Case Studies

Treology - sustainable furniture

The Catalyst

At Treology we were considering how to structure a strategic visioning exercise for our company.  Treology makes furniture and sculptural objects of desire.  We focus on fine craftsmanship and integrity in all that we do.  We were ready to take our next big step, and plan for the future of the company.  We needed to work through our strategic planning for the next 12 months, in particular focussing on the next quarter of the next 12 months.  Cheryl introduced me to a futures thinking tool called the Three Horizons.

The Action

The Three Horizons tool gave us a very clear and simple structure to work through to help us focus on our strategic vision. It is simple in a company to think about about what has happened in last quarter, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed looking ahead.  This tool gave us focus for what to concentrate on.

 We found the tool fantastic to use.  It is very well structured and so easy to follow.   You start at number one, move through to number two and so on. The structure is clear, and helps you move through process in a very clear and simple way.

 It’s very simplistic in its presentation, visually not too daunting, the cartoon characters and lines, minimal words, flowing lines makes it great to follow.  Coming from a commerce degree background, the textbooks and diagrams traditionally used for this sort of strategic planning can be dry – this was a fun tool to use.

 Cheryl spent a short time showing me through the way she uses it, her explanation was great and helped me guide my other director easily through the process.

 “The Three Horizons tool simplistically solves a complex problem.”

The Outcome

What has in the past taken us a full day to work through, we nailed in 2 hours using Cheryl’s Three Horizons tool.  This was great as it increased our strategic productivity.  Being strategic through process – that’s where we want to be. 

“Working with Cheryl has helped us to find and utilise a great tool to simplify and clarify our thinking, enabling us to work more productively and to move our company forward into the future.”

Andrew Davies
Managing Director


St Albans School Leadership Program

The Catalyst

Since 2006 St Albans School had been working towards achieving a new leadership structure (circular rather than hierarchical), as shown in the diagram. The school principal, Ginnie Warren, had worked successfully to develop a more collaborative model of leadership – one that supported effective communication and leadership growth. 

St Albans Leadership

Having a large leadership team created both strengths and difficulties. Ginnie commented that so often teachers win, or are assigned, complex leadership roles in schools but they do not receive training and support needed to develop their leadership. The St Albans School senior leadership and Board of Trustees recognised the need for a Leadership Development Program to support leaders to grow their talents, capabilities and skills, and in doing so continue to strive for personal and organisational excellence.

The Action

Dr CherylDoig was contracted to design and facilitate regular workshops with the ten members of the leadership team, over the course of a year. In between these workshops team leaders used some of the ideas and tools to grow themselves as leaders, and to work with their teams. This whole school approach meant that the workshops were not ‘stand alone’ events but rather another connection point on the leadership journey.

The Principal, Ginnie Warren, was clearly a ‘learner’ alongside her team members, and participated in all workshop sessions. These workshops were responsive to the needs of the group and included such themes as:
• What makes an effective leader?
• High quality learning conversations
• Growing effective teams
• Delegation and managing self
• Communication and collaboration – including feedback and coaching

The focus of the leadership sessions was co-created by the team as issues and areas of need arose. Due to the earthquake this programme was deferred and ran from term 3 2011 – term 3 2012. Stage two of the professional development programme (2012 component) included the introduction of mechanisms for leaders to get feedback from team members regarding their team leader’s effectiveness and areas for development. From this feedback leaders developed new GROW goals. New job descriptions were developed for team leaders.

The Outcome

Members of the team are more aware of the academic role of leadership. They understand their “Whole Brain Thinking”HBDI profiles and those of their team members. As a result of the work undertaken with Cheryl there are more powerful and courageous conversations taking place and team leaders are visiting team members’ rooms more often. Team leaders are seeking professional readings to support the development of their teams. They are taking stronger responsibility for the development of their team culture.

Some of the feedback from team leaders is as follows:

  • When asked to change or adapt her programme this was no problem whatsoever. She is very astute at reading people and manages her delivery accordingly.
  • Cheryl was inquisitive and supportive about what we thought and how we had reached these thoughts. Cheryl’s demeanor was always one of “I respect what you think and would love to hear more!” I found myself being very candid always and wanting to seek reassurance or advice about being more effective. There was no bias present and the opinions and ideas of all were heard with respect and interest.
  • Cheryl was able to deliver content that was very relevant to the leadership team at our school and the issues we are facing as well as future leadership directions.
  • E te rangatira ko Cheryl, 
    tenei te mihi manahau ki a koe.
    Ko te Amorangi ki mua, ko te hāpai ō ki muri.
    With you as the leader before us, we are the ones who follow in your footsteps.

A full report is available on request.


Te Haeranga Cluster

The Catalyst

The Te Haeranga cluster consists of four Christchurch primary schools – Banks Avenue, Cashmere, Isleworth and Mairehau. These four schools had worked together for a number of years, firstly through a combined information communication technologies (ICT) contract and then as an Extending High Standards Cluster. The Principals of these schools recognised the need to grow leadership across the cluster in order for their schools to thrive in the future and to distribute the leadership more widely. They contracted Dr Cheryl Doig to work with their cluster, developing leadership capabilities within and between their schools.

The Action

Cheryl has designed and led leadership development across these schools, meeting with principals each term to challenge their thinking, explore new possibilities and support their personal and organisational leadership. This has included the setting up of a googlesite where resources are shared and added to, helping to grow levels of accountability and encourage greater collaboration between workshop sessions. Senior leadership teams also meet with Cheryl for leadership development, and there are combined workshops with the principals. Leaders at all levels have been introduced to a range of different tools and ideas; been expected to demonstrate and challenge each other; developed a range of ICT and web 2.0 strategies; and been exposed to some of the latest research and thinking about leadership.

The Outcome

“Throughout the four years of Professional Development opportunities that we have had with Cheryl, she has offered us challenges, affirmation and exposure to new ideas to help us reflect on our current practice and make a difference for our students and their achievement. Cheryl has been able to do this through her ability to challenge in such a non-threatening manner and because she is so up to date with broader educational issues. Cheryl’s generosity in sharing of her expertise and knowledge goes well beyond what she is every reimbursed for and her commitment to enhancing leadership and therefore teaching and learning is extraordinary. Her confident use of IT tools has enabled our learning to continue between our PD sessions. We have no hesitation at all in recommending Cheryl to lead Professional Development with any staff, that staff being very fortunate indeed, as we have been.”
John Bangma, Principal, Mairehau Primary School; President Canterbury Primary Principals’ Association
Jenny Washington, Deputy Principal, Mairehau Primary School


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