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: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/about/hr/people-strategy/

Leverage our membership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

Membership Benefits

The University of Canterbury is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). Our membership provides access to a number of exciting, interesting and challenging opportunities such as conference grants for early career academic staff, academic fellowships, and grants to support initiatives that will boost gender equity and equality.

There are opportunities to “Get Involved” – collaborations across the Commonwealth e.g. “Global challenges”, “Access and inclusion”.

There’s also a range of opportunities for our students including scholarships, summer school grants, and fellowships.

Current opportunity promoted on the ACU site

“A Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship is a unique opportunity to study for a two-year Master’s at an ACU member institution across the Commonwealth.

Through cultural exchange and academic collaboration, Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholars help bring about positive change and find solutions to the shared challenges we face – both in their home countries and those that host them. Applications are open until 15 January 2020.   Find out more on our website

Newsletter “acu syntHEsis”.

I will endeavour to publicise opportunities as they arise but the best way for you to be sure of current rounds in a timely way would be to subscribe to their newsletter.

The newsletter is monthly. The current issue is available via the ACU Synthesis link. To subscribe and keep in touch with news and opportunities, email membership@acu.ac.uk.

About ACU

  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities is an international organisation dedicated to building a better world through higher education.
  • International collaboration is central to this ambition: by bringing universities together from around the world – and crucially the people who study and work within them – the ACU helps to advance knowledge, promote understanding, broaden minds, and improve lives.
  • The ACU champions higher education as a cornerstone of stronger societies, supporting its members, partners, and stakeholders as they adapt to a changing world.” (ACU homepage).

Liaison and our information page

  • See our intranet page to access the ACU site
  • I am the liaison person for ACU so talk to me if you want more information.

Karen Mather, Organisational Development Manager, Human Resources.

Psychology of work, performance and wellbeing – Whiria te Taura Tangata #20

Kia ora e hoa!

I am on the cusp of a week’s leave which will definitely contribute to my own wellbeing.  So this is a short, but hopefully sweet, posting.

Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope – November – Psychology of work, performance and wellbeing session – next month we are very excited to be co-hosting, along with the College of Business and Law and the College of Science, Professor Michael Leiter from Deakin University, a world-renowned expert in the psychology of work!

Combining Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope sessions together this time has allowed us run the same one hour session twice on 7 November to give you two options of time. Attendance is limited to 100 people per session.  There’s more information and registration details in this blog.

Weaving the Rope – our inaugural organisational culture sessions for all staff were held late last month. It was good to go back to basics and look at the How Culture Works Model. About 150 people attended and you can see details about what we covered on the OD website soon.

Opening up those silos – an article caught my attention this morning, especially the comments about intra-unit cooperation generally being high (we work well together) but inter-unit coordination is often seen as being problematic (they are difficult to work with).

That situation plays out in many of the culture outcomes across UC’s results. Is that your experience? If so, then the article might be worth five minutes of your time.  Trying to work across silos can be frustrating and detrimental to our wellbeing at work.

“If we want to achieve great things at work, to solve challenging and meaningful problems, and to live and work in constructive cultures — we must cultivate a broader sense of We”.

Ngā mihi, Karen Mather, Organisational Development Manager

Helpful links

 

Avoidance and Blame – Whiria te Taura Tangata #19

A new initiative  “Weaving The Rope” – a “Blue CLUES” for all staff is coming soon so keep an eye out!

Blue CLUES:  Just over 100 leaders attended the event “Applying ADKAR to Culture Change”. Thank you to Annelies Kamp and Misty Sato (EHHD), Alex Hanlon (LR), Lynn McClelland and Jayne Austin (SSAC) and Wendy Lawson (Science) for their “speed dating” skills in sharing their culture stories. We’ll load materials to the website soon.

Avoidance and blame I had the privilege of hearing some excellent speakers last week. One of them shared a thought-provoking, amusing video which made me think about

“blame culture”.

What does that mean? Most definitions talked about situations where people are reluctant to speak out, take risks, or accept responsibility because they fear criticism, retribution or worse. This shows up in culture results in the passive/defensive cluster particularly as Avoidance – “people are expected to shift responsibilities to others and avoid being blamed for mistakes”. This style impacts all the constructive styles but particularly Achievement and Self-actualised, and it kills innovation.

As Human Synergistics say in their Whitepaper – Organisational Culture: Beyond Employee Engagement (page 24)

“…it’s not about ignoring mistakes, it’s about how the circumstance of the mistake is dealt with. Is the focus on blame or improvement? Are people given help to improve their performance?”

  • What does Avoidance look like on your circumplex?
  • Is it impacting your colleagues and your ability to achieve? Work well together? Innovate?
  • What conversations could you lead or behaviours could you model to reduce Avoidance and blame?
  • Have you seen the overall results? How does yours compare?

I will leave those thoughts with you as well as Dr Brené Brown’s video (3.25mins) to make you laugh (or at least give a wry smile if you recognise a little of yourself in her words).

Ngā manaakitanga with best wishes,

Karen Mather
Organisational Development

Achievement – Whiria te Taura Tangata #18

Kia ora koutou

Achievement

I am feeling a little behind the eight-ball this month. Having returned two weeks ago from three weeks leave overseas, I feel a bit like I am still chasing my tail trying to get through the backlog plus the normal workload, as well as those new pieces of work that come our way unexpectedly. I am feeling very uncomfortable about this as I usually feel highly organised and achievement focussed!

This led me to think about Achievement – which is of course one of the constructive styles in the culture model we are using. So I thought I’d ‘work smart’ and share a very good Daniel Goleman article “Balance Your Need to Achieve”.

“Research shows that Achievement Orientation for personal goals matters crucially in early career jobs, while it morphs into a concern for the team or organization goals at higher levels.”

It is about balancing your Achievement focus with emotional intelligence, so as to help others achieve.  This, I would suggest, aligns nicely with the other three constructive styles.

Finding Out More

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes),

Karen Mather
Organisational Development

Creative Problem Solving ↔ Constructive Culture Whiria te Taura Tangata #17

Design Thinking

Back in August last year we highlighted the use of Problem Solving Circles to promote and grow a constructive culture. A number of you attended the advertised Blue CLUES sessions about this topic.

I hope you’ve been able to make use of this excellent tool and a number of the other tools in UC’s Ideation and Innovation Toolset.

A tool in that Toolset that I’d like to highlight today is Design Thinking.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success”. —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

Design thinking solutions are desirable from a human point of view but also technologically feasible and economically viable. It is not a methodology for every problem but in the right situations, it is very powerful. This is a good overview article and here are the resources we have gathered for you.

Many of us perhaps desire to attend the d.school at Stanford University (I know I do) but that probably isn’t a feasible or viable proposition! The great news is – you can study Design Thinking here at UC.

I’ve just completed this paper myself and (apart from thoroughly enjoying myself) I learnt about the theory behind the Design Thinking methodology, when it is appropriate to use it, and how to practically apply it.

photo of design thinking
At the CDHB Design Lab

If you are interested you can take this paper as part of UC’s MBA or our Postgraduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership or, as a one-off.

Culture resurvey after three years – College of Education, Health and Human Development

Congratulations to the College of Education, Health and Human Development on their recent retest results – an increase in the number of staff responding to the survey and noticeable growth in the constructive styles! I look forward to you sharing some stories once you’ve had time to reflect on your results within the College.

Finding Out More

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes),

Karen Mather
Organisational Development