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Get in the driver’s seat kiwi managers

6 August 2005

“Get in the driver’s seat kiwi managers” says world-renowned leadership & culture expert “Leadership drives culture. Culture drives leadership. They both drive performance, and it’s high time New Zealand managers got more seriously behind the wheel in terms of steering the culture of their organisation,” says a visiting American academic who specialises in organisational development.

Dr Robert A. Cooke of Human Synergistics International is in New Zealand to launch the fifth edition of Human Synergistics’ Australasian research book and says, “an organisation’s culture doesn’t change by itself. Leaders must change themselves before they can hope to change the culture of their companies.”

“Often, senior executives know what culture they want. They just don’t do it, or they don’t do it particularly well through their own leadership styles and strategies. This ‘culture disconnect’ reflects what Human Synergistics calls the ‘knowing-doing gap’ - there is a difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it, and there a big difference between knowing what culture you want and actually behaving in a way that genuinely sets the agenda,” says Dr Cooke.

“Human Synergistics’ Leadership/Impact Instrument is the measurement and feedback tool and based on data from over 2,000 senior executives in Australasia, Human Synergistics can see that executives describe their ideal impact as being very constructive – encouraging people to strive for excellence, maintain their standards, show trust in others and work together etc. This is the ‘knowing’ bit,” says Dr Cooke.

“Their direct reports however, describe their actual impact as leading people to behave in defensive ways – strictly adhere to procedures, compete with each other, find fault and strive to achieve very narrowly defined objectives etc. This is the “doing” bit – thus the ‘gap’.”

“Knowing and understanding an organisation’s culture provides critical insights into what makes employees think and act the way they do and how this impacts performance. There is a road map for organisational culture,” says Dr Cooke, “one which executives need to get behind the driver’s seat and steer through to avoid ‘gaps’ or potholes in the road. The destination is a successful and constructive organisation,” says Dr Cooke.

Dr Cooke, who is undertaking three seminars in New Zealand, has been the driving force behind the research programme for Human Synergistics International for over 20 years. He is director of Human Synergistics/Center for Applied Research in Illinois, and is Asso-ciate Professor of Management at the University of Illinois where he teaches organisational behaviour, organisa-tion development, and research methods.

Chairman of Human Synergistics in New Zealand and Australia, Shaun McCarthy says, “Having a highly respected academic like Dr Cooke here to launch the book - “Transforming Leadership and Culture” – is fantastic and we hope it stimulates debate within Australia and New Zealand on the critical role that leaders play in building their organisations’ cultures,” says McCarthy.

The data in the book ranges from culture data on 1,215 organisations, to leadership data on over 50,000 individual leaders in leadership and management positions. The book is a “state of the nations” review of the data collected from all Human Synergistics’ instruments with comments on the implications for culture, leadership and organisational performance.

Executives are invited to Dr Cooke’s seminars in Auckland and Wellington to learn more. Details are below.

Dr Cooke Seminar Details

“The Leadership Culture Connection”

Lead your organisation to a high performance culture Dr Robert A Cooke

True leaders are those who transform, shape and influence an organisation’s culture. Sustaining the culture, such as the organisational context of staff - the way they interact with each other and approach their work - must come from those in leadership positions.

Dr Cooke will present ground breaking research into leadership with the explanation of the Leadership/Impact Report. He will also advance your understanding of organisational culture and show how it can now be directly linked to financial as well as other indicators of organisational performance.

He is author of the Organisational Culture Inventory, which has received academic validation as the foremost measure of culture in organisations. It has now been used to survey over two million people in 40 countries. His Leadership/Impact Report is used at the top level in world-wide programs by companies such as GE, Ericsson, WorldBank, MasterCard and Silicon Graphics.

Dr Cooke will share his research findings into the factors that shape an organisation’s culture, with particular focus on the role leadership plays in building and changing an organisation’s culture. Attend to find out more from world renowned culture and leadership expert.

Wellington 8 August 2005 12.00noon – 2.00pm

A light lunch will be served from 12 noon to 12.30pm followed by the hour long presentation. At 1.30pm a question and answer session will be held.

Intercontinental Hotel, Featherston Room, 2 Grey Street, Wellington

Auckland 9 August 2005. 4.30 pm – 6.00pm

Auckland War Memorial Museum Refreshments will be served after the presentation.

“Government Organisational Cultures – a league of their own?”

The State of the Nation

Shaun McCarthy

Does your organisational culture make you an “employer of choice”? Does it attract high achievers? Does it support the pursuit of excellence?

Chairman Human Synergistics New Zealand and Australia, Shaun McCarthy will discuss the research on cultures in New Zealand government organisations and review current data from surveyed clients in the government sector from New Zealand and Australia. The local data indicates that there are some challenges in front of government organisations if they are to meet State Services development goals.

Government Cultures – Accountability and Excellence

Dr Robert A Cooke

Hear Dr Cooke speak about what represents an ideal culture for accountability in Government from his extensive experience in the USA federal arena. What are we aiming for in terms of culture in such organisations? Does culture matter? What shapes and influences culture in this environment? How should cultures of the public sector be different to those of the private sector, if at all?

This is your opportunity to attend this free seminar and understand research driven data about the role culture plays for Government organisations, now and in the future.

Wellington 8 August 2005 4.30pm – 6.00pm

Victoria University, the old Government Building, access from Bunny Street, Level one, Lecture Theatre Four

To attend, please respond by 3 August to Catherine Dymock, Human Synergistics, phone 04 470 7700 or email or register online at

Released on behalf of Human Synergistics by Network PR (Victoria Rainbow). For more information contact Victoria on 021 2468100, email

About Human Synergistics

Human Synergistics are global leaders in the field of organisational leadership and culture. They provide a range of unique services in individual, group and organisational development through their own consultants and their network of over 400 Accredited Consultants throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Their emphasis is on measuring the relationship between human behaviours and performance to help individuals and organisation achieve long term sustainable high performance. Successful users of the Human Synergistics’ Integrated Development System number in the millions internationally, with over 12,000 commercial and governmental organisations basing their developmental efforts on Human Synergistics’ tools.

Human Synergistics began operating in New Zealand in 1979 and in Australia in 1989 and have offices in four major centres (Wellington, Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne). As part of the Human Synergistics International group of companies, they have access to the latest international research and experience, blended with a commitment to helping strengthen New Zealand individuals and organisations.


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