Engage with staff or die!

Okay, maybe not die…but your work life certainly won’t be healthy.

It’s the start of the “engagement survey” season and, judging by the calls from a number of Changeability clients, this year looks like producing a bumper crop. We are often invited to run focus groups to really ‘get behind the numbers’, especially with teams reporting particularly low or unexpected scores.

One or two far-sighted organisations actually request workshops for teams who display very high engagement scores. If anything, it’s more important to understand what works well in order to replicate it widely.

There are various definitions of engagement but suffice to say it’s recognised as important because engaged employees SAY good things about working at an organisation, they plan to STAY there and they STRIVE to give extra effort.

Major change invariably has a negative impact on engagement, at least initially, but there are approaches change leaders can use to minimise the blow, engaging with staff right throughout the most challenging of developments.

Changeability specialises in the human side of change and in providing change leaders with support to engage their staff effectively and to deliver faster, smoother and more successful change. Maybe you have business critical change that simply must go well? Maybe you are implementing change that is stuck? Or maybe you just need some essential insight so you can focus your action?

Whatever your current change challenge…you know where we are…

Call Dick on 02102724116 or email him at dick.downing@changeability.co.nz

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Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! A lesson from the UK in how to manage change…badly!

Fundamental lessons for all change leaders came out of the recent UK elections. Regardless of politics or manifesto promises, the ‘campaign’ to bring about change suffered from four key tactical misjudgements:

Beware Opportunism

Sometimes we see an opportunity and we go for it! In this instance it clearly didn’t work. The outcome was the reverse of what Theresa May had intended. She was looking for a big mandate and what she got was anything but! In fact opportunism may have worked against her in another way as it appears that many in the Remain campaign used the opportunity to register their protest against Brexit.

So how carefully had she thought it through? What were the factors that she had considered? And, most importantly, who did she consult in making the decision?

There are clear lessons here around comprehensive planning, wide-ranging and thorough discussions concerning risk and reward. In particular, consult carefully with those who hold different views.

Assess Readiness

Were the UK public ready for yet another vote, following on from the previous election, Brexit and Scottish Independence?

The level of change readiness among key stakeholders is always a crucial factor. Sometimes you will need to work hard on increasing the readiness BEFORE launching into a change initiative. Telling the public categorically that there will be no election is not the ideal way of preparing them for one. Who knew!

If people aren’t ready, and you attempt to push them into change, resistance is the inevitable result. Simply being positive and enthusiastic, expecting others to mirror this is generally not enough!

Who benefits?

When advocating for or proposing change it is important that those affected clearly understand the benefits. How will their life directly improve as a result?

In the UK election, many voters perceived Theresa May setting a course that was more about her own self-interest than any tangible benefits to the people themselves. Narcissistic leaders rarely earn respect or loyalty, often finding it difficult to bring others on the journey.

Visible and Authentic

We found it interesting to observe May’s approach to the live leader debates. Not being prepared to engage with her opponents left her open to a range of negative perceptions. As well as avoiding public debate with opposition leaders, she was regularly observed avoiding interviewer questions and was even reported as limiting the number of opportunities to get out and meet people. This inevitably left voters with less than complete trust in her and her leadership. This was further compounded when contrasted with Corbyn’s open, honest and somewhat engaging approach.

So to summarise……….

Given another chance Theresa, we suggest you plan better, front up, join the debate, answer questions directly and get real! To be a successful change leader, visibility and authenticity are two things that are non-negotiable!

May any change campaign that you are leading go significantly better…

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Cycling for MINDSETS!

Changeability, as a social enterprise, channels some of the profits from their consultancy services into the MINDSETS programme. MINDSETS is a school based youth resilience programme for students in years 12 and 13, helping them develop skills to more effectively manage the challenges in their daily lives.

Guy Worsley from Rothbury Insurance Brokers loved the story of how through buying consultancy services from Changeability; businesses were helping to make a positive difference in the lives of young New Zealanders. So, he decided to help out, by convincing a team of his courageous colleagues to cycle from Wellington to Auckland to raise money for MINDSETS!

Over one week and more than 600kms, the Rothbury team traversed the Rimutakas, battled wind and rain in Palmerston North, experienced clear skies and steep hills in Ohakune and finally cruised into Auckland exhausted and triumphant.

The money raised by the Rothbury team helped fund a MINDSETS programme at Southern Cross Campus College in Mangere, a low decile school that particularly values the course.

From the team at Changeability to the team at Rothbury Insurance Brokers, thank you for lending your legs to support MINDSETS!


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Thank You For Supporting Youth Resilience


There is a classic scene in Martin Scorsese’s film Casino where the camera carefully follows the money on its intricate journey from Las Vegas to the Mafia in Kansas. Three minutes and fifty-one seconds of iconic cinema.

At Changeability, the money follows a much simpler journey to a less dramatic but altogether more deserving purpose. All profits are channeled into a youth resilience programme called MINDSETS.

MINDSETS is schools based, two hours a week for seven weeks with small groups from Years 12 or 13. Learnings are cemented through facilitated activities, discussions and peer reviews, giving individuals enough space to take their time and form new, positive and lasting, mindful habits.

Developed from up-to-date research into world-wide resiliency models, MINDSETS was further refined by our own psychologists, co-designed with students and youth professionals and tested in a rigorous three year pilot at various Auckland schools.

Independently evaluated results have been extremely promising against a continual backdrop of research and events that urgently highlight the real need for such a vital programme. It’s now ready to scale up and last month we proudly celebrated the graduation of ten new MINDSETS facilitators, all ready and raring to help young people manage life’s daily stresses and challenges, and juggle the competing demands from friends, family, relationships and school.

Speaking at the end of the training, Dick Downing Changeability Manager said, “I love the fact that local businesses that buy Changeability consultancy services are, in doing so, helping to make a huge positive difference for young people in New Zealand.”

Both Changeability and MINDSETS are social enterprises established by Connect Supporting Recovery Inc., a New Zealand NGO in the health sector. If you would like to find out more about MINDSETS, contact Mini Prasad at mini.prasad@connectsr.org.nz .

Mindsets Team and Coaches Small

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Another new face at Changeability!

As we start another exciting year we are absolutely delighted to introduce a new colleague Mini Prasad. Mini has taken over our business development from Ian Mathieson who left just prior to Christmas after doing a great job for us. Mini combines a sharp business mind with a warm social heart and is sure to have a huge positive impact on everything we do! Read her profile here

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