There is no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has been the experience that just never stops giving! Yet another year has gone by that was manipulated, manoeuvred, and messed with by it. Although I do recognize that it was a year that saw vast parts of the world, resign itself to living with the consequences and moving forward with the knowledge of expected responses and acceptance of this way of being. That’s all the space I’m going to give to Covid-19 in this blog, although the consequences no doubt ripple through.

2022 changed the way we work for ever. Although there are a few CEOs currently displaying poor leadership in their demands for everyone back to the office (its not the ask, it’s the poor reasoning behind it!) its safe to say that the place of work will forever be changed. Many organizations have realized its possible to undertake their business remotely, recognized that daily commuting is not a pleasure for many and that rising energy costs can be offset by reducing office space needs. I would say that 2022 has been the year of hybrid working – whatever that means, and its not the same to everyone. I see hybrid as the situation where some folks are in the office and some are at home, but the experience and service offered is exactly the same, irrespective of the location. When organizations talk about offering services online and in person, but its not the same, I prefer to call that blended delivery. I used that term for Toronto Change Days 2022 as we had some stuff online and some in person, complimenting each other, but they were different activities.


I’ve seen lots of references to the word of the year for 2022 and 2023. Hybrid was probably one of the words of 2022 for many people. It was used a lot. What other word came to the forefront in 2022? I think bringing it back into the change space, the word transformation certainly got its mileage in this past year. Its not a new word or an unusual word in the change space but there was a most definitely move to classify everything as transformative in 2022, and actually going into 2023 it is much the same. Now its not that I have an issue with the word – I certainly don’t – but I do have an issue with it being used as a replacement for “hard change”, or “challenging change”, or “big change” or “lots of change” as if it’s a label that appears to allow a get out clause on the difficulties of making the change ahead – “ Oh lets call it a transformation and people will know its big and messy. None of that simple change we’ve all been dealing with easily for decades now!” As if we’ve been dealing with simple change all along! Digital Transformation is not an IT implementation it’s a culture and behaviour shift change, that I strongly recommend not giving to the Chief Technology/Information/Systems Officer – as its success is about adoption of technology not implementation of said tech!

As I personally reflect upon 2022, I have to say that there are 2 words that rose to prominence for me. They are Knowledge and Value. The knowledge piece reflects my continued desire to both gain knowledge from others and share it in equal measure. I have achieved my learning goals in 2022 almost. I completed my indigenous awareness, understanding and collaboration certifications, completed the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) course (practicum pending) and squeezed in my CCMP at the start of January 2022 as health and technology challenges forced it back a few weeks from the end of December. I had intending to do the 12 Days of Deming course too, but time was not cooperative with me for the timing of the discussions. I’m not sure what 2023 will include but I will explore the feasibility of the Deming course, I am seeking opportunities for my AI practicum (reach out if you have an idea) and I am playing with some ideas in my head – details to follow.

Value and values are very emotional words for me. Recognizing the value of what I do and the value to the people who work with and around me is at my heart the greatest motivator to me to do what I do. I’ve truly realised that the currency of my value is not money but impact and affect. The greater the awakening of potential in others (individual or organization) the more I am motivated to keep on doing it. Through the creation of the Capillary Values Wheel this year, I also realized that this same motivation to do the best of others is key to the company and my continued development of it. When I say I am very values driven, then this about alignment with said values for achievement of meaningful goals with others.

I’m nervously excited about 2023. I appreciate everyone I have worked with, facilitated for and shared knowledge to in the past year and those yet to be part of my journey. I look to a great year ahead and opportunities for all.

This summer I finally made the leap to get our Capillary Values created formally. To no longer be an informal, undercurrent of beliefs and principles, we all kind of knew, but to actually be something tangible and real. This was a follow up to my previous declaration in an earlier blog post that we needed to get my act together and stop helping other create strategy etc. when we needed to do so ourselves.

What we wanted to feel – Encouraged, Unique,Connected, Love and Rebellious

We met for the day in early August and of course I used the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) to help in our journey. It was a fascinating realization as we focused on words that meant something to us, the way we are and the way we deliver our offerings. We used the ECD to reflect on the comfort levels of various statements, highlight words we didn’t want, words we really had to have and other pieces of the essence we had to have driven within the core of what we were developing.

Hot coffee dorting through the not so nice feels

This was not an easy journey to undertake. I personally had to let go of a lot more than I maybe let on during the day. Capillary is my child, my baby, my creation and I am strongly bonded to it. However, like any parent, I want it to create its own persona and become its own self determined entity. So I bit tongue and lip and let the conversation flow.

Fine tuning the not so nice values

As the conversation flowed and content began to solidify, we recognized three considerations about the content we were creating.

  1. We didn’t want to create a list. That would indicate different values and confirm a hierarchy of position amongst the values.
  2. Our values would also be our principles. We couldn’t separate them and recognized that it was all together in one train of thought.
  3. We would be reflecting the experience of our audiences and how we would be present for them – its not about us, but about them.

So what did we end up with, I hear you ask. We created a Values wheel as shown below with five statements of behaviour.

The Capillary Values Wheel

The important thing to reflect is that it is a wheel, that is continually turning. All of these are equally important, and we cycle through them all regularly. Sometimes one or two may come to the fore, other times all of them but it is not for us to apply any one as more relevant or more important than another. The audience, client, customer, participant or whoever we connect with, will pull and embrace those elements from us they need at that time.

This year we are seeing a significant amount of conversation around terms like, “the future of work”, “back to the office” and “hybrid working”. Of course, this is all because of the unprecedented impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the way that forced a hard and fast move to working from home for an enormous number of people.

I am now seeing a significant tension in the workforce. A situation where one side is pulling to stay at home forever, and the other side pulling for the return to the way things were before. However, this significant shift, should also reflect upon all those workers in essential services and core workers, who carried on working in their usual space.

An empty office

I’m recognizing that we have a continuum for working space. On one side is the fully remote, working at home situation, at the other end we have fully in the workspace all working hours. The first may be some of the technology development and administrative heavy organizations and the latter being a hospital or retailer. It’s a fascinating spectacle to watch organizations working through the swings of their pendulum between these two extremes and discover their balance point somewhere along this. This takes time and it cannot be a singular decision, in fact for many multifunctional large workforce organizations, it may vary by working division.

Now I’m exploring this topic here, because I’ve noticed something very, very interesting. The use of change management, leadership, and support mechanisms to aid this workplace change, differs from entity to entity. However, I’ve made a discovery, the closer to the centre of this continuum that the workplace is landing the more likely that entity is to be deploying change facilitation and people guidance systems and engagement mechanisms. Its almost like there is a recognition that at the central, fully blended experience, there is a recognized need for the most support. Whereas those closest to either end of the range; a fully at home or fully in the workplace approach, need the least amount of support.

I am impressed with this realization and recognition. I feel that its taken a pandemic and maybe one of the biggest upheaval in the working environment, but at last the value of change management is being recognized for something that isn’t an IT implementation.

A busy office

So, what does this change management activity look like in this central space. The most common word for this space is “hybrid“ but this of itself covers a multitude of experiences. Typically, it covers a variant where both at home and in the workplace, activity takes place with each making up the whole of the expected working commitment. This can range from 2 or 3 days in the office with 2 or 3 days at home each week, with variations that can also include off site visit days, meeting days and collaboration days mixed in for collegial and customer focused interactions. Pulling away to the one side of the spectrum we see the amount of “at the office” reduced to one or two a month in some cases while at the other end of the scale we see those occasional days to work from home are permitted but with a greater expectation of being at work more or less all the time.

Now apart from the obvious cost savings of less footprint space for the lower end of the “in office” group, there are certain elements of leadership and cultural shifts that are evident from this approach. We can see there is greater empowerment, trust and flexibility with the greater level of work at home. Something that confirms a level of agile leadership practice here. Yet the other end of the scale is probably the fight for control and not the mindset I would encourage from a leadership (or bad leadership) role model. I think its indicative of the poor leadership at the controlling end of the scale, that doesn’t recognise the change experience for individuals who have spent the best part of two years at home, being jolted into back to office set ups – they probably need a little support or they will become a statistic of the great resignation, no doubt.

Where does the change management, support and guidance come into play for these workplace changes. Its not actually that different from any good quality support. Work with the individuals to recognize their pain (i.e., fear) points and build strategies to prepare for the new, alleviate the discomfort through the change and guide the adoption of the new – a bit of a William Bridges model to approach, if you want to tie it to something specific. Within these strategies for the journey, recognizing that not everyone will be the same is key and having a flexible space for those who are slower to gain the trust of the new systems set up, and I mean actual space. Some people will make mistakes when they are due inhouse and at home, so if they turn up on the wrong day, let them stay and help them understand. For many large organizations I think this is going to take 6-12 months of support and coaxing to get fully understood and onboard. Learning new protocols for connecting, understanding how to be disciplined to not work 24/7 and take mental health into consideration throughout the experience, is key.

William Bridges Transition Model

Its not going to be easy to embrace the future way of working, but at least we have change enablement mechanisms to support it. I want to leave you with something to ponder as I close… if you think hybrid working is new, think back to the days of the traveling salesman, who was out on the road all day and only dropped into the office for meetings and the like… wasn’t that the pioneer of hybrid working? Oh and there are still large numbers of people who continue that model of working right up to today!

I’ve often had this said to me before people get to know me… “You are very opinionated and challenging, aren’t you?”

But this evolves into some statement, that says something like “I see you are a very values driven person and want to make sure that everything you do aligns with them” – which normally includes some reference to objectivity, fairness, giving space to all voices, non-judgmental and other words which do align with my personal values.

I’ve realised that for me, my motivation for change is often triggered by a need to see my values being realised and nurtured within organizations. To do this there is a strong alignment and recognized need to focus on the culture. This thought pattern has brought me to the conclusion that my currency for success is actually the delivery of my values as demonstrated within the cultural needs, shifts and repositioning I’m so often part of enabling.

Now I’m writing this within the Capillary Blog and I had a moment of horror as I realised, we don’t have a set of values that we operate within as part of our internal cultural dynamic. I will restate that. We don’t have a published set of values for Capillary. I think we all have a known values set when we work with and engage clients, learners and more. These strongly align with my personal values but really, we’ve never written that down and published organizational values. Strange I know!

This sudden moment of clarity, made me dig a little more into the whole values piece. Yes we’ve talked about values, beliefs, principles and more for many years as indicators of the behaviours seen within organizations. My second moment of clarity was actual a moment of confusion. I came up with this quandary… which is more important – publishing values or living values?

Now of course, my immediate instinct went to living the values. However, I reflected that if I don’t have them published anywhere, how will someone know what we hold dear, why we say and act the way we do and all manner of other elements. In fact how would anyone know you are living your values if they don’t know what your values are in the first place. Great, now I need to publish some fancy values piece, get it into the company handbook, publish on the website! This thrills me not, why? How many times have I been engaged with organizations who have some set of seven values (and it so often is seven), that nobody internally knows or understands? I don’t want to fall into that category!

My thought patterns continued to mix and merge until I arrived at a conclusion. Values need to be visible so that you can be held accountable by them and provide transparency to people who need to know where we sit on certain situation. Also, they are of no value (pun intended!) if they are not delivered upon and reflected by all within the organization. In summary, for there to be value in values they have to be seen and embodied by the people in the organization and those the organization serves.

What does this mean for Capillary? Well, I have a task to be undertaken very shortly. A piece of work I’ve done so many times with other organizations I have forgotten my own. We need to have our values clearly defines and fly them high from our flagpole of fairness. I guess that’s going to be published soon!

This has been such a valuable lesson to learn about cultural mindset in organizations – we have a duty to lead by example and demonstrate true leadership in all that we help others do. Now I’m off to audit our own organization!

As we move forward into 2022, we may feel a range of emotions related to the current health and resultant community challenges. I reflected on similar hope at the start of 2021 as I do now. This will be the year when things restart, when engagement is enriched by in person contact and more in person opportunities. I will get to the future aspirations in blog posts in the coming weeks, but for now I’m going to focus on the year that is now behind us.

While navigating the challenges of the pandemic and almost half a year of local lockdown restrictions, I’m very grateful for the progress that’s been made, the continued  both personally and professionally at Capillary.

If you know me well, I have been very transparent that I found the first part of the year emotionally challenging and had to take good care of my health. It was a time of feeling trapped and contained, of churning through the same as before and trying to respond to opportunities as best I could while keeping my energy tried to match. It progressed well through the year until I was able to light the spark and truly embrace a way forward with my usual gusto!  

I am pleased with all the achievements of Capillary in 2021. We started to bring Certified Change Agent Partners on board, and we now have providers in several geographies developing change thinking. I launched the organizational design qualification that I’d worked on over the past year. Developed the CARL model more and looked to present this several times. I’ve also been thrilled that we have been engaged in several meaningful consultations this year, supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts within cultures that need progressing this area.

I’m always enthusiastically sharing my knowledge with anyone who will listen to me and I’ve personally enjoyed speaking at conferences (even if they were virtual). These have followed the theme of CARL in the main and I’m so pleased to have such positive feedback on my virtual delivery approach.

A highlight for me, is the election to the ACMP Board of Directors in September. I am honoured and excited to serve and I currently sit as treasurer for the organization. That follows the successful work leading the formation of ACMP Ontario in the first half of the year and they are strengthening every week that goes by.

Toronto Change Days 2021 was a tremendous success, and everyone involved did an awesome job. Special thanks to all the volunteers, Dani & Giulio for hosting, Michelle, Fede, Kelly, David & Hilton. It was great to see past faced attend again and new faces join and engage with us.

In December, I was feeling very positive about the achievement. I’d delivered my first in person workshops in over 18 months and I’d had traveled internationally, with two trips to the UK for workshop delivery. The Certified Facilitator in Organizational Design (CFOD) was a highlight of delivery at that time and 2022 was looking rosy.

It wouldn’t be a blog post from me without some reference to change. I think I’ve really been able to empathize and feel compassion for folks going through such an amount of disruptive change this year. Its reflective how the lift of anticipated change can so easily be negated when the expectation doesn’t happen. This makes me consider the number of times a promised success doesn’t materialize and the excitement for the next best thing is deflated quickly when things don’t arrive as planned. I will reflect on my hopes and aspirations for the coming year in my next post. I ask you to share how the year was for you? What were your wins and what were discomforts? How did you navigate another year of disruptive change?

  • I am feeling joy.
  • I am feeling encouraged.
  • I am feeling… grateful.

The above three emotions were the result of a short future focused self reflection for me, using the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD). How are you feeling today? How are you really feeling? What emotions are you connecting with today?

I have been on a six-month learning journey and I’m reflection and future spying on the impact of the ECD to me and my approach professionally and personally. I have played the game many times now, with individuals and teams and I’m about to share its approach with a group of individuals who are not a team, but I want to see the ECD and the opportunities for it. As I prepare for this session – and I think there may be more – I thought it would be good to summarize my discoveries.

  1. People confuse their real emotions with those expected of them by others. There is often a belief that people are expected to show a certain emotion in a situation but want to express something else. Consider the challenge of a person who wants to laugh when fearful, or does not want to say how challenged they feel, for fear of belittling by others.
  2. Leadership teams often struggle to understand their organization because they lack the empathy to address the emotions present. This causes disconnects and a challenge to be successfully aligned.
  3. It is equally important to recognize the emotions you readily embrace and the emotions you don’t want to see but know are there. When you look at both sides of the coin, its easier to understand the why and how of the emotional responses.
  4. A focus on emotional responses to a situation, give you the power to accept, manage and direct that situation to a desired outcome. Emotion based action planning can be highly effective.
  5. Emotions are the fuel that energizes the culture of an organization. Culture is driven by the how and why of the relationships within an organization and understanding this network of pushes and pulls are part of the construct of the culture.
  6. Giving space to talk emotions can help build a psychologically safe space where it previously doesn’t exist. When people can talk freely about emotions, in front of others, in collaboration with others, and gently challenge choices with meaningful and respectful dialogue, then they are prepared to move to the more difficult conversations.
  7. Its ok to draw a blank! Sometimes you can’t find the right words to express an emotion and so going with the closest or more resonating can help to fine tune. Sometimes, you just can’t get the right words to express yourself and I’m ok with that.
  8. Never be surprised how much can be achieved in a short time when emotions are in play! I’ve undertaken 60-minute sessions and over half day sessions and found myself always surprised at the pace and amount of discovery happening through the time.

The ECD is an incredibly powerful tool that helps you build a great action plan, canvas or strategy for development of a whole range of areas. The past 6 months have been an amazing journey – great to connect (and reconnect in some cases) with some amazing people who think so cleverly about the human centred situation. I look forward to many more journeys with this little game, and fun times exploring its potential … now to hack the pack!

If you are interested in experiencing the Emotional Culture Deck, see our page here

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

Ever wondered how it would feel if you could box up all your emotions and hide them away? It’s strange how we are driven, led or even coaxed down pathways we wouldn’t normally travel, just because of an emotion? We can decide the excitement of the new is greater than the fear of the unknown.  We move the limits of confidence because of commitment, and we peer into the uncomfortable because of the joy the result may bring.

The Emotional Culture Deck (ECD)

If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I am currently undertaking a deeper exploration of emotions and their role in achieving workplace cultural success. This journey is prompting me to go through a range of different activities with individuals and groups, playing with the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) to discover and develop a range of activities.

I recently undertook one of these ECD workshops with a leadership team at a purpose driven non-profit organization.  They are not a large team, with a variation of skills and experience. I was exploring their leadership capacity and focus for the organization achieving its potential. As I prepared for the workshop I reflected upon recent conversations that had taken place between myself and the executive director. I had undertaken some leadership assessments as part of the bigger professional development journey for them. I was confident that all this insight into the team would make me fully prepared for the few hours we would spend together. I was very wrong!

ECD in Action

When it comes to emotions and discussions about their presence, not even I was prepared for the variation of responses within the group on the day. There were those that leapt at the chance to share while there were those that were a more reserved. Fortunately, I have many years experience in facilitation, and I was able to judge the group dynamic pretty fast, even with this being online. It quickly became apparent that one individual was out of step with the rest of the group and what I first thought was reserve was actually a passive resistance.

Exploring the emotions that leaders lean into and shy away from brings to the surface some interesting observations. There are people willing to sacrifice their own wellbeing for the greater good of their organization. Others, only want what is good for them. These latter people are often square pegs trying to fit in the proverbial round hole. They may lack a certain authenticity and watching their team dynamic is a confirmation of this. Unfortunately, the situation I was in today, showed our passive resistor to be disingenuous and lacking authenticity in supporting the purpose of their organization. A situation that I had to navigate, while still allowing the others to contribute in a safe way.

This was not an easy session, but it was a valuable discussion. The outcome of the experience was that the team discovered they were not the team they thought they were. The follow up required some difficult conversations and the resultant self realization was acceptance of poor fit and eventually a resignation by the misaligned individual.

This was the outcome of playing a card game. Yes, it was an emotional card game but an important one of reflection and candid conversation. The result of the commitment statements I concluded the game with, is a better organization, with a more cohesive and stronger leadership team. I’ll take that as a good result!

If you are interested in experiencing the Emotional Culture Deck, see our page here

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

“Happy Birthday to me!” Yup! Its that time of year once again. As usual I choose this as a moment to reflect on the year that has been and the year yet to come. However, there was a tinge of frustration as this year was another birthday within the confines of Covid induced lockdown measures. I am not going wallow, as even though it wasn’t the celebration I would have liked, it was still a pleasant day.

My thoughts navigated across my pandemic experience. I’ve seen emotions in myself that lifted me and also disappointed me. I have seen others demonstrate almost caricatured alter egos as they wrestle with the bubble to the surface of their inner turmoil. Yet, for all of this I recognize the opportunities that the situation has presented me with and likewise seen others seize.

I’ve always been a learning sponge, and if you’ve read my last blog post, you will know that I’ve been exploring the important of emotions for organizational and individual benefits through the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD). I’m discovering knew and progressive ways to use it and over the past month or so I’ve undertaken several sessions with individuals using the ECD as I rekindle my love affair with its potential.

I undertook a leadership focused emotional exploration with a colleague, viewing the relatively recent leadership position they had taken on. One interesting insight for me came when we recognized that there are multiple layers of leadership engagement present. Leaders in organizations do not lead the same way for everyone and different lenses can reflect differently. Here we discovered disparity between immediate team and broader organization, and it prompted a deeper dive to discover the differences for both audiences’ expectations and emotional engagement. The key discovery of our conversation was to recognize the role of leader of the leadership team needs a nuance of approach compared to the broader group.

I’ve also introduced the ECD tor some individuals who are not leaders, but individual contributors and solopreneurs who kind of lead themselves and are led by others. Without sharing too much personal information, one individual had been on something of a rollercoaster ride of emotional challenges. Fortunately, the activity did not prompt too many dark memories, confusions, or general frustrations. However, the individual recognized how many emotions they choose to ignore, box away and generally avoid coming to the surface and this exercise made them and the moment of light was recognizing the power of owning these emotions was greater than the power of hiding from them.

I’m thrilled these situations brought opportunities of discovery for the individuals, but it also prompted me to do the same. I have been fascinated in the way we work together in a virtual environment yet still carry forward our values, beliefs, and general mindset. Patterns of thought that have been built up over many years outside of a virtual environment easily framing the virtual interactions. It has always been important to me that people find value from interactions that can release their potential. All the above interactions took place remotely, yet I successfully created space for them to discover their opportunities. Eighteen months ago, I would never have considered undertaking an activity like the ECD within a virtual environment. The lack of choice has forced us to adapt and evolve but also be true to ourselves in delivering our desired outcomes of facilitation.

The pandemic has forced us to consider things in new and different ways, whether it’s a birthday celebration, coaching session or client discovery meeting. This in turn has presented opportunities to explore new and different ways. Connecting this to your emotional response mechanism can be a very fruitful activity, to learn and discover yet more opportunities that would otherwise have gone by without exploration.

I leave you with some challenge points to ponder.

  • What have you done anew this past year to realize your potential?
  • What opportunities have you embraced during the pandemic?
  • Has this year heightened your emotions, or challenged you to discover them?
  • Are you a better person today then you were 12 months ago?

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

How are you feeling today? I know we are just celebrating (or commiserating) one year of pandemic, but otherwise what is your mood today? Happy? Sad? Confused? Engaged? Challenged? How present have you been today? How disconnected are you now? Any other words or phrases come to mind to explain your feelings in this moment?

Emotions are funny ole’ things. We have them, we can lean into them, we may use them to our advantage, we express them through our actions, occasionally we shout out that we now own them, but it seems more frequently we hide, cover, stop, or push them aside. Are they good things to have or bad baggage? It does not matter, because you have them irrespective of whether you want them. You can’t choose to not be emotional, at best you can choose to manage the level of visibility or response you generate from them. Some people may be skilled at hiding their emotions, but really, they are just hiding the way the express them to others – it doesn’t mean they don’t exist – psychological conditions excluded.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been playing with emotional responses to change and bringing my somewhat limited experience with the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) into play. I use it as reference in discovering or just identifying what that emotional response is for people going through a change or even just considering it. As I now embark on becoming a pro-facilitator for the ECD I am struck by my own preconceptions, those of others around me and some of the research that prompted the fantastic Jeremy Dean to develop this wonderous thought provoking little deck of cards. These are the Best weight loss pills for women.

I’m first reassured then intrigued to read in the Harvard Business Review article of January 2016 that, “Every organization has an emotional culture, even if it’s one of suppression.” It got me thinking – is emotion just and indicator of the culture or is it the driver that may inform the culture of an organization. Can we use it as an indicator of the organization’s maturity, progressiveness, or approach to employee engagement? If we challenge the referenced statement above to explore an organization of suppressing emotion, I am taken in two differing directions of thought. Is it describing a mindset that encourages emotions to be curtailed, avoided, and prevented or is it more about emotional expressions being held down and kept inside? I make the difference, not because I think either is better than the other, but to reflect upon the consequences of each within organizational culture.

Prevention tactics can cause individuals to associate emotions with wrongdoing, the removal of individuality, and the organization’s desire to have each employee be just a numbered robot in the big machine. It negates the person(ality) for who they are and does not recognize them for any individual strengths they may bring to their work. Effectively everyone becomes everyone else and in so doing nobody is really anybody – apologies for the mind pausing sentence!

Now if the alternate is to bottle up emotions and just not show them, this has a health impact on individuals. The challenge here is that emotional responses are contained, not the emotions themselves. The effects are then turned inward, and the folks can make themselves ill with internal wrestling what they cannot express.

Let us move away from health impacts and robots without emotions and bring a focus on to how these may represent the culture dynamic. Consider your perceptions or expectations of culture. What is a good culture? What is a bad culture? Do we say that a good culture is one that is driven by values and pk

I have worked with too many organizations that shout out about their culture, but it is just a conformist culture, devoid of emotional resonance and focused on task delivery with rewards given for compliant and monochrome response mechanisms. I am choosing to challenge the success of these organizations. The need to address the role of emotions within their entities and the potential evolution of their culture by working with the emotions they find.

I think organizations grow when they embrace the potential of their culture. I feel that cultural potential can only be discovered when emotions are made accessible, recognizable and the commitment is to work with them rather than against. Like all good change, success happens when you do change with people, similarly cultural transformation is successful when you work with emotions of all involved..

©2021 Rich Batchelor for Capillary Consulting Inc.

This is the first in a series of upcoming blogs as I progress through my Emotional Culture Deck pro certification.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

This ever-growing portfolio of transformation needs change professionals to keep adding capabilities to their toolbox, developing deeper intervention practice and broader approaches to engage in these new and exciting spaces. I do not use the word exciting lightly. I think that we are in exciting times for change, but this means that the way many people successfully deliver also needs to evolve.

Are you ready to see what’s outside?

There was a time when the primary focus of change management practice was rooted activities surrounding technology implementations. Times have changed. The focus for change support has broadened with an increase in activity for culture shifts, strategy development, organizational design, and workspace reorganization, to name but a few new spaces of change.

It has been many years since I did a technology implementation, but I speak to many in the change community who are still primarily doing this work. It concerns me that the desired approach of their organizations is a template driven project managed change management. This style doesn’t create a good fit for the change but rather forces a fit to an approach. I know many of these practitioners are frustrated by the confines this expectation places on them. There is a time and place for document driven change, but its not the panacea to all change. These practitioners want to give so much more than a few documents inside a project delivery. When you work in supporting people’s responses to the new, different, and strange, you want to have meaningful engagement with them that delivers solutions to their pain points. This means expanding the offerings you give to meet the greater needs and expectations being placed.

It was approximately 4 years ago that I was at a change management conference and I said organizational design is part of change management. I pushed for someone to come up with a case study or paper at the following year’s conference, I think I even offered to buy them a drink if they did. However, it did not happen, and I am still to see an organizational design reflection at a change conference. I have taken an organizational design journey of discovery these past few years. Adding to my existing knowledge and bringing myself up to date with current practice and approaches in the organizational design space; I found the commonality is significant. The activities needed for organizational design is definitely overlapping and complimentary to change management and no more or less than I see with project management or organization development. I do strongly believe that change professionals need to add the organizational design skillset within their portfolio to better meet the needs of their clients or leadership expectations. There is no gain to be had in helping to implement a change with the confines of a badly shaped organization.

I have been a coach for many years and have been utilising the skills throughout my change engagements. I truly find that taking a coaching approach helps me to build trust, find the true cause of responses and understand the needs of anyone experiencing change. In the past couple of years, I’ve seen more connection between coaching practice and change delivery, but its still evolving. I recommend that coaching skills are developed for every practitioner to understand their communications style, language choices and engagement techniques. Coaching is often seen as a 1-1 arrangement, but every organization is made up of individuals and the best way to change an organization is to change the individual’s relationship with that organization.

Where will you find your next tools?

I am fascinated to see how other disciplines and areas of practice influence the future of change delivery in the coming years. I’m intrigued by the potential for ergonomics and physiotherapy are going to influence the how we approach changing workspaces, particularly given the impact of Covid-19.  I am excited to see the evolution of Agile and agile within change, the links to process improvement practices and continued connect to the learning and development space. Neuroscience and psychology have long played a part in explaining change responses, but now we seem them being flipped to work on supporting others through the change. There are more than just these area that can connect to change management, but these are just the few that come to front of mind.

If you are interested in learning with me to gain deeper skills in change delivery, organizational design and coaching for change I have a number of advanced courses coming up.

The Certified Change Leader includes agile, strategy, culture and more – read more here:

Understanding Organizational Design provides a foundation in the practice and good examples to gain the fundamentals – read more here:

The Delivering Organizational Design Program guides you through the practical requirements with assessment tools, formulating plans and real time activities to practice – read more here:

Developing Coaching Skills for Change is a robust workshop that helps align change and coaching practice with an easy to follow approach and plenty of opportunity to practice – read more here: