Culture change with The Emotional Culture Deck at Goodstart Early Learning

As a believer of the concept that organisations can’t change, but people can, Learning Partner Shavaun Petrie knew riders&elephants was just what she needed to help change the culture at Goodstart Early Learning.

"I was looking around pulling stuff together and nothing was quite right. But then I found your stuff,” Shavaun said.

As an organisation made up of 690 early learning centres, Shavaun needed an efficient and effective way to get team members aware of their emotional well-being at work and understand how it impacts and contributes to quality outcomes for children.

Shavaun wants to build teams who trust one another and are ultimately happy and engaged at work every day.


With a structure of operations managers, performance leads, centre directors, assistant directors and educators, Shavaun is able to use The Emotional Culture Deck amongst teams with different responsibilities and roles. She can also train up her own team of Pro Elephant Riders to have the deck as a tool at their disposal and act as change agents.

Knowing that people resist change – Shavaun is pleased with the willingness staff have shown within just a few weeks.

“It’s hitting the mark beautifully,” she said.

"I ran the Emotional Culture Deck session for the first time with a centre down in Tasmania and they loved it. I had a call to action at the end for 3-4 people to become involved as the Change Champions who will lead the centre through the Emotional Culture Change process and embed it as a way of working.

I wasn’t sure how many I would get, or even if I would get any… But as it turned out, I had 12 people put their hands up to be a part of it! Now I have a different problem – getting the group down to 3-4! What a problem to have…"

Following her initial work with the tools provided by riders&elephants, Shavaun had a one on one skype session with Founder Jeremy Dean to get some further thoughts and refine her ideas. They discussed how each team may have their own sets of desired feelings and how that can assist in creating more of an inclusive and understanding team environment. Jeremy also suggested that if there is resistance to share personal feelings – teams could start by thinking about how they’d like their families to feel and work backwards.

Jeremy posed the idea of having an emotional canvas on the wall at work as a reminder. This is constructed of individuals feelings and is a way of acknowledging individuality in the workplace as a whole.

Jeremy was quick to highlight that The Emotional Culture Deck didn’t just have a place in solving a problem. But could be used in the induction and onboarding process. This makes a point of showing staff that how they feel is valued from the get-go.

We’re looking forward to following their journey!

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