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.
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.
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
Organisational Development Manager