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Cricket Wellington – A catalyst for positive change
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Cricket Wellington – A catalyst for positive change

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The challenge: Rebuild a high performing culture

Cricket Wellington's mission is to create outstanding experiences for the people of Wellington to grow the game of cricket, ensuring it’s a Wellingtonian pastime for life.

A new CEO came on board during a challenging period of change, which included a restructure. The team was searching for a way forward, displaying low satisfaction and engagement levels. This showed up in declining Net Advocate scores on the organisation’s Let’s Talk employee engagement platform.


Cricket Wellington’s goals

"We strive to be the most committed, passionate and customer focussed regional sports organisation in New Zealand. A positive team culture with high levels of employee engagement is critical to us delivering our aspiration." – Cam Mitchell, CEO, Cricket Wellington

Cricket Wellington has a strategic goal of organisational excellence – a high performing culture adding value to its community. The CEO’s mandate was to reconnect the team with its mission through building trust, increasing engagement, and supporting individual development.

Net Advocate scores on the Let’s Talk platform would be a partial measure of success. More broadly, if the CEO could help grow the team, they, in turn, in turn would help grow the game of cricket. This crucial link between internal culture and outward performance was understood and embraced by Cricket Wellington’s leaders.

Working with the Emotional Culture Deck

“The thing I love the most about using the decks with our team is that it provides a deep insight into the key emotional drivers for staff (positive and negative). This understanding of self and others supports the creation of an environment that is people focussed, and driving better external outcomes for the people of Wellington”. - Chris Nevin, Pathways Manager, Cricket Wellington

riders&elephants worked with Cricket Wellington for 12 months, using the Emotional Culture Deck as a tool for ongoing structured conversations across the organisation.

Individual conversations were shaped by what people want to feel and not feel at work, and establishing ways to support this.

Team conversations built on the individual, with everyone working together to define Cricket Wellington’s desired emotional culture and what it should look and feel like. Collective behaviour and rituals were identified, agreed, and committed to.

By running the 9-month programme we supported a consistent focus on building the desired high-performance culture, with ongoing conversations and followup that ensured the process was more than a ‘set and forget’ or superficial team away day exercise.

Results: Team culture becomes a strength

  • Cricket Wellington’s Net Advocate score has steadily improved on their Let’s Talk employee engagement platform, now sitting within the ‘very good’ range, indicating high employee satisfaction and engagement

  • Team members report that they’re working better together with open communication, high levels of trust and accountability

  • Culture has become a strength, with a shift in focus from managing change towards how to best support each other and deliver on Cricket Wellington’s mission.

Connecting people through change

Ten months on from the Emotional Culture Deck programme, the Cricket Wellington team are more focused and determined than ever.

Change can be disruptive, and ongoing uncertainty is a challenge for any organisation. But when you bring people together through change and support them in connecting on an emotional level, this empowers them to actively create the emotional culture they want rather than falling victim. Simple tools like the Emotional Culture Deck, applied smartly and consistently over time, help catalyse this. The resulting high levels of trust, open communication, and accountability can drive strong performance improvements and organisational outcomes.  

"Thanks for this and for everything you’ve done for us over the past nearly 12 months. Hands down the best “culture” sessions I’ve ever been involved in. Great stuff." - Cricket Wellington staff member