MONDAY 14 SEP 2015 1:24 PM


James Kerr, co-founder of the newly-minted Fable, found his work with New Zealand’s All Blacks was a source of inspiration for corporate leaders. The culture within the team was such that the players – some of the best rugby athletes in the world – would clean and sweep the clubhouse at the end of every match. It was an act that showed Kerr how important leadership is in creating a positive culture. “How do you turn those values into everyday behaviours?” he asks.

That is the question Fable has been established to answer. The consultancy will operate alongside Aesop, an existing creative communications agency, as Aesop CEO Roger Hart is the other co-founder. It will work with CEOs and other organisational leaders on managing change throughout their corporate culture.

To do this in any large organisation requires deep knowledge of the existing culture and interaction with employees from the CEO to frontline staff. “Change starts at the top, but it happens at the bottom,” Kerr says. Fable will work with companies to train employees, develop communications channels internally and promote a more positive working environment.

Much of the psychology behind this approach comes from the military and from sport. Both are values-based, vision-led organisations with clear objectives. They’re purpose driven, Kerr says. But instilling that in a corporate entity that may not have communicated such purpose throughout the hierarchy presents a challenge. “People will rise to a challenge as long as it’s their challenge,” Kerr adds. He says making individuals and teams feel like ownership of a part of the business is key to achieving this.

Kerr and Hart avow that culture change can be achieved through inclusion, a strong narrative and the reflection of that positive culture externally. Building the right story around the culture is key. “No one looks after the All Blacks, the All Blacks look after themselves,” Kerr quotes. That mantra is part of a story of success on the field, humility and community that has allowed it to foster a culture of excellence. If Fable has its way, the journey to developing a positive, well-suited culture should be no different in the corporate setting.