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Harvard Expert to tour Canberra as APS grapples with Culture Change

7 November 2016

Author and culture change expert Andy Fleming wants the Australian Public Sector to wind back its “twentieth-century” focus on high-profile senior leaders, and to start linking culture change with learning at all levels in every agency.

Principal at Way to Grow Inc, a US-based professional services firm, and a contributing author to the recent book, "An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organisation", Fleming will visit Canberra later this month for a series of events. He’ll talk about why organisational reform has such a poor track record, why culture change has to happen “at work, in the context of work”, and what his approach looks like in individual teams – no matter how junior or senior.

Fleming’s events include a day-long workshop in Canberra on Tuesday 22 November, which is aimed at coaches and HR professionals, as well as an evening talk hosted by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM). On the agenda at both gigs will be a new way of thinking about development at work: the Deliberately Developmental Organisation, or “DDO” as Fleming refers to it. DDO’s see increased engagement, lower turnover, and an uptick in profitability – as a result of sustained focus on how everyone is learning, every day, at all levels in an organisation.

“One person’s mess-up is now a problem for the whole enterprise in a way that just wasn’t the case even a decade ago. And yet the coaching spend continues to be focussed on senior leaders in the hope that their learning will trickle down.”

Also in the way of culture change, Fleming says, is an over-focus the idea of specialised, “off-site” learning. “If your leadership program is a highlight for your people,” Fleming says, “you have a problem, because it means that adaptive learning is not integrated into the routines of work.”

“I’m all for the idea that you take your learnings back into your teams, but the lack of developmental focus on what actually happens during the 70% of the time we’re expected people to apply their learnings at work is a missed opportunity which the DDO approach addresses.”

Fleming, a Harvard MBA who works closely with noted leadership experts Rob Kegan and Lisa Lahey, will also deliver workshops in Brisbane in partnership with the University of Queensland School of Business. He is supported on this tour by Fairfax columnist Jacqueline Jago. Tickets are limited and are now selling on Eventbrite.

 

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