News & insights

The Emotional Culture of a Pro Sports Team

It's a privilege to be invited back by the Wellington Firebirds this year to help them run a few pre-season culture training sessions. This time 11 years ago, I was starting my professional cricket career and involved in one of these pre-season culture sessions. It left an impression on me for all the wrong reasons.

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Defining the environment of a high-performance sports team

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Here’s a sneak peak of what we’re up to with a sports team here in New Zealand at the moment….

What Fuels Culture to Eat Strategy for Breakfast?

Kelly Rubin (second from right front row) is one of the latest leaders to complete The Emotional Culture Deck Masterclass and has become an Elephant Rider. Check out her article where she shares her experience attending The Emotional Culture Deck Masterclass in Toronto Canada.

The 12 inspiring Canadian Elephant Riders who completed the Toronto Emotional Culture Deck Masterclass on April 23.

The 12 inspiring Canadian Elephant Riders who completed the Toronto Emotional Culture Deck Masterclass on April 23.

Co-create your team leadership charter using The Emotional Culture Deck

It turns out it's not as hard as you may think to talk about emotions at work. The most common fear from leaders and consultants is how people will respond to being told they are going to be going through a workshop about emotions. We worry that it won't go very well – which it probably won’t unless you have the right game to make it easier for people to tackle a challenging topic.

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Westpac New Zealand adopt The Emotional Culture Deck

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We interviewed Derri Evans, Scrum Master at Westpac New Zealand, who is one of the leaders behind the adoption of The Emotional Culture Deck at Westpac New Zealand. 

This is what Derri had to say about The Emotional Culture Deck, why she's using it, and what she's hoping she will be able to achieve by injecting the deck into Westpac New Zealand Squads.

Where corporate culture goes wrong

Everything changed for me when I read Mandy O'Neill and Sigal Barsade’s research on emotions in the workplace. The article Manage your emotional culture has become a seminal piece of work for me. It's helped shape my view of workplace culture and culture change. It’s given me hope. This one line in this article that stopped me in my tracks:  

"Most companies pay little attention to how employees are—or should be—feeling. They don’t realise how central emotions are to building the right culture.”

The number one concern of CEO's for 2018

According to Deloitte, 87 percent say it is employee retention. 60 percent of the United States workforce turns over each year, and 65 percent of this is voluntary...

Read more here

Create a more human and empathetic workplace culture with our latest tool called The Emotional Culture Deck.

Create a more human and empathetic workplace culture with our latest tool called The Emotional Culture Deck.


But it's a common fallacy to mistake flexibility for autonomy...

Here’s the insight that led us to design The Emotional Culture Deck

A few months ago I was invited into The Virtual HR Roundtable community to share The Emotional Culture Deck and why I created it and the impact it can have. Thanks to Lorissa Garcia for inviting me to share my work with the world.

Recently Jeremy was interviewed in The Culture Guy podcast by Benjamin Drury in the UK.

We chat about The Emotional Culture Deck amongst other great stuff we’re doing in the culture space at the moment.

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Empathy literally pays $$$

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Forty-two percent of consumers would refuse to buy from a company that they don’t believe to be empathetic. So empathy pays. Literally. But even though sixty percent of CEO’s believe their organisations are empathetic, only twenty-five percent of employees believe that to be true. There’s a gapping empathy gap between leaders and employees. Here’s how you can close the gap.

So you want to actually feel something meaningful in your work?

Late last year I was invited onto the SuperNova Podcast to chat with Lena Ski about emotions in the work place and the story behind The Emotional Culture Deck. Check out the interview below.

So, you want your work to actually mean something huh? Something meaningful. Something worth waking up for. Something worth staying awake for. Something worthy of your clients needs. Something special. The founder of riders&elephants Jeremy Dean gets you and has got your back - and there's a group of us willing to have that convo with HR. Here's proof that your work can feel like play and do something epic without having to change the whole world. And it sounds a little something like this.


Canteen and riders&elephants team up and use The Emotional Culture Deck

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How the Emotional Culture Deck helped the youth leadership team from the CanTeen’s Hawkes Bay branch.

Young people don’t expect to come face to face with cancer, but they do. Cancer is terrifying for anyone, but for a young person already dealing with what life is throwing at you, cancer – your own or that of a family member – is an unexpected curve ball.  Dedicated to supporting young people 13-24 come to grips with the emotional and practical toll of cancer, CanTeen gets it.

Read about how the Hawkes Bay branch of CanTeen used The Emotional Culture Deck here.

Six questions you need to ask yourself to find out if your people are ready for change:

  • Do your people believe that change is needed?

  • Do your people believe that change is appropriate?

  • Do your people believe there will be positive consequences for them through this change?

  • Do your people believe they can change?

  • Do your people believe that their leaders and managers are able to support them through this change?

  • Do your people feel interested, curious or joy when they think about this change?

If you can answer yes to every question, you're ready for a change. If you answer NO to any questions, design a way to turn that answer from a NO to a YES.

As a leader, you're in the business of people and change. You need to focus on both beliefs and emotions – you must cultivate positive emotions within your people. It’s not enough to just tell people why change is needed.

The questions above are based on the work of Professor Alannah Rafferty of the Griffith Business School, Australia.

How do we create more meaning in our work?


A Culture of Feedback: Making it Tangible

"Culture is the sum of collective behaviours. You cannot simply introduce one feedback method or tool and expect it to transform workplace culture on its own. Instead, you can design the levers, the structures, the system that will reinforce desired behaviours – and in turn shape culture.”

Check this article out for inspiration on how to inform culture and behaviours by Mollie West (IDEO) and Kate Judson (SYpartners).

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What do you want your customers to feel?

Great experiences build trust. Trust is good business. Worry less about what your logo looks like and more about how people feel when they come into contact with your brand.