F-Word Conversation featuring James Roberts, Chief Digital Officer, Wellington City Council


Check out the highlights of our first ever #ecd F-Word Conversation featuring James Roberts, Chief Digital Officer, at Wellington City Council.

In these F-Word Conversations with Lotty Roberts, we will explore the topic of emotions at work, the role they play in culture and how we can help people express themselves fully at work.

Our first episode is with James Roberts. This was an amazing conversation where we learned about how he's used The ECD to set the culture of a new team as they've navigated the delivery of a digital transformation programme. 

"It's incredibly effective and powerful in the change it can influence and it's so easy to use and so accessible and because of that kind of a little bit of gamification around the card deck"

Watch the full F-Word Conversation conversation with James and learn more about the role of emotions and work and helping people express themselves – Click here > 

This is some of what else James had to say:

"When I first started at Council four years ago, I was involved in a transformation program. My experience with transformation programs is mixed and how often they actually achieve what they aspire to achieve is mixed, because it's so complex and there are so many different moving parts.

In essence, I don't think that at the time we were on track to achieve what we aspired to from that program. So we really had to kind of stop and re-gear and rethink. And as part of that, we did some organisational change as well.

That's when I moved into the role that I'm in now managing a large group of people and so what happened really was a whole bunch of disparate functions came together and needed to operate in quite a different and transformed way.

Part of that, it was almost like kind of stripping down a little bit of the old and recreating a new environment and way of working and culture that we wanted to operate at the same time.

My current boss has a very strong focus on improving the culture and performance of the organization and making it a great place to work as well. So I got a lot of autonomy and support to really work hard on the culture. I came across The ECD and it just seemed like a very simple and effective yet powerful way of influencing culture.

Towards the end of 2019, we did the first set of facilitated sessions which was approximately 20 plus people.

We did that and we got some really good stuff from that. I think everyone who participated there, got a lot of benefits out of it. If nothing else, it cemented the fact that that was important, you know, humans, important for us. And that we felt that building the culture was an important thing to do. We wanted to emphasize it as a priority."

We also asked James what he would say to other workplaces or leaders to encourage them to start to explore emotions at work and use The Emotional Culture Deck?

"I would definitely advocate using it. Most certainly. I think as I mentioned earlier on, there are a lot of different kinds of organizational behaviour and management, development and leadership, methodologies and practices and things that you can do and we've all done loads and loads of them.

But this one is, it's incredibly effective and powerful in the change, it can influence and it's so easy to use and so accessible and because of that kind of a little bit of gamification around the card deck, etc.

You know, people are very open to it. So I could say, it has to be one of the first choices I reckon if you're thinking about culture development, how do we better develop you the people that work in the environment, make it a great place to work, et cetera? For me, it'd be, you know, probably top of the list in terms of techniques to use. So I definitely encourage anyone to use it and am more than happy to speak to anyone as well if they want to come and have a chat about our experiences, more than happy too."


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