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Morphum´s Mission Renewal

Where is the greatest untapped potential in any organisation?

In it´s people, I would confidently say after leading Morphum Environmental´s organisational transformation process called the Mission Renewal (MR).

Founded in 2000, Morphum set out on a mission to unite engineering and environmental science, working with nature to support communities and leave a sustainable legacy. Morphum´s growth in the water industry has has seen them expand their reach and positive environmental impact, with offices now located in, Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Christchurch, and Melbourne.

In 2020, Morphum decided it was time to re-evaluate their mission, strategic direction and values. The MR began with each team engaging in a collective reflection process: unpacking how they were feeling; what they value and hope for; what needed to change in the way we work; what does Morphum mean; and who does Morphum want to be.

By listening deeply to my (then) colleagues experiences and genuinely connecting with their desires, I was able to weave ideas and experiences together with guidance from the directors and Dave Burton of Potential Development, to ensure all voices contributed to a cohesive bigger picture.

People were keen for change, with close to 200 ideas generated, all of which were actioned across the next two years. The project relied on the open-mindedness and proximity of team leaders and directors to work collaboratively, even when difficult conversations arose.

Ensuring employees could communicate their views openly and safely with leaders in the room, and experience first hand how they influence the evolution of the business was essential in crystalising this organisational transformation. When people have an embodied experience of change, the new creation we are working and living into will stick much more easily.

A leadership workshop followed by a blended online/in-person workshop for all employees were held to present the findings of phase one and allow the team to further shape the future of the business. The focus changed from figuring out who Morphum is, to why Morphum exists and how do people tell that story. The workshop was structured around a playful but powerful tool – Lego. This allowed people to step outside of their usual roles and boundaries, interacting with other´s ideas in a tangible way, and most importantly tell the story of what matters to them and thereby to Morphum.

This creative exercise generated the majority of the metaphors, images, and language used in Morphum´s new vision, values, logo, and brand imagery. The team experienced a paradigm shift as they realised that their technical skills used for protecting and regenerating the environment are their way of contributing to a much larger why.

¨Co-creating a thriving ecosystem¨ is a vision that people at Morphum feel connected to and are proud to work towards.

A total of seven long-term organisational change projects were also founded through the MR. These are project managed and led by teams of employees from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, who can now drive Morphum´s change process. Dubbed the ´Evolutions´, they include topics such as streamlining business processes; diversity, equity and inclusion; innovation; and te ao Māori.

The MR project was a perfect example of how over time organisations must not only adapt to external market changes but also to internal team needs by creating new ways of working and being. Organisational culture largely governs how we work. It is an ever-evolving element that soaks up all positive and negative ideas, influences, and actions interacting with it.

When we give employees the chance to voice and shape their experience, we unlock a huge amount of untapped potential in organisations, potential that can be transformational.


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