Join Newsletter

Nailing executive alignment and organisational health at MLC Life

Business Agility Australia 2018

Building a healthy organisation with an aligned executive team can create one of the most powerful and easily accessed competitive advantages, but this will only be achieved with commitment starting at the top. Join us while we share our journey working with the MLC Life executive team, preparing the organisation for the future.


MLC was an insurance business contained within a large traditional bank, purchased by a Japanese insurance business with a dream to create the best standalone digital life insurance business in Australia. One year into the journey, the CEO identified the need for the executive leadership team to lead differently and optimise the business for change rather than run - he explored agility as the mindset and mechanism.

Our transformation journey:

Building a relationship with the CEO and his executive leadership team, we portrayed the art of the possible – sharing what a healthy, aligned adaptive and agile organisation looks and feels like as well as expressing the risks if they continued with the current operating methods and practices. We reflected on past and present to understand constraints and pain points, co-designed a new operating rhythm to enable the leadership team to think and work differently and executed a safe experiment to test and learn from.

The co-design resulted in a structure and model where the team spends just enough time running the business and have more time to focus on the deep work of changing and transforming the business. This new way of leading includes cascading priorities through the organisation enabling everyone to understand what’s most important, how they individually and with their teams can contribute and how they can innovate to support the strategic direction.

By co-creating and experimenting with the new working practices and cadence, we established the importance of designing how an executive team can amplify their collective time and resources to:

  • Understand and leverage the strengths of the team to find ways of working that stimulate and boost the performance of their leadership capability
  • Create a shared understanding of what the strategic imperatives are, choosing how to execute on them, and building strong working relationships to accomplish
  • Build a cycle and rhythm to deliver value on immediate priorities with flexibility to adapt based on internal and external influences
  • Influence the ‘system’ to adopt curiosity, creativity and innovation to solve customer pain points whilst aligning to strategic priorities
  • Establish an approach that supports the CEO in gradually dialling up the focus on aligning the team at a course and speed enabling the business to both run and transform

To aid the broader organisation to respond positively to the adaptive ways of working we established a ‘pull based’ approach to change where lower level teams embraced agile, lean and design thinking approaches rather than forcing a particular model or issuing a directive.

Lani Beer


King & Wood Mallesons


Born in the UK and made the switch for love and to live by the seaside, my dedication to helping others make a difference in their work is unparalleled, heavily fuelled by reading, asking impactful questions and listening.  My passion is uniting people and teams to identify pathways through adaptive problems and opportunities.  I am energised by inspiring individuals and organisations to unlock progress and move forward to achieve positive outcomes.  I want my contribution to matter and to use my talents with others who want to make a difference.

 With over 20 years of change leadership expertise, I am an established coach and innovator who has successfully engineered and delivered business change and transformation to achieve immense business and customer value. Established in creating high performing organisations that can thrive in today's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.  My accomplishments have directly led to improved culture, advocacy and profitability for many organisations. 


Inspiring top-level executives, leaders and teams to influence future behaviour, achieve consensus and demonstrate results. 

Building organisational health and agility by enabling people and teams to cultivate better ways of working so there is coherence and flow between creating value, managing risk and eliminating waste.

Uniting and facilitating people and teams to identify pathways through adaptive problems and opportunities. 

Pioneering change by cutting through complexity to discover the most valuable ideas and driving collaboration and experimentation to support learning and growth.

Coaching and mentoring individuals and teams to minimise failure and achieve real breakthroughs. 

Currently working as an Innovator at King & Wood Mallesons elevating innovation through the hearts and minds of the organisation and their clients. Previously worked at MLC Life Insurance, NAB, ANZ and Barclays.

Location – Melbourne


Timothy Newbold

Director of Strategy



Tim is a curious wrangler of work systems and can’t bare the thought of clever people being held captive in a ship drifting towards irrelevance. As a Strategic Agility, Lean Startup and Innovation specialist, his passion lies in helping organisations and people thrive through deep cultural change during these volatile and uncertain times. Tim is also the co-founder of Skillfire, a Melbourne based Agile and Innovation consultancy.