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:

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

Merry Christmas! Meri Kirihimete! Whiria te Taura Tangata #12

With the completions of the College of Arts and the College of Engineering Culture surveys this month and the opening of the Health Centre survey, we have now invited all UC staff to contribute their views on desired and actual organisational culture.

Thank you to all those who continue to analyse their results, with the desire to make a difference in the way we all work together.

Meri Kirihimete!

Karen Mather and Karen Grant, Organisational Development

99%! Whiria te Taura Tangata #10

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Arts and Engineering The Organisational Culture Inventory/ Organisational Effectiveness Inventory questionnaires for the Colleges of Arts and Engineering are opening at the end of this month.

Please talk to your Head of Department/School or your HR Team if you want more information, and look for communications from your College in the lead up to the surveys.

Progress across UC

Once the Colleges of Arts and Engineering surveys are complete, 99% of staff will have had the opportunity to feed into the conversation about ‘actual’ and ‘desired’ UC culture.  That’s pretty impressive!

Soon we will see some more ‘re-tests’ undertaken. It has been three years since the College of Education, Health and Human Development and the HR Service Unit filled out their first round of surveys.  Look out for information about this if you are in those work areas.

Problem Solving Circles How are the PSC going? Does anyone have any success stories to share? Please post a comment if you do, I’d love to hear from you.

November Blue CLUES The November session for those involved in Culture Leadership will be the ‘red’ companion piece to the ‘green’ session run back in June.  ‘Leading Groups from the Red into the Blue’ will look at the four aggressive-defensive styles with a view to understanding what causes them to occur. This session will also delve into conflict situations so we can develop and reinforce strategies to manage these constructively. Invites and details to be confirmed soon.

Hei konā mai

Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager

Whiria te Taura Tangata | Weave the Rope of People – UC’s Organisational Culture Development Programme

Congrats to us! Whiria te Taura Tangata #9

Kia ora koutou!

Recognition UC has been recognised in the Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM*) 2018 Best Practice Awards in Perth last week – our Organisational Culture Development Programme won the Highly Commended place in the AHEIA award for People and Culture.

We deliberately did not nominate an individual or team as the success of this mahi needs everyone’s commitment and contribution from all – so it was entered as a whole-of-University initiative.

Paul O’Flaherty, Executive Director of HR | Kaihautū Matua Pūmanawa Tangata, was able to kōrero his thanks via video. Thank you to ATEM for this recognition and …. well done us!

*ATEM is the pre-eminent professional body in Australasia for tertiary education administrators and managers.

Blue CLUES: Problem Solving Circles Thank you to the College of Education, Health and Human Development for hosting the sessions we ran on Problem Solving Circles. There was excellent participation with 88 attendees across the four sessions. A video about effective problem solving and decision-making was made for this session (YouTube, 7.45mins).

Conference ticket winners Congratulations to the Blue CLUES attendees who won tickets to the Human Synergistics conference this week – Jacqui Lyttle, Eileen Britt, Shelly Thoms-Elder, Marcus Cullen, Trish Laurenson and Jane Pearce.

Upcoming The November topic will be

“Leading Groups from the Red into the Blue”

the companion session to the “……. Green into the Blue” session back in June.  Leaders – please look out for your invitations. There will be two iterations to choose from.

Finding Out More

Ngā mihi nui me te aroha nui | Congratulations and best wishes,  Karen

Problem Solving Circles – Whiria te Taura Tangata – update #8

Kia ora koutou! Our next seminar on organisational culture leadership is nearly upon us. This year seems to be flying by so I hope you are able to take the time to attend one of the four Blue CLUES options coming up.

UC Leaders will have received their invitations to this event.

The culture development activities we are undergoing as part of making the changes we have said we want are focusing on three levels – organisational, group/team and individual. 

Problem Solving Circles focus at the group level and can be used with intact teams or with people who come together for a specific or even one-off purpose. For example – when initiating something new or examining an opportunity or problem (research groups, project teams) or when debriefing (root-cause analysis or critical incident debrief team). They can be used to examine an issue or a topic over a period of time but are also helpful when a quick decision is needed.

In groups we often jump to an early solution. We frequently  don’t properly define the issue. We may not listen to everyone’s opinions. Problem Solving Circles are a series of tools wrapped into one process to help us overcome these situations. They support constructive behaviours within the group.

We invite work areas to consider hosting a Blue CLUES. This will involve opening the session and giving us a look into your culture journey. We’ll help with the content of the session and do all the admin. Your HR Advisors will approach you about taking a turn.

Thanks to the College of Education, Health and Human Development for hosting the upcoming seminar.

August Blue CLUES: Problem Solving Circles

As Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the College of Education, Health and Human Development I’m delighted the College will be hosting our next Whiria Te Taura Tangata – Blues Clues – with a focus on Problem Solving Circles. There will be four workshops scheduled at different times to help staff find one to fit their schedule.

Each workshop will be opened by a different leader from our College who will reflect on their experience of problem solving in the context of leading change in their School or unit. We hope that these workshops will provide leaders from across UC an opportunity to come together and reflect on how we solve problems at the moment, and how this particular methodology could help us improve our constructive engagement across teams and units.

From my perspective and experience of using this tool at UC, I’ve appreciated how straightforward using the Problem Solving Circles method actually is. I’ve found the process can support a team or group to collaboratively arrive at a better quality outcome – without the need for expert facilitation or individual skill development.   Letitia

Professor Letitia Hochstrasser Fickel, Ed.D,
Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor | Amorangi Taupua, College of Education, Health & Human Development |Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora.

Finding Out More

I write this from home following foot surgery and I will miss the first couple of Blue CLUES. I leave you in the very capable hands of the College of Education, Health and Human Development and my colleagues. Ngā mihi mō tō manaakitanga mai,  Karen Mather.