Tag Archives: Culture

Civility at UC – not to make assumptions

Last week we welcomed to campus visiting academic Professor Michael P Leiter, PhD (U of Oregon) MA (Vanderbilt) BA (Duke), an expert on the psychology of work and Professor of Organisational Psychology at Deakin University.

It was wonderful to see such a great turnout at Michael’s research seminar and the all-staff combined “Weaving the Rope” and “Blue CLUES” sessions. Around 300 people heard him speak at these events.

Michael talked about the importance of workplaces as a community and how belonging is vital. Michael uses the 4A’s a as a model to define civility.

  1. Acknowledge – which can be as simple as saying good morning to each other.
  2. Accept – inviting people to join in.
  3. Appreciate – giving thanks.
  4. Accommodate – inconveniencing yourself a bit to help someone else fit in with the flow of what’s going on.

Michael showed us the importance of intention and intensity of social interaction. Often we don’t know what message was intended, therefore we make assumptions (rightly or wrongly) about the intentions of others.

Michael talked about how his research shows that people tend to see themselves as being more civil than others perceive and that on average people experience a ratio of 5:1 civil to uncivil interactions when at work – which shows there’s a lot of room for improvement. For those who have their own LSI1&2, take a look and see what your results tell you in relation to this.

So what can staff do??

Michael suggested staff recruit a friend or workgroup to start modelling civility with.

What can leaders do??

Michael talked about leaders playing a large role in setting an example and promoting civility and respect and suggested putting civility on the agenda and adopting a sound Problem Solving framework as a good starting point. Check out the Problem Solving methodology UC has adopted.

Link to Organisational Culture

I see strong alignment between what Michael shared with us and the work we are doing to move UC towards our desired culture. For example, our culture survey measures now we feel about:

Respect for Members “The extent to which people are treated in a fair and just manner both in general and with respect to developmental opportunities”.

Empowerment “The extent to which people are given the authority, resources, experience and opportunity to perform their tasks autonomously”.

Use of Rewards, Use of Punishments, Significance, Interdependence – the list goes on….

If we can move these levers for change in a positive way, we can begin operating in a more constructive way which leads to greater Role Clarity, Motivation, Satisfaction and less Stress, which in turn lifts the performance of the individuals and the organisation as a whole.

Team Management Profile (TMP) is another tool we use to enhance team dynamics.

You’ll find Michael’s video and presentation under the Blue CLUES Intranet page and the Weaving the Rope Intranet page

If you would like assistance on how to kick-start a conversation about civility and respect within your team then get in touch with your Manager or HR Advisor. The 4 A’s is a great place to start!

Ngā mihi

Rachel Dillon

OD Advisor

Weaving the Rope – UC’s New Organisational Culture Sessions

Kia ora koutou,

It is my pleasure to announce a new initiative called “Weaving the Rope” which provides organisational culture sessions for all staff.

A constructive culture will help us all to be more innovative, collaborative and fulfilled in our work by creating an environment for us to develop as individuals and teams and contribute to  the overall performance of UC.

Weaving the Rope sessions will be offered 4 times per year and cover topics relating to organisational culture development at UC.

You may have heard of Blue CLUES for the UC Culture Leadership group. Our leaders  found these sessions very beneficial and have therefore supported the Weaving the Rope initiative, which is similar but available to all staff to attend.

The first session will showcase “How Culture Works”. This session will suit everyone no matter where they are in the culture development journey.

Come along if:

  • You’ve not seen any results but are still interested in hearing about this;
  • You’ve seen your OCI/OEI results and are interested in learning more;
  • Your team have initially worked on your results, but things have slowed down;
  • Your team are still firing ahead with working towards creating the desired culture.

We will be running the same 2 hour session 3 times on 25 & 26 September in the John Britten Conference Foyer. To register via Eventbrite please click on the one date/time option below that suits you best. Spaces are limited to 100 per session.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Helpful links

How the “Weaving the Rope” name evolved

UC’s organisational development

Ngā mihi

Rachel Dillon

 Organisational Development Advisor

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

Video overview of UC’s Policy on Prevention of Harassment and Bullying

All staff are encouraged to watch this video overview of UC’s Policy on the Prevention of Harassment and Bullying.

UC regards harassment and bullying of any kind involving staff or students, whether on or off campus, as unacceptable.

UC encourages a culture where people speak up when they see or experience harassment or bullying.

The Policy on the Prevention of Harassment and Bullying was updated in 2018 and it applies to all staff and students.
Read it here>

Blue CLUES (what’s that?) and working more effectively in Teams: UC’s Organisational Culture Development – update #4

Nau mai haere mai!

Blue CLUES
Blue CLUES* is a newly formed learning community for UC Leaders supporting the organisational culture development programme. The purpose of the community is to support constructive relationships and connections that encourage learning from each other and from experts, enable sharing and solving of challenges, and provide a place for collaborating on opportunities and initiatives.

Culture Leaders are SMT-nominated and generally include all members of an area’s Executive team, those leading teams of five or more, plus others in significant or influential roles in that area. To prepare for facilitating the debrief of the OCI/OEI results as well as enable ongoing culture development and initiatives within their area and beyond, Culture Leaders undertake the LSI, attend UC’s Leading Change and Coaching Conversations workshops, and a 2-day Culture Leader training workshop facilitated by Human Synergistics.

The inaugural Blue CLUES was held on the 22 March and 130 of the current 180 UC Culture Leaders attended. The two-hour session began with a presentation from Shaun McCarthy (Human Synergistics). Then followed a panel Q&A session – with Rod Carr, Darryn Russell, Anne Scott, Iain MacPherson, Janet Carter, Catherine Moran and Letitia Fickel, along with Shaun and Pam Wilson (Human Synergistics).

It was great to see the engagement and interest from those present. You can read more about this session and watch YouTube footage on the Blue CLUES website. More sessions are planned. Culture Leaders – your ideas on the structure and content of further sessions is welcomed via the survey on the webpage link above or you can email organisational.development@canterbury.ac.nz.

*’Blue’ refers to the four constructive styles – Achievement, Self-Actualising, Humanistic-Encouraging and Affiliative.
CLUES is an acronym formed from Culture Leadership Understanding and Education Seminars.

Team Management Profile – a Pilot
As part of our culture development efforts, we are piloting a tool called the Team Management Profile to assist individuals within teams to analyse their work style preferences and consider their implications for effective team performance. Participating in this individual and team analysis, together with facilitated discussions about how we work together, supports the constructive behaviours we are building across UC.

The Team Management Profile (TMP)…

“… gives you insights into how you prefer to work and how you are likely to interact with others in the workplace…..The Profile gives you information about your probable areas of strengths at work and within a team. It is the starting point for learning and development, and a tool that will give you a better understanding of how to maximise your potential and work with others.”

Here’s more about the tool and the research behind it.

We’ve approached a small number of work areas to pilot this programme. Once we’ve evaluated how this supports the organisational culture development already underway, we’ll decide whether to utilise this more widely. If you would like more information about this pilot you can talk to my colleague Karen Grant.

Finding Out More
– See UC’s Culture Journey website for more information on the UC programme, tools, articles and white papers, FAQs and more.
– Share your good news stories about culture change. Snippet of news? Use the short format. More reflective story to tell? Use the slightly longer format (suitable for Culture Leaders).
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Mā te wā
Noho ora mai
Karen Mather, Organisational Development Manager