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April 2017
Monthly Newsletter!
Welcome to the Psynapse Monthly newsletter. This month sees us introducing a new member of the Psynapse team. We explore the art of behaviour-based habit change, consider the impact of bias in a range of decision-making and problem-solving moments, and discuss the impact of visualising ideas in a recent senior leadership workshop.
Dr Jennifer Whelan
Managing Director
Can We Change The Habits
Of A Lifetime?
Habits are notoriously hard to shift, whether they be lifestyle habits, or simple, routines and reactions relating to our day to day work. Despite all the will in the world, and a kitbag of tools and strategies, we often find ourselves slipping back to our default mode. At the same time, now more than ever, change is the only constant in the world of work, and old habits can get in the way of change.

One of the reasons habits can be hard to change is that they have become automatic. Repetition enables us to automate our thinking. When this happens, these automated mental processes become unconscious, and highly efficient. In fact we often talk about unconscious bias as a troublesome type of mental habit. While it makes sense to automate something we do often, when we need to change or adapt, old habits die very hard.

So the task of changing our habits is tricky, but since repetition is central to how our habits form in the first place, it is also key to changing them. This approach to habit change is called micro-habit change, or behavior-based habit change. We use micro-habit change in our work with leaders on inclusion – small changes that we can practice regularly to create a new normal, faster. There are three steps to changing our habitual behaviours.

  • Disrupt. The first is to disrupt the current habit, so we become aware of it when it happens, and we create a small window of opportunity to resist acting on it. Mindfulness can be a powerful tool to improve our “in the moment” awareness so we can catch these habits as they arise.
  • Break It Down. The second step is to identify small changes that you can practice repeatedly. Break the change down into small actions you can repeat often. The more you can repeat the behaviour the quicker the new habit becomes automated. For example, if you’d like to make inclusive meetings a habit, start by making sure every person in the room has a chance to contribute.
  • Triggers. Finally, use your environment to help trigger the new behaviours you’re trying to automate. To use our previous example, take a list of all of the meeting attendees, and tick them off as they participate. Having the list acts as a trigger for the new behaviour.
We Welcome A New
Member To The Team
We’re thrilled to welcome Kirsten Brown to our team as a Principal Consultant. Kirsten brings a wealth of leadership development, culture, and change expertise in a broad range of industries. Nearly 2 decades into her career, Kirsten is recognised as a skilled and experienced organisational development leader who brings intelligent practice to the business of learning and change. Her areas of expertise include: leadership development, culture and engagement, change leadership, organisational development, and team development.

Kirsten’s trademark style balances pragmatism and a keen appreciation of business imperatives with a creative and innovative approach guaranteed to engage and challenge. She has worked with businesses across 4 continents in disciplines as diverse as telecommunications, environmental engineering, finance and health, across the private, government and not for profit sectors.

She has accreditation and experience in Human Synergistics: OCI/OEI/LSI, Human Centred Design, ACT FSL and Trained Mediator (LEADR). When she’s not working, Kirsten likes to jump on a plane with her husband to visit new places, walk new paths and see new sights. Welcome to the team Kirsten!
Bias In Decision-Making And Problem-Solving
If you work in the diversity and inclusion arena, you’ll be very familiar with the role of unconscious bias in people processes. My first exposure to the concept of bias, however, was not in the domain of diversity and inclusion at all, but as a more general obstacle to the way we think, make decisions, and solve problems.

There are few aspects of business performance that don’t rest on the quality of decision-making and problem-solving. Understanding and how cognitive biases impact daily decisions can risk-proof your business and drive sound decision-making. More importantly, because our biases act to simplify and routinise our thinking, overcoming them can be a powerful driver of agility, innovation, and competitiveness. In a world where change is the only constant, the ability to think outside ingrained patterns is crucial.

If you’d like to explore how you can improve decision-quality and problem-solving in your teams, click the link below to read about some common cognitive biases that compromise decision-making.
Keeping Conversation
And Themes Alive
We recently had the opportunity to bring the power of graphic recording to a workshop with the leadership team at Redbubble. Given the creative work that Redbubble does, we wanted to make sure we captured the magic as the team explored how diversity and inclusion can come to life at Redbubble. Artist and graphic recorder Sarah Firth of Sarah the Firth Creative Services joined us on the journey and captured the team’s energy and enthusiasm in a truly memorable way, not just documenting the key ideas, but leaving the team with an inspiring way to keep the conversation alive after the session. Check out some of Sarah’s fabulous images.
Diversity And Inclusion
We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Psynapse Education, our online learning platform. E-learning is a powerful way to scale inclusion across your organisation, from senior leaders through to individual contributors.

While online learning is increasingly common, it's effectiveness relies on it resonating with your people and their work experiences. Our online programs are unique. Our content is expertly designed, evidence-based, and practical. We combine rich media, animations, learning checks, and scenario-based activities to ensure that learners are engaged and inspired.

Most importantly, our courses are customised for your learners, from the ground up. Examples and scenarios are developed from your learners’ daily context, and learning activities are tailored to your objectives.

Courses can be created to provide a comprehensive one-off learning experience, or to engage learners in an in-depth and incremental learning process over time. We can also craft short bite-sized episodes that highlight particular organisational goals.

To learn about how Psynapse Education can help you embed inclusion in your organisation’s DNA, have a look at the video above or contact us for more information.
Diversity & Inclusion
News Roundup
Here’s a quick a round up of articles that caught our eye this month.

Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion: Leaders have long recognised that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge in terms of selling products or services to diverse end users. Yet a stark gap persists between recognizing the leadership behaviors that unlock this capability and actually practicing them. Click Here to read the full article.

The Link Between Mindfulness and Inclusion: A couple of years ago I was invited to facilitate an offsite training for the diversity committee of a Fortune 500 company. In an era in which “diversity” has become a buzzword in the business world, the firm’s interest in the topic was both admirable and understandable. Research shows that having an inclusive and diverse workforce is associated with creativity and innovation, and exposure to racial diversity has been linked to greater problem-solving skills and expanded perspective. The diversity committee, which had been meeting for about six months, seemed interested in trying something new. I was told that they invited me to lead the session precisely because I wasn’t a “diversity trainer.” Click Here to read the full article.

Companies With Diverse Boards Grow Faster: Companies with females on their boards have achieved higher revenue growth, profitability and shareholder returns than those without, a new report by accounting firm KPMG shows. Click Here to read the full article.
Unconscious Bias Assessment
Personal assessments of unconscious bias, inclusive leadership skills, and thinking style.
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Call us. 0413. 958. 528
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