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Reimagining Change

There is no simple way to bring about positive change - but the right technology and a strong strategic focus help to ensure adjustments are timely, beneficial and ongoing.

2 min

Creating a culture of change



Creating a culture of change

The old stop-start approach to change management is doomed. Today’s fast-paced world requires enterprise-wide platforms that make continuous evolution integral to corporate culture.

“Unfreeze-change-refreeze.” For decades, that’s how change management could’ve loosely been described. But technology has accelerated the pace of innovation and that staccato approach is no longer fast or responsive enough to keep up with current business practices.

Management Innovation eXchange founder Michele Zanini, writing for McKinsey & Co recently, noted that, “In a world that’s relentlessly evolving, anything that is frozen soon becomes irrelevant … What we need instead is constant experimentation.”

Zanini argues the need for a change platform rather than a change programme to support ongoing rather than episodic change.

The importance of ongoing communication to facilitate change was most recently highlighted in the 2013 Change and Communication ROI Survey, which demonstrated that 75 percent of change projects lose momentum over time because the underlying business culture is not open to change.

Put simply, change must be baked in, not bolted on; to be successful change must be part of the corporate culture.


Creating the culture

As director for the Emotional Intelligence Institute (EII), Rachel Green has worked with senior executives throughout the corporate sector to help them adopt a culture tailored to smooth, constant transition rather than big bang disasters.

She points out that a culture of constant change is fundamental to the success of contemporary enterprises – because transition has become fundamentally linked to success in many industries.

“You can’t wait two years to change, because your competitors may have changed last night,” Green says. “Then in the scurry to keep up with competitors change is rushed and the emotions of change are often overlooked”.

To make a functional transition from stop-start change to a smooth regular transformation, businesses must prepare stakeholders emotionally for the transition.

“Most people have a stronger emotional response to imposed change than to accepted change,” Green explained. “Successful organisations are able to acknowledge how people are feeling and allow their feelings – and then manage the feelings.”

Samsung’s success story

When Korean manufacturer Samsung famously blew up its status quo – a command-and-control structure managed by long-term insiders – it decided to crystallise the benefits for employees.

Samsung’s “New Management Approach”, in which the firm’s chairman very publicly championed the hiring of outsiders with fresh ideas, also socialised profit sharing, so that all employees benefited from successful change. They became invested in embracing change. As a result, Samsung has transformed from a low-cost OEM business to a world leader in R&D, marketing and design. And it continues to make tweaks in response to changing market conditions and expectations.

Australian organisations are following suit. The Commonwealth Bank revealed in its most recent half-year results that it was now making changes to its information systems at the rate of 3852 a month. That pace is simply not possible unless an organisation has a culture focused on innovation and embracing change.

“You can’t wait two years to change because your competitors may have changed last night.”
Rachel Green, director of the Emotional Intelligence Institute

The agile approach

Agile work practices, which originated in IT departments, are increasingly pervasive in the rest of business according to Denise Wright, a director at Changeworks Consulting. Wrights says it’s increasingly common to see stakeholders from across a business participate in collaborative techniques such as stand-up meetings and storyboarding to scope any change.

Wright says stakeholders can then use social media such as Yammer to communicate about the planned changes, essentially forging the sort of change platform Hamel and Zanini lauded.

“If you don’t get the business involved, you will get resistance further down the track,” she adds. “And if you don’t have senior buy-in and sponsorship … you will have an unsuccessful implementation.”

Finally, Wright says captains of industry must lead the way. “They need to be modelling new ways of working and change,” she explains. “We spend a lot of time coaching leaders on that.”


In summary

  • Technology has accelerated the pace of innovation; a stop-start approach to change management no longer works
  • Agile enterprises need to acknowledge employees have an emotional response to change and manage it, allowing them to embrace new ways of doing business
  • Change management practices can’t be bolted onto a business – they must be baked in
  • Business leaders need to model change behaviour for the enterprise – if it must change, so must they.

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2 min

The secret of a perfect night's sleep



The secret of a perfect night's sleep

Your creativity, ingenuity, confidence, leadership and decision making can all be enhanced by a good night’s sleep. Here’s how to get one.

Arianna Huffington says she learned about the importance of sleep the hard way. In 2008, as co-founder and editor-in-chief of one of the world’s most successful online media brands, the Huffington Post, she was riding the 24-hour news cycle and surviving on as little as three or four hours’ sleep a night.

It wasn’t until she collapsed from exhaustion, breaking her cheekbone and cutting her eye in the fall, that she resolved to take her health more seriously – beginning with getting more sleep.

“When I began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep, I met with medical doctors and scientists and I’m here to tell you that the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep,” Huffington says in a 2010 Ted Talk entitled “How to succeed? Get more sleep”.

“Poor sleepers rarely understand how much they are impacted by not having enough sleep. They believe they are fine, but their thinking rapidly deteriorates throughout the day.”
– Nick Glozier, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Sydney’s Brain & Mind Research Institute

‘Wired but tired’

But how much is enough? And how can we collectively tackle the insomnia epidemic which, according to a Harvard Medical School study, costs the US economy alone $US63 billion per year?

At the University of Sydney’s Brain & Mind Research Institute, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry Nick Glozier is charged with understanding how much sleep we need, and what we can do to get more of it.

“Poor sleepers rarely understand how much they are impacted by not having enough sleep,” says Glozier. “They believe they are fine, but their thinking rapidly deteriorates throughout the day.”

The result is poor sleepers end up “wired but tired”, Glozier says. They are unable to focus on detail, are easily distracted, and can be snappy and irritable with co-workers. However, he says the focus needs to be on getting the right amount of good quality sleep, rather than simply getting more.


Quality over quantity

“It turns out that a lot of people get poor sleep because they believe they need eight hours, so they go to bed too early, get distressed about not sleeping and the quality of their sleep is quite bad as a result,” Glozier says. “Often the most effective approach is to get less sleep, but better sleep.”

Glozier says most research into adult sleeping patterns suggest working adults require between six and eight hours’ sleep in a 24-hour period to remain healthy, although this can include napping during the day, and catch-up sleep.

“Insomnia is rarely a pathology, it is usually a collection of symptoms,” Glozier says. “There are ways to address those symptoms and get a good night’s sleep, but you have to put them into practice.”


Sleep recommendations

Media proprietor Ariana Huffington and Professor of Psychological Medicine Nick Glozier have a few key recommendations for improving sleep:

  • Focus on quality not quantity – don’t worry about how many hours you’re sleeping a night, rather, create an environment where you can get deep, uninterrupted sleep.
  • Change your sleeping patterns by having a regular, early wake-up time rather than going to sleep early.
  • Create a sleeping ritual that you look forward to: good quality pillows and sheets, silk pyjamas, and a bath or shower before bed, chilled chamomile tea or hot chocolate.
  • Remove all distractions from the sleeping environment, including bright lights and digital screens.
  • Exercise for half an hour every day: walking is good but sweating and getting “puffed” are better.
  • Cut out caffeine after 2pm, and alcohol after 8pm; even if they don’t prevent you from getting to sleep, they will reduce the quality of your sleep.

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3 min

New school rules



New school rules

Radical new learning spaces equipped with flexible communications and computing technology and are reshaping schools and empowering students.

Delany College in Granville, western Sydney, is providing a glimpse of what education and learning could look like in the future, and elevating student engagement, confidence and ability.

An 18-month collaboration between Delany and Telstra is resulting in innovative learning programmes at the high school, which is located in a relatively low socioeconomic area with over 90 percent of children coming from non-English speaking backgrounds. Last year, the high school launched brand new open-plan learning areas equipped with communications and computing infrastructure to support a new way of learning. Initially introduced for years 7 and 8, the facility is now also being used by the Year 9 cohort.

Instead of bustling around the school to attend six separate periods, students rotate through the learning space to work through three 100-minute learning blocks each day. The approach has reduced the number of classroom teachers required for the cohort from 13 to five.


While Sydney University researchers are currently conducting a formal review of the programme, Dr Miranda Jefferson, teaching educator in the Catholic Education Office’s Parramatta diocese said that early results are promising.

Jefferson said that students entering Year 7 generally lacked confidence and exhibited low literacy and numeracy. “Now they are starting to comprehend the world around them in a far deeper way and communicate with it,” she said. And while there had been a massive cultural change for teachers involved in the initiative; “There is no going back. Once you see a change in students it’s a moral imperative that you continue in this learning.”

Susi Steigler-Peters, Telstra’s national general manager, education industry business development, explains that Delany’s key driver for the initiative is to, “Make sure no one falls through the cracks, and that everyone reaches their potential … That resonates very strongly with our philosophy.” By encouraging small team collaboration among students there is less chance that children will be able to hide at the back of the room, rather they will be drawn into their group.

Telstra is the lead technology partner involved in the programme and worked with Steelcase and Cisco to create the 21st-century learning space for Delany.

“This is a shift from stand-and-deliver (teaching) to a more democratic approach to learning. There is different furniture and the walls are broken down to create a huge open learning space with cubby-like zones,” says Steigler-Peters, adding that new pedagogies and a fresh approach to learning are key to the success of the initiative. Supported by 4G and LTE communications networks, a range of cloud-based services, and infrastructure able to support a diverse collection of end-user devices, the learning space has been designed to promote collaboration, co-operation and communication among students and to “liberate learning”.

Students and teachers can harness whatever technology they want – from connected mobile devices to interactive whiteboards or traditional pen and paper.

“Make sure no one falls through the cracks, and that everyone reaches their potential … that resonates very strongly with our philosophy.”
- Susi Steigler-Peters, Telstra’s National General Manager, Education Industry Business Development

Telstra is also developing a series of analytic tools to provide educators with a deeper understanding of the progression of students, so any issues can be identified early and remedied.

“We have analytics to track engagement but we now want to track the depth of the learning experience,” says. She adds that the feedback from parents of the first cohort of students has been astonishingly positive, but the real value has emerged in terms of the “impact on student self-worth and how they value learning”.

Telstra plans to work with other schools to replicate Delany’s success and Steigler-Peters says the approach is proving both highly sustainable and repeatable.

Researchers from Sydney University are studying the project to provide an independent assessment of its benefits. “Telstra is delivering thought leadership to help provide an evidence base to schools to persuade them of the benefits of a changed dynamic,” Steigler-Peters says.


The next steps in education

  • Telstra will host Australia’s most forward-thinking educators in March at Education Now, an event designed to explore the rapidly evolving education market and also the role technologies such as cloud and collaboration, mobile devices and applications, wi-fi, digital content and learning analytics, can play in learning
  • Education Now, to be held in Sydney, is focused on the emerging “freedom of learning” approach to education and how it makes possible the migration from classroom-only teaching to anytime learning, by harnessing a range of supportive technologies and adopting pedagogies that move beyond the sage-on-stage motif
  • A range of international speakers will present keynotes, including Susan Mann, the chief executive of Education Australia; David Price, from the UK’s Open Learning initiative; George Siemens from Learning Analytics in Canada; and US educator Nelson Gonzalez.

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