About i

About Instinctive Business 

Instinctive Business is a consultancy specialising in workplace transformation – helping organisations, leaders and individuals shape better workplaces and work lives.

Some of the ways that I help you shape your workplace and work life include:

  • Workplace reviews – whatever your challenge, a workplace review will equip you with insight and strategies to get traction and shift shape
  • Workplace projects – consulting expertise and capabilities to help power up your workplace projects for a range of change strategies and workplace programs
  • Workplace consultations – individual consultations to help you deal with your workplace situation and help you on your path whether you choose to stay or move to another.

The workplace is just like a living creature – its mood and energy changes. During challenging times – change, chaos and crisis – a fight or flight response can result in a positive and productive workplace swiftly morphing into fear, disarray or inertia. This can leave executives frustrated, bewildered and wondering what to do next. It can leave individuals questioning whether it’s time to take flight.

I, Jennifer Straughan, created Instinctive Business to help you if your workplace is not working the way you would like and navigate the shift to a more positive and efficient workplace. Or, if you simply want to create and shape a workplace that is fit for purpose and a more meaningful work life.

Who ‘i’ works with 

I work with leaders with some form of workplace conundrum. Frustrated and stuck, they are sensible enough to know they need someone with first-hand experience of their pain points and the workplace expertise and insight to help them create a shift. I work with individuals who are feeling the pain and need help dealing with the challenges in their workplace – whether they choose to stay or move to another workplace.

How ‘i’ will approach your workplace 

Every workplace is different – it has its own unique form and energy. I look at each workplace as a whole and from a different angle thinking outside the box to join the dots and make the connections – often long before others are remotely aware of what is going on. Within the workplace I adopt a holistic approach which draws upon my workplace expertise and integrates three key dimensions – strategy, structure and energy, people & culture.

Practical, tailored and insightful workplace solutions 

With a deep understanding of what works in workplaces, I provide insights and strategies to help you get traction. Individually tailored, instinctive workplace solutions are practical, sustainable and long term ensuring you are set up for success. 

When you know what is really going on in your workplace and work life you are better equipped to deal with it. Whatever your situation, I can help you quickly shift into the best possible shape so you can get where you need to go.

About Jennifer Straughan

I am a workplace consultant with expertise in workplace transformation. My qualifications include an MBA and Bachelor of Commerce. I know a lot about how workplaces work because I have worked in a lot and experienced them first hand in their full glory – both as a leader and at the coal face. My purpose has always been to help leaders create more evolved and efficient workplaces and help individuals shape more meaningful work lives. 

With Instinctive Business I am bringing together my intellect, experience and instinct – a formidable and unusual combination. Highly intuitive, within the workplace I swiftly pick up what’s going on but not spoken, and sense what lies beyond the horizon but is not yet apparent on today’s timeline. I integrate this insight and knowledge with my workplace expertise to help you swiftly get your workplace into the best possible shape for your current situation and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

My workplace knowledge has been acquired over 25 years across a number of business streams – predominantly People & Culture. After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in the mid 80’s, I hit the top end of town (Melbourne) working with BHP Steel in marketing and sales before moving into sales management with Colgate Palmolive. At the time, having learnt to meditate at university, I was increasingly aware of my quiet inner voice and sense of ‘knowing’ – where individuals would best fit in the workplace, hidden talents and what was going on in the workplace but not spoken about. 

In 1993 I made a conscious career move into HR and after a few years focused on working in change environments. I helped shape cultural transformations with AMP and Sumitomo Australia and a restructure with Johnson & Johnson during the closure of their local manufacturing plant at Botany. Each workplace had a different energy and dynamic – I was totally intrigued.

Becoming a workplace transformation specialist

After completing my MBA in 1999, I decided to go into as many workplaces as possible on a contract basis to explore workplace energy and develop my skills in shaping the workplace. Each workplace had a different strategy and its own unique challenges.

At the same time I taught meditation, mindfulness and harnessing the instinct to executives – so in 2000 Instinctive Business was born.

I started on small projects then worked my way up to larger assignments in consulting, management and executive leadership roles. After completing an assignment as a Head of HR for Nuance a global travel retailer during a fast-paced retail turnaround in 2009, I set off across Australia and worked in corporate, regional and remote workplaces for large complex organisations, emerging SMEs and everything in between. For the following nine years, I put myself right out there to experience the workplace from every aspect – some were leadership roles whilst others were low-profile project roles. However, where I learnt the most about the workplace was when I was ensconced in the trenches – that was truly enlightening if not at times frightening.

From Sydney to Humpty Doo, Darwin to Dubbo and Katherine to Karratha my workplace repertoire rapidly expanded to include private and public organisations and blue and white-collar workplaces across a diverse industry base. I helped shape workplaces undertaking almost every possible change and business strategy – from large tenders and bids, fast paced start-ups, greenfields and joint ventures to brownfields, transformations, turnarounds, business transmissions, large scale restructures and rightsizing.

At the same time I developed my capabilities across all the levers that needed to be pulled to created a shift – strategy, planning, culture, leadership, communication, organisational design, employee relations, industrial relations, change management, engagement, coaching, talent management, L&D, OD, career transitioning and stakeholder relations,

I worked with companies that included AACQA, Adelaide Brighton, AGC, ANZ Bank, Cape Industries, Carinya of Bicton (Aged Care), Coles, Crocodile Gold, Curtin University, Downer, Essential Energy, John Holland, NSW Department of Transport, Retail ready Operations (Coles), SMC ANZ, Sodexo, Sydney Trains, Texcom Civil & Mining, Yamatji Civil & Mining, and plenty more.

Along the way, I also helped a lot of people cope with their workplaces and worked with unemployed Indigenous workers to help them get into the workplace and shape a better work life.

Becoming a workplace energy specialist

Just as the starlings fly in murmuration and form different patterns to protect themselves from predators, over those years I learnt to quickly recognise the different patterns of behaviours in workplaces, specifically when people were threatened and felt fear, anxiety and stress. These behaviours created an energy or ‘vibe’ and I become highly skilled at reading this workplace energy. I integrate this skill and insight – my instinct – with my knowledge of which people levers to pull to get traction and swiftly shift the shape of the workplace.

When I am not in a workplace working, I practise meditation, keep fit with yoga and pilates, chill out in my Tasmanian vineyard hideout and walk in the Tassie wilderness. I am a total tea fiend and Nordic Noir addict.

Qualifications

  • MBA (HR major), Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Marketing), Deakin University, Geelong

Having mastered my craft, you will receive the sort of help you may never have had before. Those who engage me and listen really feel the benefits.