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Newly formed MBIE Leadership Team

We recently heard from Simon Thomas, who shared how he and his newly formed leadership team used The Emotional Culture Deck as part of the establishment of their team at New Zealand public service department Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). 

Here's what Simon had to say:

"MBIE's Building System Assurance team is undergoing a huge change. We’re significantly increasing in size, whilst we build new systems and processes to carry out our work more effectively.  

To do this we need to build a culture for the team that enables the changes we’re striving to embed.

The ECD appealed as a fun and engaging way to figure out what we want our culture to start to look and feel like. We recognise this is a long-term exercise but we needed to start somewhere. 

As a team, we were drawn to the simplicity of the game. As well as the good things I had heard about it. But what appealed the most was how different this way is of approaching an age-old problem. 

It lived up to everything I had heard. 

My biggest fear before the workshops was that people would not engage in the exercise. Talking about feelings does not sit comfortably with a lot of people and this was going to force them to do that. And once we shifted to the remote workshops, virtually via Zoom due to Covid-19, I was worried about the added risk of not being face-to-face to address it. 

But my fears were quickly erased. I was positively surprised at how easily people engaged with it, how simple it really is and how effective it is about getting you to think about how you feel and how you want to feel when at work. And this all being done virtually as well. 

In the week following our series of ECD Leadership workshops, we used the ECD at two team meetings to let each other know how we are feeling and how we don't want to feel for that day or week.  

Some of this has been unprompted by me as the leader as well, the team has wanted to do the exercise. There is really good enthusiasm for carrying on with further sessions and revisiting regularly what we have discovered so far. 

It was genuinely fun using The Emotional Culture Deck with our newly formed leadership team. I learned lots about my leaders in our team, and I know they learned lots about each other. It created a great sense of connection between our team. Our next challenge is to roll this out with our entire team."

– Simon Thomas, National Manager at MBIE Building System Assurance