Some Recent Examples

Here are just a few of the activities we’ve loved being involved with over the last wee while:


Otago Polytechnic – Culture Planning

It’s not often we get to work with a team that are already so far advanced in their thinking about workplace culture, but this was certainly our experience of the Culture Team at Otago Polytechnic. These guys have already achieved some huge things for the Polytechnic through their values work etc. They just needed a little help getting a structured culture plan together, which we were very happy to oblige with. We helped them brainstorm and articulate what elements of the Polytechnic are particularly important to their culture, complete their own culture self-assessment, and develop clear actions to move the culture forward in a way that aligns with the unique strategy, features and challenges of the Polytechnic. Watch this space – great things happening here!

We wanted to create a high performance culture committed to ongoing improvement from good to world class. The expertise of Mary and Marie from Culture by Design has helped us to identify the priority areas of focus to enable us to create actionable steps. Thanks to this valuable work, we now have our plan ready to deploy and look forward to realising the culture we aspire to. 

Jo Brady,
Deputy Chief Executive : People Performance and Development
Otago Polytechnic


The Court Theatre - Culture Development

 How exciting it is to be working with the truly iconic pillar of Christchurch’s performing arts community – The Court Theatre. These guys have been entertaining Cantabrians and making us laugh and cry through thick, thin and shaky, despite losing their beautiful home and having to relocate. The show, as they say, went on!

The Court approached us for help recently with various aspects of their organisational culture. We quickly discovered that for the amazing team at The Court, producing breath-taking shows takes everyone’s full energy and little is left over for looking after themselves! So into action we have swung, working closely with the dynamic duo of the CE and Artistic Director to firstly take all the leaders at The Court through a Leadership by Design programme to create a shared language and leadership themes. This done, we’re looking forward to upcoming sessions around core ideology and envisioned state, values and behaviour expectations, and finally, ideal culture. Truly inspiring work with a truly inspiring organisation. 

Culture by Design have provided the most effective leadership programme I have ever attended. It works because it is very personal, and what is more effective at affecting commitment than making it personal? But it is about the group, the team and the organisation – and how we lead and change organisational culture, starting with ourselves. At The Court Theatre we are in a process of affecting significant change and Mary Buckley and Marie Johnston are guiding us through this process with deft aplomb. I have no hesitation in recommending this inspirational programme – which is not something that I do lightly as I have a healthy scepticism of many leadership courses.

Philip Aldridge
Chief Executive
The Court Theatre

2017 01 19

Some of the fantastic leaders of The Court Theatre hard at work during Leadership by Design


Kathmandu - Problem Solving and Agile-Scrum

Introducing Kathmandu’s HR team to some simple, practical and effective techniques for problem solving, combined with the methodologies of Agile Scrum has been a very rewarding experience. Staying in close contact with the HR and ER Manager as the teams came up to speed with a new way of working was important and the teams have really taken to the new techniques with gusto. Agile Scrum is such a rewarding way to work, we love to see teams embrace it and gain the benefits of empowerment, true teamwork and greater effectiveness.

 It has been hugely beneficial to have the HR team at Kathmandu trained on Agile Methodologies. It has transformed our ways of working, not only for project work, but also business as usual activity as well. We used Agile Scrum on the Office Move Project. Scrum kept stories and tasks visual and activities progressing to ensure a smooth transition to our new office.

Tracey Ritchie
Employment Relations, People and Performance Manager, New Zealand


Pacific Wide - Team Development

There is perhaps nothing more joyful than working with a great team that wants to be even better. This has been our experience with the head office team for Pacific Wide, as we took them through a team development day recently, utilising the Jung Type Indicator (JTI) as a personality profiling tool to help the team further understand and leverage each other’s strengths. JTI (a further evolution of Myers Briggs) has been our “tool of choice” for a number of years, as once a team has learnt the basics it can be applied in so many different ways to match the needs of the team, from communication, stress and conflict management to problem solving, innovation and leadership.  Of course any tool is only as good as how it is applied, and we’re continuing to partner with the team at Pacific Wide to make sure the learnings are brought to life in a meaningful and sustained way.

We have started a great journey with Mary and Marie at Culture By Design.  Our team is really embracing the opportunity to spend time in understanding each other, and how best we can strengthen our team and culture.  The forum we are now continuing allows us all to be honest and transparent and creates the environment where we are not afraid to express ourselves openly together for the betterment of the team.

We now all look forward to our  weekly sessions with the CbD girls as we continue to learn more about each person in this fantastic team.

Garry Clark
Group General Manager,
Pacific Wide (NZ) LTD


Other recent activities include:

Culture assessment, customised leadership capability workshops, values development work, team charters, strategy “envisioned state” sessions, upskilling around process improvement and problem solving, and a heap of other cool stuff.


Want to know more about any of the above? Get in touch.