The inescapable influence of culture

Having trained as an engineer, David was impressed by the scientific rigour of Goldratt’s theory. But it was clear that, unlike physics, organisations couldn’t be separated from the people who power them. Free will and cultural expectations play an unavoidable role in any collective endeavour.

David again looked for answers, this time to academia and MIT. He studied the work of Edgar Schein, who spent decades observing organisations and reported his findings in works such as Culture and Leadership, and Peter Senge, whose classic The Fifth Discipline suggested new ways of developing ‘learning organisations’. He also found much sense in the often awkward truths uncovered by Elliott Jaques in his exploration of organisational design through his Stratified Systems Theory.

Combining these insights with Goldratt’s logical method, David developed his own system for the planning and performance of work, integrating five linked domains that open up pathways to the goal of winning remarkable results. The result, The Ensemble Way, is founded on core principles of trust, goodwill, respect and courage. As David puts it, ‘We’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But those who get what we’re trying to do, really get us. You need to be ambitious enough to reach deep into yourself.’

Capability building on a grand scale

In today’s digital age, technology is a key driver for growth and we’ve developed our own platform and tools to implement better ways of working. It’s important to remember that the same challenges apply, whatever the sector. ‘While “resource and scheduling management” may sound very prosaic,’ says David, ‘it’s at the heart of all business and organisations. It’s all just work.’

That said, each sector experiences specific challenges and it’s very helpful to know where we can use our leverage to make the greatest impact. ‘We’ve been around long enough now to have had major successes in industries including aviation, banking, construction, engineering, manufacturing and retail. Getting to the heart of things, in the jargon our clients use, helps key stakeholders realise that we mean business.’

“I believe we are all at our best when we have purpose and meaningful goals that are attainable.”

David sees business itself as having the potential to transform both the customers served by the organisation, and the people it employs. ‘I do what I do,’ he says, ‘because I believe that people have the right to be well managed, and that we are all at our best when we have purpose and meaningful goals that are attainable.’

Those goals may be lofty, but it only makes sense to aim high. ‘My vision is to make a contribution for all this good earth by materially lifting the productivity of Australia.’

Although we are a specialist consultancy, Ensemble packs an outsized punch. We’re introducing our ‘innovations in productivity’ one client at a time, helping them redefine what’s possible. If you haven’t already experienced the difference of working with us, perhaps you and your organisation could be next.

Read our founding story case study »

Learn more about our systems approach »