What to Centralise & Decentralise in your Op Model

In the October ALC we explored different aspects of this challenge in our usual collaborative format. We discussed:

  • The different organisational factors to consider when designing your approach
  • Practical frameworks to help us achieve the right balance
  • How to avoid trading-off autonomy and alignment
  • The role of leadership

There were some wonderful insights and key learnings gained from this session. A special thanks to Kacper Mazek and Tiziano Rullo for sharing with the community.


Adaptive Organisations,
– Sharing 5 Years of Radically Insights

Our July event dived into Radically’s key learnings from 5 years of building future-fit organisations.  The key topics we unpacked were:

  • What are the key components of an adaptive organisation?
  • What is the role of leadership?
  • When might we consider an adaptive operating model?
  • What are the critical things to get right?
  • What approaches have others taken and how well have they worked?
  • What organisational capability needs developing?
  • How do you successfully implement this type of change?

There were some wonderful insights and key learnings gained from this session. A special thanks to Kacper Mazek and Tiziano Rullo for sharing with the community.


Adaptive Innovation
& Design Sprints in the Construction Industry

Our June event dived into the topic of how the innovation sprint programme helped Fletcher Building become more sustainable.  The key topics we unpacked were:

  • What business challenges Fletcher Building faced and how innovation has helped
  • What tools, practices and frameworks Fletcher Building applied
  • Learnings and lessons

There were some wonderful insights and key learnings gained from this session. A special thanks to Gerald Mackenzie and Ferran de Miguel Mercader for sharing with the community.


Ellie Mackereth created this visual recording of the event.


Delivering a large-scale culture and business integration programme

In 2022, Mercury launched the Retail Integration Programme – a large, complex and far-reaching piece of work designed to bring Mercury and Trustpower together.  The programme is still in progress and spans culture, processes, data and technology, while also designing the future of Mercury’s retail business.  Realising traditional ways of working would not cut it, they adopted adaptive ways of working to not only deliver the programme, but to pave the way for how Mercury will work in the future.


Our March event dived into leading a large complex change programme encompassing multiple different delivery structures, including the leadership required for success.  The key topics we unpacked were :

  • The key lessons and challenges leading such a large, complex piece of work
  • Applying Adaptive Ways of Working to such a programme.
  • The leadership journey the team went on and changes experienced
  • Advice for senior leaders and executives who are embarking on ambitious change programmes


Sujith Ramachandra created this visual recording of the event.


There were some wonderful insights generated in what was a very honest, open and powerful learning opportunity.

A special thanks to Savonne WordsworthBraam Conradie, and Nick Pudney for sharing with the community.

Frontline Experiences Leading the Adaptive Journey

Leading adaptive change can be daunting. What is the best approach? Do you “tear off the bandaid” with a big bang approach, or is it better to take a steady, iterative approach? What sorts of challenges might you face along the way and what sorts of ways might you solve these? How do you keep your executive team aligned when there are so many competing priorities? How do you obtain stakeholder buy-in and support for the change? Do you lead this yourself or do you partner?

Our October Adaptive Leadership Collective meeting featured Hannah Croft (Chorus) and Susan Parkes (Auckland Transport) who are leading this change in their organisations.

Our discussion spanned three key subject areas:

  1. Leading the organisational change – key lessons
  2. Managing the executive other stakeholders – what does and doesn’t work?
  3. Miscellaneous other topics including maintaining your own energy levels over a long journey, key tips and and tricks learned through experience.


The talented Sujith Ramachandra produced a beautiful visual recording of the session:. For a high resolution version, please click on the image.


Design an Adaptive Operating Model

How do you Design an Operating Model that brings a strategy to life and defines how value is created and delivered?  At the June ALC meeting, we experimented with a workshop-based format, taking participants through a case study and collaborative group work to determine the pros and cons of different operating models. Photos from the event can be found below.


The Great Resignation – Curse or Opportunity?

Is The Great Resignation a curse or an opportunity? For progressive, adaptive, and human-centred organisations, it could be the latter.

With record levels of people changing jobs in most markets, The Great Resignation is probably one of the largest movements of talent we have seen in living memory. There is little doubt it has arrived in New Zealand and will significantly impact business. No one knows how it is going to play out but what we do know is that

  • more than 50% of employees have high intentions to resign
  • two-thirds of employees believe they have solid job opportunities elsewhere.
  • 90% of people surveyed in the Meaning and Purpose at Work Survey said they would sacrifice up to 23 percent of their future lifetime earnings for work that is more meaningful.

Clearly, adaptive organisations must plan to address the risk of losing critical talent.

On 5th April we brought the Auckland business community together to discuss whether The Great Resignation is a curse or opportunity, and share perspectives and experiences, along with expert insights from Helen Meade and Shaun Philp.

A full recording of the session is below.


As usual, Sujith Ramachandra produced a beautiful visual canvas. For a high-resolution version, click on the picture below.

ALC-Apr-22_small 1

Purpose is King


A topic we discussed in the breakout rooms was the work of human motivation guru Neel Doshi, author of the NY Times bestselling book Primed to Perform.  Neel shows how there are three strongly positive motivators (Purpose, Play and Potential) that drive motivation and engagement, and three strongly negative ones that crush it (Emotional Pressure, Financial Pressure and Inertia).

The webinar we ran with Neel (below) shows that The Great Resignation has made his work even more relevant than ever.


Building an Adaptive Organisation: an Executive Perspective

Given the last two years, it is no surprise that many firms are looking to become more adaptive.  Many try to achieve this using agile techniques, however on its own, agile lacks some critical ingredients required for success. In the final ALC meeting of 2021 we asked two experienced executives their throughs on Building an Adaptive Organisation: an Executive Perspective.


The session contained three key sections, each concluded with a series of audience breakout rooms to discuss the topic.

  1. The role of the Executive in building an adaptive organisation
  2. Transitioning to an Adaptive Organisation – the culture and mindset required
  3. Building Internal Capability – why it is critical to sustaining the change

Our panel was:


Nicola Richardson – Executive General Manager People & Culture. Nicola Richardson is responsible for the people and culture focus of Genesis, including recruitment, talent development, cultural change, Agile, property and procurement. Nicola’s leadership focuses on creating a high-performing and thriving culture that embraces empowerment, inclusion and wellbeing. Nicola has a passion for preparing for the future leading organisations to be adaptive to remain relevant.


Dawie Olivier – Chief Technology Officer at Jarden Group and former GM of Enterprise Transformation at Westpac. Dawie is well-known to many NZ audiences for leading the design and implementation of new agile-and lean-based working across Westpac. Dawie has global experience guiding firms through the critical elements required for success and will share his key insights learned to date.

We started out by discussing the role of the executive in building an adaptive organisation. Nicola shared how Genesis’decision to adopt agile ways of working was driven out of the desire to be more customer-centric by improving product development and online presence.  From across the executive, they didn’t need to speak about the practices – they just spoke about the desired outcomes.  The focus was on leadership and sponsorship on where they wanted to go. So to start with, Genesis didn’t discuss being adaptive, but the executive is talking about it now and strongly aligned around it.


Dawie shared how it isn’t about agile or lean – it is about the new place you want to go and how you want that to feel when you get there. It is all about having a clear purpose! Give me a mountain to climb and a great reason to climb it then I’ll be there all day long.

We then discussed the role of the CEO in building an adaptive organisation. Watch the recording below for all the details:


As usual, Sujith Ramachandra from Radically produced some beautiful visual notes. For a high-resolution version, please click on the image.

ALC-Apr-22_small 2

Future Thinking:
the year ahead

2020 was a difficult year for most, to say the least. In the final Agile Leadership Collective meeting of 2020, we invited some of New Zealand’s most innovative speakers to discuss where they see their teams in the next year, major trends, and how to sustain momentum. The focus was on 2021 and future thinking: the year ahead.


Greg opened by reminding us all what a great opportunity it is to lead in times like this! LEadership is now more important than ever.


From the discussion, the key lessons gleaned were:

Put money aside to invest in agility. It is an important and valuable investment to make

Be realistic about whether it is the right time to make the shift. There is a lot of executive attention required to support it successfully.

Mistakes are an important part of the journey. Greg shared how Icebreaker set up a new agile governance model and realised 8 weeks in that it wasn’t working and was fundamentally flawed. So they simply dropped it and tried again.

Be careful of change fatigue. There is so much change going on, especially in a COVID world. Be careful how much change you put people through.

Be pragmatic and stay curious! There are no “solutions “here – only the agile mindset of inspecting and adapting. Avoid the “purist” agile trap.


There was also a lot of discussion around how everyone’s COVID experience has been different, and it is important we make space for discussing this.


The panel then discussed a number of changes that forced their organisations to rapidly adapt – working from home, online shopping and the risk of people suffering degraded mental health from trying to juggle many competing demands, both personal and work-based.

But also – opportunity. Change is the catalyst for future opportunities and if we remain positive then the opportunity arises.


Sujith Ramachandra from Radically took visual notes. A full-resolution version is available by clicking on the picture.


Adaptive Ways of Working from the COVID-19 Crisis — Agile Leadership Collective

Crisis is the mother of invention, or as Plato’s Republic said “our need will be the real creator”.

During the COVID crisis, most organisations found themselves scrambling. We had to throw the rule book out the window and figure out how to best work together, iterating day by day, week by week. We worked adaptively, across silos, to achieve the most important things for our customers.

Adaptibility & Leadership – lessons learned


While we worked remotely and collaborated digitally, many of us had to manage multiple competing priorities across our home and work lives. Not only did we get out work done, but in many cases we were more innovative and creative, resulting in better outcomes.

Many firms are now wondering how they can leverage this experience, now that the worst of COVID seems to be over.

Our September Agile Leadership Collective meeting brought the community together to share what we have collectively learned and how we might apply this to improve our organisations.

In this blog post, we’ve captured our own lessons:
6 Critical Lessons in Organisational Agility from the COVID-19 crisis

Video Recording from the event


Video recording from the event. Unfortunately, video recording didn’t captured beginning, but started just after introduction of the first panelist. Fortunatelly, the main content and key insights are captured.


About our Panelists


Wendy Paul

Wendy is currently the Director of Purpose at Fonterra. Her personal purpose is to build organisational capabilities in anticipating and responding to challenges presented by a constantly changing and unpredictable world environment. She is an executive with a passion for tackling global organisational challenges and delivering improved performance outcomes through cultural change.

Wendy’s focus is on delivering pragmatic, effective and efficient solutions aligned to the desired long term results and outcomes. She believes that shifting leadership mindsets and behaviours are critical to transforming functions including governance, customer services, sales operations, supply chain and crisis/risk management.

Molly Workman

Head of People and Culture at RUSH digital. Molly is driven by the potential that a collective of people within an organisation has on our world, and is excited by how this potential can elevate humanity. Molly has a knack of bringing fresh and challenging perspectives to traditional organisational ways of working and mindsets. She has a wealth of knowledge and passion across agile, people experience and embracing the ever-changing future of work. Molly has worked across government, large corporate, high-growth tech startups and most things in between. She definitely understands that one size doesn’t fit all.

By work-day Molly is the Head of People and Culture at RUSH Digital, working towards the mission of designing technology to better serve humankind.

Antony Hall

Antony is currently the Head Of Organisational Effectiveness at Auckland Transport. Antony firmly believes that great employee experiences lead to great customer experiences which in turn lead to real business outcomes.

Antony has had extensive Human Resources, Talent, Employee Experience, Recruitment, Analytics and HRIS experience in both private and public sector organisations. He’s passionate about the future of work, and how organisations can set themselves up for the future. He combines his HR knowledge and system implementation background with Design Thinking mindset to bring new strategies of change into the organisation.