Sanford co-create their leadership charter using The Emotional Culture Deck

Robyn Pagonis from Element Consulting recently used 35 Emotional Culture decks with her client – a large, Iconic New Zealand organisation called Sanford.

In the middle of 2018, Robyn bought The Emotional Culture Deck Team Pack and had been having endless fun playing with it. But only a couple of months ago she used the deck formally for the first time with one of her clients. 

Robyn got in touch with us to share her experience leading up to this moment and said:

"It’s been some time since I first connected regarding the Emotional Culture Deck but know and trust I’ve been having a ball with it.  So much so, that one of my clients is now ready to step into an F word conversation with their Senior Leadership Team.  As a player in primary industry, it’s fair to say they are more attuned to a different F word than “feelings. Thanks in advance, and thanks again for putting some great design thinking into a safe, structured way to explore these conversations with a straight shooting-crowd."

It turns out Robyn was asked to work with a group of 30 leaders (including their executive) who she described as a team of two halves…. those who have been around for 20 plus years and those who are new to the organisation (and mostly new to the industry too). Due to the different groups within the team, they could have been described as slightly fractured and needed some help to find their leadership rhythm, and explore and embrace their individual differences. 

"The business is on quite the transformation journey, and establishing a cultural framework that brings their values to life will be one of the most important first steps in their undertaking. I used The Emotional Culture Deck to lead them through the process and help them navigate their stories and come together as one team.

Last month we spent some time via video call with Robyn and shared some ideas with her on the best way to run a leadership workshop using The Emotional Culture Deck.

Robyn was interested to learn more about how best to use the decks with bigger groups and was looking for guidance on the process and timeframes and what she should watch out for when running a large workshop. 

Robyn then ran a half-day workshop with 30 leaders using 30 Emotional Culture Decks, where she followed an abridged version of the Map your Emotional Culture Workshop plan.

Robyn shared this about her experience using the deck with Sanford: 

"Yes yes yes – it was a really interesting experience.  The sounds of some eyes rolling at the start of the process were bewilderingly deafening but the results showed the power of the tool.  One of the big surprises was our merry team of fishermen landing on a leading emotion of Love!  Made my heart swell as they shared their stories and commitments they would like to live into.  We followed your abridged process primarily as we only had three hours for the workshop … but we managed to crank out a great outcome all the same.  They have now drafted a Leadership Charter which not only talks to the footprint that they will leave on the organisation but their regular rituals to help bring it all to life."

It takes courage as a leadership team to come together and go through an exercise that includes talking about the F-word at work. But enlightened companies like Sanford see the benefit of doing what others are afraid of doing.

Now Sanford is leading from the front and flipping the conversation at work. In turn they are flipping the way they lead by talking about what truly matters. How we feel.

It’s exciting and humbling to know that this little deck of empathy is making such a big impact on teams of people all around the world. To know that The Emotional Culture Deck can transform the way teams work together and flip the conversation in such a way, where empathy and human connection become more possible is incredibly rewarding for us. And this is all possible by playing a game together that makes it simple to have a conversation about the F-word at work. 


Meet Robyn Pagonis

Robyn simply helps businesses work better. Using a blend of strategy, business architecture and change management I transform businesses to an improved platform of performance. With over 15 years of working with senior executives across a variety of Australian and New Zealand industries, my approach offers distinctive insight and perspective.

If you want to get in touch with Robyn about running a similar workshop like the one she delivered above – you can connect with Robyn by clicking here.