Group, a volunteer for the Milton Keynes Night Shelter, a prolific reader of fiction and non-fiction, a life drawing artist and creator of crochet wearables!
Kami has a wealth of knowledge about organisation culture and ways to measure them effectively. "Genuine expert" is the phrase that comes to mind when I think about Kami. Her cultural sensitivity and wealth of knowledge in the field of risk management and beyond can assist organisations to achieve their maximum potential. I found my interaction with Kami to be very informative and insightful.
Harsh 'Victor' Surana