New Change2020 Associate Kieran Plasto, Driving positive change through mediation and investigation

Change2020 warmly welcomes our newest Senior Associate Kieran Plasto. Kieran an oft quoter of Ernest Hemmingway and with one of the most interesting career histories, joins the Change2020 team to assist our clients tackle mediation and investigation challenges.

Kieran brings an astonishing professional history of investigative experience that includes a 12-year career in criminal investigation with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), a Counter Terrorist qualified Negotiator, plus high-level strategic HR mediations and dispute resolutions for many publicly listed companies.

In workplace investigations, Kieran does not come from a place of blaming, fault-finding and then forgetting – for him investigating is all about repairing, reframing and rebuilding – using the process to learn, grow and create positive change for individuals and for organisations. Investigations are not binary, identifying good and bad, assigning perpetrators and victims, and then seeking some sort of retribution against the “guilty” party. Part of Kieran’s approach is to look beyond why the event or incident happened, and spend time to assess what was in play to allow it to happen.

Too often investigators focus solely on the immediate issue at hand. Investigators need to understand the whole negative backdrop that is at play with potential individuals making complaints, individuals being investigated, corporate distress and the cloud that is hovering over the process. While investigation and resolution is the immediate assignment, real growth and opportunity for individuals and organisations come from the learnings and outcomes.

Despite a multi decade career centred on human interaction, Kieran is still surprised how quickly professional and personal relationships can deteriorate and workplace cultures become toxic – so much so that third-party intervention is required. Here Kieran quotes his literary mentor, Ernest Hemmingway to highlight that these situations rarely occur unexpectedly, with the famous quote from The Sun Also Rises, “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” 

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” 

Ernest Hemmingway , The Sun Also Rises

Since finishing his career with the QPS in 2007, he has investigated every type of workplace investigation from internal whistle-blower allegations, Code of Conduct breaches through to workplace injuries and fatalities. He has previously been retained by legal firms to review investigations and has written Incident Investigation Guidelines and procedures for a Global Mining Company that have been adopted worldwide. Kieran then went onto train investigators in this process around the world.

 Kieran’s investigative work history also includes assisting with complex mediation in workers compensation cases plus assisting employees and managers get back to work post investigations or lengthy periods away from the workplace.

Kieran’s investigations are conducted to resolve issues as efficiently as possible as he is well aware of the potential ‘cost’ of investigations that arise through increased sick leave, workers compensation, risk of litigation and general disruptions of operations.

He also brings qualifications that include a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours from the University of Queensland, and completion of the Executive Education Programme on Negotiation and Strategic Decision Making, from Harvard University and is currently completing a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Management

As a both an Investigator and Nationally Accredited Mediator he has a clear focus on helping client’s deliver required business outcomes when conflicts get to the point whereby team harmony and success are adversely impacted. His sense and understanding of human conflict and relationships is highly regarded by clients across the public and private sectors within Australia and overseas.

Results-driven, he takes a pragmatic approach, ideally through early intervention as a key conflict resolution strategy with a tailored blend of best practice techniques that carefully balances the ‘scientific with the intuitive’ to deliver the best outcomes.

We are excited for Kieran to join our ranks and further broaden our expertise and experience across many industry sectors.