All posts by Karen Mather

"A constructive culture and leadership through Organisational Development: Enabling people to make a difference - to UC’s future." The goal of Organisational Development (OD) is to facilitate organisational transformation by enabling and growing a culture that drives an organisation’s strategic goals. OD initiatives and projects support senior leadership to develop an agile and responsive workforce and organisation. OD is often defined as a systematic approach to align strategy, people and processes. UC's People Strategy can be found here:

“Leadership Consciousness and Organisational Transformation” Whiria te Taura Tangata #16

Kia ora koutou!  Our first Blue CLUES for 2019 was held on 4 April, with around 100 people attended.

It was centered around Leadership Consciousness and Organisational Transformation.

Shaun McCarthy (Chairman, Human Synergistics New Zealand & Australia and Director Human Synergistics International) presented research undertaken by Human Synergistics in collaboration with Professor Dexter Dunphy (Professor Emeritus UTS and co-author of several textbooks and articles about organisational culture) which examined various stages of organisational transformation and levels of consciousness among leaders within these organisations.

They developed a hypothetical model to help illustrate these stages and levels and the impact of leaders own thinking on how organisations approach culture change.

The organisational transformation model has 6 stages:

  1. Denial;
  2. Non responsive;
  3. Compliance;
  4. Efficiency;
  5. Strategic proactivity; and
  6. Sustaining.

The stages of Leadership Consciousness also has 6 levels:

  1. Myopic Visioning;
  2. Blinkered Visioning;
  3. Conventional Visioning;
  4. Strategic Visioning;
  5. Proactive Visioning; and
  6. Total Visioning.

Change is often viewed as a threat. But what happens to the organisational culture outcomes (as shown in the Human Synergistics “How Culture Works Model“) if we do change?

The organisations operating above the line experience an increase in Individual, Group and Organisational outcomes, e.g. higher job satisfaction, role clarity, greater adaptability along with higher quality and service as opposed those organisations who are below the line. These organisations report outcomes with higher stress and job insecurity, and low intention to stay.

Shaun talked about moving through the stages and about transformational change in a short space of time being unlikely (not impossible) particularly for a large organisation. Typically for large organisations movement through each stage would take deliberate and supported effort over 18 months to 2 years.

View the video You can view the video of Shaun’s session and see the slides on the Organisational Development Blue CLUES website.

Admin Plus Professional Development Day
Karen Mather had the privilege of talking about culture with a group of about 45 attendees at the recent Admin Plus day on campus. It was an excellent conference-style day. HR is a proud sponsor of Admin Plus, which is a very active professional learning community.

Finding Out More

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes),

Karen Mather and Rachel Dillon
Organisational Development

An inclusive, safe and welcoming culture. Whiria te Taura Tangata #15

Kia ora koutou

I’ve been thinking a lot about inclusiveness over the last few months and the events of the 15 March have increased my desire to support UC as a welcoming and inclusive community.  This means our working and learning culture is one where we all feel safe, respected and comfortable to be ourselves. A place where we can share our sense of belonging.

From an Organisational Culture perspective, three of the constructive (blue) cluster of styles directly talk to this:

  • Self-Actualising: people should feel comfortable to be themselves at work,
  • Humanistic-Encouraging: people are expected to be supportive of each other, and
  • Affiliative: people are encouraged to place a high priority on constructive interpersonal relationships and to be friendly, open and sensitive to the needs of others.

There are many opportunities for us to continue building UC into an inclusive environment. Here are some links I know of:

I know there are lots of people doing heaps of great work in this space so feel free to add a comment about initiatives you are involved in or aware of.

Support – take care of yourself and others

  • Self-care events to be held at the end of April – look out for the special events we’ll be promoting very soon
  • Staff Support
  • Student Support

Find out more

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes), 

Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager


We are all in this together – Whiria te Taura Tangata #14

Kia ora koutou!

He waka eke noa.

My understanding of this whakataukī is “we are all in this together”.

It uses the waka as a symbol of the need for cooperation and collaboration in order to move together towards a shared place or vision. With the Colleges of Arts and Engineering, and now the UC Health Centre, receiving their culture results we can now truly say this is the case.

Blue CLUES. The planning for the first Blue CLUES is underway and invitations will be sent soon to those in Culture Leadership roles.  The invitation is still open for work areas to host one of these seminars – open the session, contribute to the content etc. so just let me know if you wish to take this opportunity.

Contributions welcome. Contributions to this blog are welcome. If you have a story to share, feel free to talk to me or post it yourself.

Culture Bites Podcasts.The podcasts by Human Synergistics Australia are a useful resource that can be listened to, for example, in the car. The latest one “But in this industry we have to be like that…”  David Byrum and Dominic Gourley from Human Synergistics discuss the concept of different cultures within different industries – “In a University, we have to be Oppositional because …..” You can listen to it here (or download to your phone): But in this Industry we have to be like that…

Change in OD Team. Karen Grant has taken up a new role within HR as Reward and Recognition Consultant. Karen’s contribution to getting the culture development programme to this point has been significant and I thank her for everything she has done. Rachel Dillon, who has worked here as an HR Advisor, is now in the OD Advisor role.  Rachel will be managing the LSI, OCI/OEI, Blue CLUES etc. – so say kia ora.

Finding Out More

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes), Karen

Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager

Happy New Year! Whiria te Taura Tangata #13

Happy New Year to you all!

I am pleased to advise that we now have a site dedicated to all the organisational development initiatives being led by HR. All the content about the organisational culture development programme has been moved across to the new Organisational Development site.

Another piece of great news is that UC is a finalist in the 2019 Human Resources Institute of New Zealand awards – in the Organisational Change & Development category. The awards will be announced next month.

We are in the midst of planning our Blue CLUES for this year so if you are in the target audience for those, watch out for your invitations. Suggestions for topics are welcome and if you’d like to host one, let me know.

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes), Karen

Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager