About Doug

Understanding what it takes to create a high performing team

In an increasingly complex world, it can be challenging to get your team to work together effectively

From my first job it became clear to me how important an outside voice can be when a team is trying to move forward. Without an environment where purpose, mastery and autonomy is actively fostered, its easy for your team to lose a meaningful connection with what you are doing and become disengaged. A motivated and connected team makes leadership a pleasure. I am on a mission to realign organisations with those principles and reconnect leaders with passionate, effective & motivated teams.

My Journey

I started my work life as a financial administrator for a toy wholesaler in Auckland. The Global Financial Crisis hit us hard and we could not have made progress around without the help of wise external voices (consultants, bankers and accountants) which provided objective guidance in an emotional time. Exposure to this at such an early stage in my career was invaluable in shaping my world view and showed me the importance of transparency and maintaining staff engagement early on.
I then moved into the financial services industry working as an operations manager then business development manager for Tax Management NZ over a 7 year period. While in this role I learned about the complexities of a growing business and the importance of adapting our offering to best meet the needs of our clients. While I enjoyed my role there, I knew I wanted to transition into a consulting role, working on different problems. It was around this time that I reconnected with Dan Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us which incorporates the Self-Determination Theory as its base.
I fundamentally believe that sustained high performance and people’s fulfilment and satisfaction in work go hand in hand. When I discovered, through Dan Pinks work, that this belief was backed by science and had a highly practical framework in which it could be implemented, the penny dropped and I knew this was what I wanted to do. I reached out to Dan Pink’s team and became accredited to run his Drive Workshop under license in New Zealand alongside my full-time job.
While working full time I guided several organisations through the Drive workshop, including my own company, Tax Management NZ. Even in this limited capacity the response to the message and the framework was incredibly positive. I could see that people resonated with a new approach to motivation and felt confident I was on the right path. After a few months and with the support of my existing company I left my great corporate job and took the step into working on my own.
While I loved the material in Dan Pink’s workshop, I realised that the one-day, off-the-shelf workshop was not enough to help my clients in the long term. To fill this gap, I decided to customise the material and develop implementation programmes off the back of a workshop drawing from a wide range of the world’s leading thought leaders on motivation and complexity such as Dr Jason Fox, Dave Snowden and Susan Fowler. In turn, I developed a deep understanding of the concepts underpinning intrinsic motivation and practical applications for individuals and teams. I rebranded and launched Sunergeo [pronunced ‘soon-erg-eh-oh’ and meaning ‘working together’ in ancient Greek].
I have since dedicated my working life to answering the question ‘How might we create an environment that integrates with people’s intrinsic motivation to do complex and knowledge-based work?” With a commitment to learning and practical application, the framework has been refined and tweaked to one that delivers long term impact with leading organisations such as Westpac New Zealand, Zespri International and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
If you believe that it’s possible to sustain high performing, engaged and fulfilled teams in your organisation and want to learn how we have implemented intrinsic motivation principles into New Zealand’s leading organisations you can book a consultation with me.

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