Leading from the Front: Margaret Thorsborne and Team on Steering Restorative Culture Change in Organizations

When three seasoned professionals with extensive experience in Restorative Practices (RP) across diverse settings and countries come together, the result is a reservoir of invaluable insights. Such was the scene when Marg, Sue, and Bev of the Ready4RP team, hailing from Australia, took the stage to guide their audience through the labyrinth of leading restorative culture change in myriad organizations.

The trio, with their hands-on experience spanning across continents such as the US, UK, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and their homeland Australia, have witnessed firsthand the challenges and breakthroughs organizations face while integrating Restorative Practices. Their collective wisdom crystallized into a framework designed to enhance the odds of successful RP implementation.

The focus of their presentation, titled “Leading Restorative Culture Change,” delved into a holistic and relational approach to ushering in a restorative culture, be it in schools, governmental departments, NGOs, community groups, or the Not for Profit sector.

Marg, Sue, and Bev initiated their discourse by addressing the intricate challenges that deep cultural change presents. Culture, the invisible yet omnipresent backbone of any organization, is composed of traditions, practices, attitudes, and beliefs entrenched over time. Altering this ingrained entity necessitates more than just superficial changes in policies or practices. It demands a paradigm shift in thought processes, attitudes, and daily interactions. The trio emphasized that to make restorative practices an organic part of an organization’s culture, one needs to delve deep and align these practices with the very ethos of the institution.

Shifting gears, the Ready4RP team explored the significance of assessing readiness using a relational approach. Instead of a mere checklist approach, they championed a method rooted in understanding relationships within the organization. This involves gauging how members of the organization relate to one another, understanding existing hierarchies, and discerning prevalent communication patterns. By understanding the relational dynamics, organizations can be better equipped to usher in a restorative culture that is accepted and cherished by all stakeholders.

Lastly, the trio delved into key findings drawn from their vast experiences aiding diverse organizations in their RP implementation endeavors. They shared real-world anecdotes, highlighting both successes and challenges, offering attendees a well-rounded understanding of what to expect and how best to navigate potential obstacles.

In conclusion, the Ready4RP team’s presentation was a tour de force, providing a roadmap for organizations embarking on or mulling over the journey of integrating restorative practices into their cultural fabric. With their unique blend of theory, hands-on experience, and practical insights, Marg, Sue, and Bev illuminated the path for leaders and changemakers, emphasizing that at the heart of any successful cultural change lies an understanding and appreciation of relationships. Their message was clear: to lead a successful restorative culture change, one needs to be both relational and reflective, ensuring that the change is not just on paper but woven into the daily interactions and relationships of the organization.