Unleashing The Emotional Culture Deck: With Teams Facing Change

by Joanne Free-Pameli reposted from LinkedIn >

It was sometime during August of 2020 when I first encountered riders&elephants and completed the available ECD Online Masterclass. I was hooked.

As a Change Management practitioner for more than a decade by then; I was keen to find tools to help Change Leaders and their teams improve their alignment, collaboration, and the change ready culture within which they worked.

The Change Transformation program priorities I’d seen, time and time again were frequently on the project plan, scope, timeline, and budget with far less focus on how the project and change teams including leadership were functioning during the change programs delivery and, how the changed-future state was then transitioned to the “business as usual” team. It was often project, cost, timeline and whoever is part of it- just get it done.

I needed something that would help me build the essential recipe for any change teams’ success. I knew that would include something to help create strong change leaders with teams that loved doing what they did, working with their leaders and their colleagues within a culture that afforded them the luxury of having a voice, a perspective, and input into the evolving change program they served.

Enter The ECD...

In June of 2023, I upped the ante and entered the next level in my commitment to the Riders and Elephants world founded by Jeremy Dean You know when you make a decision, and it feels right, and you just keep looking forward (not back at the decision), because every step you take seems to make sense. That’s my journey with this community of experts from around the world.

The ECD tool makes sense for every business (with humans) and most certainly for every successful change program, regardless of industry type. It is nothing less than thrilling as a professional in change, to work alongside so many brilliant people around the globe who make an impact daily on so many leaders, teams, and cultures. Such a great feeling to find your tribe!

Since June of this year, I have been on a journey toward becoming a Certified Consultant with Riders and Elephants. The list of insights gained along the way seem endless at times. Learning so much and experiencing such growth myself has been nothing short of awesome. Here I’ll share a few highlights with you.

1. Our Emotional Vocabulary is Limited.

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I am rarely short on words. I have always loved language. I love to read, and I love to listen to how others communicate and use their language to describe. The thing is, just like many others- when it comes to describing how I feel, I too can be limited in the words I choose. Ask a person how they feel, and they will likely use some favourites like great, sad, stressed, happy, tired.

In workshops I have conducted this year I have heard participants marvel at how well this Emotional Culture Deck tool helps them find the words they needed but didn’t know to use. As one attendee shared, “When someone asks me to find the words and articulate how I feel as a leader it’s not as easy as you would think it might be but, when shown these cards, it completely helps me open up and describe what I’m feeling inside but didn’t even know until I saw the words in print”.

2. It’s How You Feel After.

Participants coming into the workshops have said they weren’t sure quite what to expect. They’d received their pre-workshop instructions and had somewhat of an idea given the name of the tool that this was going to be about feelings in the workplace, but they had underestimated or sometimes, not even considered, coming into the session, the impact this would have on their everyday life at work and at home. It was described by one participant as, “I went in with somewhat unknowns and came out feeling invigorated as a leader to see just how well I could help my team as well as myself. So many learnings that I just don’t think I would have had, if not for this game”. 

3. It’s Better Than an Employee Survey.

One of my workshop participants told me, “As a leader, you want to know how your team feels about working here. I don’t think you’ll ever get that really from a survey. This game is better than a survey. It provides a much more genuine outcome. I could tell the team felt safer to share”. 

This tool helps leaders learn more about how they lead, and it allows employees to truly describe how it feels to experience the change or transformation journey their organization is living through and the culture within which they operate.

As of today, I have been practicing with this tool for over 3 years now. I have seen the significant impact made and I am excited to see the work we can do on many more change transformation programs ahead. I use this tool with Change project teams before, during and after change programs go-live and have seen huge benefits in how the teams come together and create synergies and productivity like never before. I also use these tools 1:1 with my Leadership coaching clients to help them gain further insight and accountability in evolving as they lead.

I'll be back with more as this journey evolves...

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

To build maximised teams, use the #1 game for better workplace culture and foster powerful trust within teams – nudge vulnerability, empathy, and connections in situations where no one has ever previously admitted how they are really feeling. Download a Free Emotional Culture Deck to try it out for yourself here: https://www.ridersandelephants.com/the-emotional-culture-deck-pdf-download


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