Category Archives: 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 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

“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

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