Staying vigilant: Balancing your operating framework – Predicting the threat, assessing and managing unreasonable complainants at first contact

Ms Kim Herbert1,2, Mrs Lisa Brand1,2
1Cyntropy Pty Ltd, Sydney/Brisbane, Australia, 2nandin (Deep Tech Incubator), Lucas Heights, Australia

Imagine that overnight, your workforce went from 600 to 2,500 and the number of workplaces went from three to 110. How would your response systems cope?

Whilst working at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, this was our co-presenters reality. The incidence of both external and internal workplace violence increased. The system for protecting workers was inherently unable to respond to the increased complexity, dispersed workforce and risk profile.

Led by the former National WHS Programme Director and National Compliance Manager, we will explore an innovative approach to re-balancing operational frameworks.

Points of Difference
– Eliminating and minimising risks by design. To ensure effective management of risks to workers and organisational performance, an operational framework must be adaptable, scalable and responsive to changes in the operating environment. What happens with we apply academic theory and take a problem-centric approach to re-designing response systems?
– Change your thinking; when Compliance Officers run HR. Human Resources (HR) is rarely seen as providing compliance and enforcement services. It’s perceived as generic, soft and fuzzy. What happens when risk-control practitioners take over a “people-management” function?
– Intervening sooner, better, for greater outcomes. By building risk-controls into our response systems, how far can we move on the intervention spectrum (predict, rather than react)?

– The principles of Moore’s Strategic Triangle were used to assess, rebalance and monitor the framework.
– An agile approach and user-centred design aligned service delivery (balancing compassion and compliance).
– A harms-minimisation approach (Sparrow’s Theory of Operations) introduced best-practice for compliance and assurance work.

Key results (under 12 months):
– $1m saved annually
– 30% reduction in cases
– 79% reduction in the average case duration (504 to 107 days)
– 500 employee interventions
– 20% reduction in operational compliance staff
– 2yrs person-time saved.


Founded in 2017 by Lisa Brand and Kim Herbert, Cyntropy is a 100 per cent female owned start-up and member of the award winning nandin Deep Tech Incubator.

Lisa Brand

Lisa is a transformation management specialist with over 15 years’ experience in strategic design and management of workforce capability, health, business compliance and risk. Lisa is a certified Organisational Coach, qualified trainer.

With a background in psychology, she has diverse risk-control and behavioural analysis experience in private, State and Federal government sectors, including the Australian resources sector.

Lisa is meticulous, agile and pragmatic when it comes to enabling users to self-adopt required change. She has delivered operational transformation in environments ranging from coal mining sites to senior executive boardrooms.

She specialises in resolving complex organisational factors, increasing individual and team performance and ensuring capability uplift. As the G20 Australia National Safety Manager, she designed and implemented the G20 safety management system in under 12 weeks, enabling the management of risks to a workforce of over 7,000.

Lisa is currently studying law and raising two teenage daughters – ask her which is easier!

Kim Herbert

An experienced Project Director, Kim started her career as a software engineer.  She specialises in business transformation, using data science, agile and user-centred approaches to integrate human behaviour and technology.

Kim has over 20 years’ experience working across regulation, systems engineering, compliance and project management. Kim has held senior leadership roles across multiple Federal agencies and led business compliance functions for organisations in Australia, Asia and the US.

As the National Manager of Wellbeing and Analytics at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Kim led an agency-wide transformation programme that realised $1m in direct savings annually and improved the health of over 500 employees.

Kim loves governance, risk-control and compliance!!  She has commanded Federal inspectorates and regulated the Australian Intelligence community.

Kim is a certified Scrum Master, qualified trainer, investigator, lead auditor and lecturer at ANZSOG.  She has been a freelance professional in the Australian music industry for over 15 years and held compliance roles at national music festivals. She loves to code and ski (not at the same time) and is a volunteer therapy dog handler.


* Lisa Brand

– MPhil BPsych (Hons) Postgrad Dip (Clin Psych).

– Certified Organisational Coach

* Kim Herbert

– BSc Computing Science (First Class Honours and the University Medal)

– Certified Scrum Master

Lisa and Kim are experienced educators across the public sector. At the continued invitation of Harvard’s Professor Malcolm K. Sparrow (an international expert in regulation and risk control), both Lisa and Kim guest lecture at the executive program Managing Regulation, Enforcement and Compliance.

Let’s put it simply: Lisa debugs people, Kim debugs systems.  Together, they are the “Coach and the Coder” who transform the way people and systems interact.

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