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June 2017
Monthly Newsletter!
Welcome to the Psynapse Monthly newsletter. This month, we share an inclusion journey from one of our clients, Kirsten explores how to maximise leaders’ capacity for change post training, and we outline how to get started on building a base for your inclusive leadership work.
Dr Jennifer Whelan
Managing Director
Inclusion Journey
In 2016, we began our partnership with Medibank to further develop and embed inclusive leadership capability amid a phase of organisational change.

Medibank’s goals were threefold. First, the program was designed to engage their leaders around why inclusion truly matters to the success of the organisation in meeting the needs of their diverse customers. Second, the program was designed to create a common understanding and language around unconscious biases and the impacts they can have on everyday decision-making. Finally, Medibank wanted to arm leaders with a toolkit of strategies and behaviours they could apply in the workplace immediately, ensuring that they captured the value of every voice seated around the table.

Some insights on engagement were a useful starting point, and using this data, we were able to highlight how people from different demographic groups experience Medibank’s culture. There were opportunities to strengthen the feeling of inclusion for all employees.

Reaching across senior executives to mid-level leaders, we embarked on an exploration of how inclusion works, why it drives performance, and why it can be challenging. Leaders reflected on their own personal unconscious biases using our assessment tool, and developed a set of strategies and personal commitments to developing a more inclusive leadership style and culture at Medibank. Leaders shared some moving personal experiences, and discovered the power of difference in creating a more engaging and inclusive workplace.

To give voice to some of these personal experiences, Medibank crafted an impactful video, Click Here To View sharing their people’s inclusion stories. Incorporating this in our workshops was a powerful way to personalise the importance of inclusion for leaders and enabled an effective internal campaign to broaden the impact of their development.

In choosing Psynapse to partner on this program of work, Gemma Allen (Head of Organisational Development) commented that “Jennifer is by far the most trusted expert in unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, her knowledge of the research is encyclopedic, and she is able to draw on this to provide case-studies that are relevant to situations our leaders experience, in the delivery of the program. Psynapse was flexible enough to ensure the sessions were interactive, driven by participants, and focused on turning learning into real life action. We also had the flexibility to co-facilitate sessions and incorporate Medibank’s context throughout the content”.

Nigel Davis (Organisational Development Partner) has observed some exciting changes following the sessions. “Almost immediately, the tone of the conversation around diversity and inclusion at Medibank changed - our leaders finally had their “Aha!” moment around what inclusion means, and why it is so powerful. The sessions have not only impacted the ways teams operate, but also how the organisation is able to collaborate across functional boundaries. Importantly, our internal engagement survey showed significant changes in the experience of inclusion at Medibank since we started to deliver the program. Employees feel senior leaders are more supportive of D&I, greater contact between senior leaders and employees, greater involvement in decisions that impact their work, sufficient authority to do their jobs well, and safety to speak up about potential issues and problems.”

The impact of inclusive leadership training has been impressive. Combined with effective campaigns targeting flexible work and flexible dress, engagement has improved markedly, particularly among key diverse groups. The conversation about the value of inclusion is well and truly buzzing, and we’re proud to have played a part in empowering leaders to continue the journey. Medibank is now exploring ways to expand the program, and embed the learning across all employees.

Enabling Lasting Change
As we approach the end of the financial year here in Australia, I wonder how many of us are still on track with our New Year’s resolutions? Indeed, can we even remember them if we had them? A surprising number of us take a run at making change in our lives and we tend to fall by the wayside, even when the reasons to make change are compelling. As challenging as making change is in our personal lives; it is also difficult at work. Despite the best of intentions, change is hard, and making change stick is even harder.

In their book, “Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization” Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey make the point that failure to make lasting change is not simply due to a lack of effort or lack of willpower. Rather the challenges we face stem from defence mechanisms that keep us safe from the discomfort and ambiguity that often comes with embracing new ways of being. These defences create an “immunity to change” that acts as an obstacle, not just personally, but also for teams and organisations. Kegan and Lahey have developed a powerful process to help individuals and teams identify their immunities and overcome their defence mechanisms to achieve lasting transformation.

Doing the work to uncover your, your team’s and/or your organisation’s immunity is a powerful way to ensure lasting and sustainable change, especially when leaders are faced with heightened ambiguity and uncertainty. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how we can help your leaders make change stick.
Beyond Bias: Getting Started with Inclusive Leadership
A culture of inclusion actively seeks and values the full contribution of diverse people, skills, perspectives, and experiences. It drives business performance because it grows an organisation’s collective intelligence; diverse, inclusive teams are smarter. As a result, establishing inclusion as a cultural and leadership norm is critical to unlocking the business performance benefits of diversity.

Psynapse’s “Beyond Bias” workshop programs provide leaders with the conceptual understanding, personal awareness, and practical skills required to unlock greater value from diverse people.

Through workshop programs and personal unconscious assessment, we introduce participants to key inclusion dynamics, provide them with personal insight into their biases and assumptions, and teach a playbook of strategies that leaders can use to develop a more inclusive leadership style.

When combined with Psynapse’s e-learning curriculum, this consistent approach across senior leaders and individual contributors ensures that inclusive leadership and unconscious bias awareness becomes embedded as organisational cultural norms. This means that diversity and inclusion objectives are aligned with your organisation's core business and innovation strategies. Contact us to learn more about our “Beyond Bias” programs.
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.

The Real Reason People Won’t Change: Every manager is familiar with the employee who just won’t change. Sometimes it’s easy to see why—the employee fears a shift in power, the need to learn new skills, the stress of having to join a new team. In other cases, such resistance is far more puzzling. An employee has the skills and smarts to make a change with ease, has shown a deep commitment to the company, genuinely supports the change—and yet, inexplicably, does nothing. Click Here to read the full article.

Does Cognitive Diversity Promotes Faster Problem-Solving? Someone being from a different culture or of a different generation gives no clue as to how that person might process information, engage with, or respond to change. We cannot easily detect cognitive diversity from the outside. It cannot be predicted or easily orchestrated. The very fact that it is an internal difference requires us to work hard to surface it and harness the benefits. Click Here to read the full article.

Why Pretending You Don’t See Race or Gender Is an Obstacle to Equality: When Christy Johnson was pregnant and working as a vice president at a tech company, a manager made some sexist comments to her. When she confronted him, he hid behind what he thought was a bulletproof shield: As the father of two daughters, he didn’t even see gender, he said. He was “gender-blind.” “I felt dismissed,” Johnson told me. 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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