Tag: Culture and Organisational Development

Organisational culture is essential to the success of any business. In the early childhood education sector, it is particularly important, as parents know that their children will benefit from a positive culture. Often, we think of culture and leadership from an internal, human resources perspective, but given the way it influences service provision, customers often take organisational culture into account when selecting a business.

Culture affects employees – both positively and negatively, and when deciding what centre to choose for their family, the most important factor influencing parents is the quality of educators, which means focusing on organisational culture in childcare is the basis of being customer-centric.

Continue reading

Looking Into The Future Workplace and How Organisations Can Adapt

Unsurprisingly, the future workplace will be driven by technology. The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), automation and robotics will dramatically change both the number of jobs available and the skills required to do them.

We are now moving towards a future where machines help humans to process, analyse and evaluate the huge amount of data created. Yes, this will mean that some jobs will become redundant. However, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal here is to allow humans to spend more time engaged in value-adding activities such as strategic thinking, creativity and decision making.

Continue reading

Start small; but start.

Gradually Adapting to the Future Workplace

There is much discussion about the future of work but it appears while some organisations are preparing (e.g. creating start-up teams and internal “gig” roles) for a world where artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are prevalent and the norm – others are continuing to operate as always. Change was slow and incremental: now it is rapid, radical and unpredictable.

Failing to look over the horizon could cost businesses their livelihood and people their jobs. (Think about organisations that no longer exist e.g. Borders, Polaroid and Blockbuster).

Continue reading

Top Tips for Starting a New Role

Starting a new job can be a little nerve-wracking. No matter how much preparation you have done – that first day can feel a little uncomfortable. Not unlike those brand new black brogues I bought myself for my new role as Consultant – People Performance with Change2020.After a week with Change2020, my new shoes are worn in and I feel I’m part of the team.  It feels like I have known my colleagues for much longer than a week and that I am already contributing to clients and the business.

Continue reading


It was a Saturday afternoon and I was in the final stage of the weekly shop.  I selected a checkout manned by a young guy (he looked about 12 but I am sure he was older!).  Bradley (his name badge gave him away) was friendly and we undertook the usual pleasantries until something happened.

He started saying something and then he stopped himself.  Being a curious person, I asked him to share what he had been going to say.

Continue reading

Being Malleable

Malleability and Adaptive Leadership

While it is a very long time ago, I still remember being in my year 8 science class and first learning about malleable metals (e.g. gold, silver, copper, lead and aluminium) – those metals that can be hammered, pressed or rolled into thin sheets without breaking.  This was around the same time the Periodic Table became my friend as I learnt a “song” to help me to remember all the elements.  (As an aside, a cute modern day version of a song can be found on YouTube)

Since that time I have always been attracted to the word malleable (particularly now that I can spell it).  This interest further peaked as I moved into leadership roles combined with the discoveries in neuroscience (the study of the nervous system and the brain).  Neuroplasticity is the term used when referring to the malleability of the brain. Neuroscience has proved that it is possible to change the way we behave with the motivation and support – due to the brain’s malleability.

Continue reading

Belief really can make a difference!

Creating a Culture of Belief in the Workplace

What a treat for our sporting nation – the two key codes of football celebrating grand final wins with the underdogs getting up on both occasions. Having grown up with an almost obsessive love for AFL, I am absolutely delighted that the Western Bulldogs are the 2016 premiers (even though I am a passionate and long-suffering Carlton supporter)!

How does a team come from 7th on the ladder to win the flag? How do they overcome a 62-year premiership drought? How do they manage to play as a high performing team week after week even though their beloved and highly skilled captain was injured early in the 2016 season?

My observation – they believed they could do it. They were 100% focused on the outcome, they had a shared goal, a goal which was largely shared by the entire western suburban population of Melbourne.

So often we use sporting analogies in the business world; it seems apt, in a sporting team everyone must know their role, commit to maintaining and building their skills, always be there to play their role in the game, recognise the strengths of others and provide opportunities for them to be optimised, operate selflessly, communicate continually, reflect on performance and opportunities for improvements and always remain focused on the goal, in this instance the premiership.

While the analogy works we are rarely treated to leadership and teamwork such as that demonstrated by high performing sporting teams. There is no doubt that the busy changing world we operate in creates challenges for teams to remain aligned or high performing, but surely they should never lose sight of the goal?

If we believe in what we do, why we do it and our role in it, then regardless of the rapidly changing environment we are faced with, alignment, high performance and ultimately achieving the goal is more likely.

How do you create ‘belief’ in the workplace?

  1. Share the ‘why’ – ensure every person knows why the business, service or team exists; it builds engagement, ownership and belief, it creates the story which employees can place themselves in
  2. Be clear on roles so each person knows how they can contribute to the goal
  3. Keep everyone informed, celebrate successes and share learnings from mistakes
  4. Encourage ideas from all parts of the business, listen, consider and give feedback
  5. Invest in skills and behaviours of your team so they are equipped to achieve the goal
  6. Recognise that leadership can emerge from anywhere at any time, encourage it!

The ecstasy of the Western Bulldogs win will easily carry them through the off-season while they enjoy a well-earned break. But first, they will take a deep breath, they will celebrate, they will reflect on their role in this momentous event and they will demonstrate thanks to every supporter who shared in their belief that anything is possible!

Nine Habits to Embrace Ambiguity

Recently Change2020 launched the Embrace ambiguity movement. This movement is about firstly acknowledging where your tolerance of ambiguity sits and then taking action to Embrace ambiguity – both at home and at work.

At Change2020, we believe that Embracing ambiguity is imperative if you are to remain relevant as a leader.  Research also identifies that “leaders who are comfortable with uncertainty and competent under ambiguous conditions might very well provide a competitive advantage to organisations”[1].

So, if relevancy and having a competitive advantage are important to you, is it time to jump on board and join the Embrace ambiguity movement.

Joining the movement is simple, the first step is to complete our survey by clicking here to determine your tolerance of ambiguity.

We have developed nine habits that will assist you to Embrace ambiguity.

These are:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Take the reins
  3. Focus on what matters
  4. Rewire expectations
  5. Hatch butterfly moments
  6. Open the floodgates
  7. Challenge idea killers
  8. Be courageous
  9. Let go and move on

Over the next nine weeks will be releasing a blog on each of these habits. Watch out for these to build your tolerance to Embrace ambiguity.

[1] White, R.P. and Shullman, S.L., Acceptance of Uncertainty as an Indicator of Effective Leadership, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 2010, Vol 62, No 2, 94 – 104


Wasted Talent and Lost Opportunity

Wasted Talent and Lost Opportunity – The Simple Acts of Employee Engagement

One of the great aspects of my role is the opportunity to meet potential new Change2020 consultants. Each one brings their own unique story with a wonderful mix of skills; it is always inspiring to meet these people and learn about their career, values, and motivations. Why people choose to work in change management often comes down to real passion for helping organisations do the right thing, natural curiosity and, often, the desire to reignite their creative spark and do something outside of a traditional employment situation. Creativity is an important component to a change professional’s skillset and is often expressed as the ability to adapt technical expertise into the language of an organisational culture in order to break down barriers and deliver outcomes. However, creativity and curiosity are also important skills to embed into an organisation’s culture and leadership; and this is often a missed opportunity.

So last week I was struck by a comment from a colleague that joining our team had been like “having her brain switched back on”. Why, I wondered? Because suggestions for improvement and using initiative were welcome and appreciated, and that she was therefore motivated to continually think of new ideas and suggestions without fear of being knocked back without due consideration. Referencing that in a past role her suggestions for improvement had been continuously knocked back, she had eventually shut down, got on with the prescriptive requirements for the job and ultimately resigned. The contrast was clear – and troubling. In a position to see how much value this person contributes to our business, here was a moment of clarity illuminating some of the hidden and arguably more substantial costs to an organisation when they lose good employees. Perhaps this anecdote is one that you too have heard, possibly many times. Or does this scenario apply to you too?

Employee Engagement and an Organisation’s Need for New Perspectives

Albert Einstein once said that “you cannot solve the problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Organisations need new perspective and thinking to help solve problems and to find incremental opportunities for change that help to improve a business. This is creativity driven through skill sets and active employee engagement, and is key to unlocking innovation in an environment of ongoing change and ambiguity. Discussions like the one outlined above remind me that there is so much wasted opportunity for making time to listen to suggestions and ideas from committed, motivated people. Emotional engagement and personal mastery really are the cornerstone of retaining talent, money is only ever part of the equation.

Whilst this is bit of a personal rant, I thought it was timely to share because personal development is a wonderful thing and to see eyes being opened, brains being switched back on and real problem solving take place is a truly satisfying outcome. It’s simple acts that help to stimulate this, emotional connection and a sense of personal self-worth at the end of the day. Innovation comes through people and needs to be encouraged through active listening, broad-ranging engagement and attentive leadership. Einstein also said that “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. What a great aspiration for our future workforce.

Did Charles Handy have a crystal ball?

In May 2001 I had the good fortune of attending a well-known conference within the UK HR industry on board the Oriana. This event is an annual tradition and held on the ship for three days during which time delegates are able to attend a variety of discussions on emerging people issues and, of course, network like machines with an assortment of suppliers, peers and organisations represented.

That year the keynote speaker for the conference was Charles Handy, a great thought leader who, with Irish wit and charm, did not disappoint in the clarity of his view points or challenging the status quo. I got to meet him briefly with this wife Elizabeth as they had chosen to remain on board for an additional three days of the conference (other speakers had scurried off before setting sail on Friday night).

Handy introduced a rapt audience to his latest book at that time, The Elephant and the Flea, which proclaimed the rise of ‘fleas’ – or individuals who would work independently, flexibly and creatively across a number of organisations in their career – versus ‘elephants’ who remained stable in their careers working for a large corporation. Amongst the many ideas that he puts forward in the book Handy identified four key challenges for organisations over the coming 20 years:

  1. how to grow bigger, but remain small and personal;
  2. how to combine creativity with efficiency;
  3. how to be prosperous but socially acceptable; and
  4. how to reward both the owners of the ideas as well as the owners of the company.

Fast forward to 2016. Bombarded with the rising impact of the freelance economy, numerous reports on the future of work – including one from the World Economic Forum – the rapid acceleration of technological and social change and the words of Charles Handy are once again ringing in my ear.

We have been talking a lot about the future of work in the Change2020 hub, particularly as we pursue our vision to Embrace Ambiguity. Today we live in a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous – and the pace of change is relentless and rapid. It requires news ways of thinking and a new mindset to gain competitive advantage and deliver impactful leadership. Moreover, the greater connection between people and organisations is changing the language of work and the expectations of the customer or client. It’s entrepreneurial meets big business in the face of massive disruption. Charles Handy was both right and way ahead of his time.

However, the most humbling recollection of hearing and meeting Charles Handy at the HR Forum is not only the relevance of his words but the timing of them. In May 2001 the world was breathtakingly different. There had been no 9/11, 7/7, Lehman Brothers collapse, technological revolution, GFC or Facebook (or any other social media) to accelerate the pace of change as all of these events have. A few short months later and we were staring at our TV screens (no tablets then people) for days – in my case at our local in London – as we grimly watched the events of 9/11 unfold.

Putting this into perspective for me in 2016 reminds me of three things: how far we have come, how far we have to go and how embracing new ways of thinking – and views about this issue – is going to be the key to building a sustainable future in business and as leaders.