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Westpac New Zealand adopt The Emotional Culture Deck
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Westpac New Zealand adopt The Emotional Culture Deck

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An interview with Derri Evans, Scrum Master, Westpac New Zealand Community of Practice Scrum Master

"The results have been incredible. I have managed to help my squads improve their productivity and a more high performing and connected team... We have been able to create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work and have an awesome day every day – which in turn has increased our productivity. Simple!" – Derri Evans

We interviewed Derri Evans, Scrum Master at Westpac New Zealand, who is one of the leaders behind the adoption of The Emotional Culture Deck at Westpac New Zealand. 

This is what Derri had to say about The Emotional Culture Deck, why she's using it, and what she's hoping she will be able to achieve by injecting the deck into Westpac New Zealand Squads.

So Derri, what did you want to achieve with your squads?

In my role as a Scrum Master, I find too many people are afraid to share their feelings and ask each other if they are OK. I think that it is key to the culture. I’m trying to create a place where we bring humanity and empathy into the workplace.

Every day I strive to create a safe environment within the squad. Where all squad members feel cared for and look out for each other. I want us all to be able to identify when someone is not feeling themselves or seems to be acting in an odd behaviour, and they can just feel free to ask each other “are you ok?”

What’s your current obstacle to achieving this goal?

Talking openly and sharing our feelings, fears and motivations is alien to a lot of people. From a young age, people have been told to not talk about their emotions, and especially not bring their emotions into work.

So trying to get people to understand that emotional intelligence is super important in the workplace and that it is OK to share and have empathy for one another is quite a challenge.

Some people are naturally more open than others. But I think the key to a high performing team, is one where empathy and inclusion exist at high levels.

Why did you choose to use the Emotional Culture Deck with your squads at Westpac?

It’s an easy way of getting people to talk about emotions, without needing to think too hard about it. All the feelings are written down for them and they will either have an attachment to a word or not, so it’s easy for them to work with. The deck has easy to follow the step-by-step flow, and it’s easy to understand and run with anyone in any area.

I’ve found it’s especially effective with more introverted people who don’t normally like to talk about these things.

What have the results been so far?

The results have been incredible. I have managed to help my squads improve their productivity and a more high performing and connected team. Using the deck has helped us understand each other’s motivations and desires. We have been able to create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work and have an awesome day every day – which in turn has increased our productivity.  Simple!

What’s next for Westpac and The Emotional Culture Deck?

We’re currently rolling the deck out across every squad in our Westpac Staff Assist business unit. Soon every squad in the unit will have gone through the exercise and worked together to define the emotional culture of their team with their scrum master.

We’re planning on running Summer School workshops where we will help other leaders from across Westpac learn about how the emotional culture of their team influences how their people think and behave. Plus we’ll teach leaders how to use The Emotional Culture Deck with their teams.

It’s exciting to think that more people within Westpac will be having these conversations and I can help inject more empathy into the way we all work. My hope is that one day we will all be having open conversations about our emotional well being at work, which will create an even higher-performing culture.

Keep an eye out for more updates from Derri and Westpac New Zealand as they plan a wider rollout of The Emotional Culture Deck across their Wellington and Auckland offices.