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/

UC’s Organisational Culture Transformation – update #2

News
The College of Science 2-day Culture Leader workshop was held last week. Twenty-seven Culture Leaders (Heads, other senior staff and Team Leaders) engaged with each other, theories of Organisational Culture, other content and their results. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Wendy Lawson observed

“It was an intense couple of days for our group of ‘culture leaders’. But the next steps are even more important: sharing the results with our colleagues in a way that supports understanding, and planning next steps.”

The now well-tried and tested workshop agenda includes:
– The “How Culture Works” model (Circumplexes, Outcomes and Causal Factors),
– A case-study exercise using the overall UC results, and
– The release and debrief of the ‘local’ results – at the unit and sub-unit levels.

This brings the number of Culture Leaders who’ve been through the 2-day workshop to 180.

Sharing News and Good Stories
Can you relate any positive experience within your team, your wider work area, or across UC to the organisational culture programme activities you have been undertaking? Please take a couple of minutes to tell that story. There’s two questions plus a few demographics and you can repeat this at any time. I’d love to hear your experiences.

Culture Leaders – there is a slightly longer survey you can utilise asking a little detail about experiences and reflections as well as positive stories.

Feature Article: The Interactive Circumplex
The interactive circumplex on the Human Synergistics website is a great tool for getting your head around the lens ‘shift’ of the 12 styles from an Individual style perspective to the Organisational Culture view i.e. the Behavioural Norms which are encouraged, discouraged or tolerated. All the elements of the Circumplex are defined and explained as you click on them.

A good example is:
– Click on Individual level: Personal Managerial or Leadership Styles view (left-hand side) and then click on the Perfectionist segment and you will reveal…

“Perfectionistic: Based on the need to attain flawless results, avoid failure and the tendency to equate self-worth with the attainment of unreasonably high standards. People high in this style are preoccupied with details, place excessive demands on themselves and others and tend to show impatience, frustration and indifference toward others’ needs and feelings.”

– Then click on Organisational level (Behavioural Norms) on the left and then on the Perfectionistic segment and you’ll see…

“A Perfectionistic culture characterises organisations in which perfectionism, persistence, and hard work are valued. Members feel they must avoid all mistakes, keep track of everything, and work long hours to attain narrowly defined objectives.”

This lens shift shows the difference between an individual who has a Perfectionist workstyle (measured by the LifeStyles Inventory) and an organisational culture that encourages Perfectionistic work habits (measured through the Organisational Culture Inventory).

Planning timeline
The indicative timeline for planning the organisational culture programme in each area is as shown below (click to enlarge)….

Finding Out More
– See UC’s Culture Journey website for more information on the UC programme, tools, articles and whitepapers, FAQs and more.
– Previous blog: #1: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.nz/intercom/2018/01/24/ucs-organisational-culture-transformation/

Ngā mihi nui
Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager

UC’s Organisational Culture Transformation

In 2013 we started to take a deliberate look at our organisational culture –

“the shared values, norms and expectations that guide us in terms of how we approach our work, interact with each other and interact with our students, stakeholders and customers. Organisational culture includes the patterns of behaviour that are encouraged, discouraged, or tolerated by people and systems over time.”

Why? An organisation’s culture affects performance, employee engagement and the ability to create an innovative and positive work environment.

The first steps we took were to enhance constructive behaviours* in our staff in leadership roles. We are utilising a 360 degree tool called the LifeStyles Inventory (LSI), coupled with coaching. The LSI has continued to be part of the readiness for the next stage – enhancing Culture – to support our continued efforts to be People Prepared to Make a Difference and to achieve our strategic goals.

(* The four Constructive behaviours are: Achievement, Self-actualising, Humanistic-Encouraging and Affiliative.)

The Culture component of the journey began in earnest in 2015 and is now underway for the majority of staff. So far 76% of staff have had the opportunity to participate and have started to discuss the UC culture they experience (“Actual”) and the UC culture they desire (“Ideal”). These conversations, activities and initiatives are supported and validated by the measurement tools we are using – provided by Human Synergistics.

This culture transformation is an SMT-led initiative. HR’s role is to support each SMT member as they plan when and how they will deploy the measurement tools, and support their areas to close the gap between the perceived ‘actual’ and ‘ideal’ culture. Culture Leadership teams have been established in each area. The Culture Leader’s role is to debrief results with their staff, initiate and support discussions to build understanding of the results, and to enable and empower staff with their subsequent activities, changes, relationship building and initiatives.

News
Learning Community for Culture Leaders “Blue CLUES”, a series of sessions for the growing group of Culture Leaders, will start in March. The purpose of these sessions will be to learn – from leaders and guest experts, as well as from each other – and to network in order to share our experiences and lessons.

Invitations for the inaugural session on 22 March will be sent soon for those who are designated Culture Leaders in their areas. Our guest speaker will be Shaun McCarthy, Director Human Synergistics Australasia. Please pencil in the date.

Feature Article
If you are wondering how to take a (further) step in the right direction, this article may prompt some thinking…

“8 Things Constructive People Don’t Do”. Published on 17 Jan 2018, By Dominic Gourley. “Sometimes it’s easiest to know what Constructive is by looking at its contrast…”

Dominic’s article refers to the Human Synergistics Constructive behaviours at the individual level. If you are not familiar with these or you want to see them compared with the styles at the organisational/culture perspective, you might find this article of interest.

Finding Out More
– Please see UC’s Culture Journey website for more information on the UC programme, timeline, tools, articles and whitepapers, FAQs and more.
Listen to the VC talking about this topic

I plan to provide you with updates, resources, guest blogs etc. once a month. If you have any success stories to share from your area’s work following your culture discussions, please contact me, I welcome your input.

Ngā mihi nui
Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager