Moody's Message: It’s time … for efficiency and change!
If there was ever a time for the sector in Victoria to explore how to deliver more efficient services for people with disability, now is that time.
We recently explored efficiency in our business efficiency podcast. With some inappropriate NDIS prices making it difficult for many Victorian providers to deliver quality services for people with disability (particularly those requiring day services and programs and therapeutic services, and those with complex needs), forward-thinking organisations wanting to survive and thrive under the NDIS are treating this challenge as an opportunity. Many are focusing their attention on work practices and processes that are not just inefficient but have the potential to be demoralising for staff who have to comply with (are victims of?) them.
I was reminded of just how demoralising working inefficiently can be for staff when talking with a member of my family recently. This is how the conversation went (with names changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike):
"She moved her desk so that when staff entered her office, Jane didn't have her back to the door whilst she was on the phone and having confidential discussions. The next thing you know, she's getting a call from head office telling her she can’t move the desk because all office furniture has been recorded as being in a particular place 'for OHS reasons'.
"To make matters worse, when Jane moved her desk, she needed to get a new power board so she could use the printer in the office. When she asked head office for permission to buy one [I’m not kidding] she was told she couldn’t."
As you might imagine, Jane eventually bought the power board herself and kept the desk in the place she’d moved it to, based on her assessment - as the manager of the regional office - that this would support better ways of working.
This example is not from the disability sector, but let’s not kid ourselves: Workers in our sector wanting to get on with the job of providing quality disability services, and often away from overarching management and supervision, are unlikely to respond positively to imposed hierarchies and systems developed for the mid-20th century. The benefits of efficiency and systems that don’t demand decision-making by committee are at least two-fold: expediting service delivery and potentially improving staff morale.
On a related theme, over the past couple of weeks, Fiona Still (NDS’s Manager of Sector Engagement), Gilbert Kruidenier (a self-described 'change rebel') and I have been holding regional board forums in Sale, Shepparton and Mildura. These workshops have featured presentations on NDIS transition, the new Quality & Safeguarding Framework, the NDIA’s perspective (with guest presenters from the Agency in Shepparton and Mildura – thanks to Nicole Mahar and Toni van Hamond) and Change Management (a discussion led by Gilbert).
In discussing change management and its application to the disability sector, Gilbert noted that once an organisation has decided to make change, too much time can be spent trying to convince the few staff (at any level of the organisation) that change is necessary, when you could be focusing your energy on working with those who are up for something different and ready to get going.
If you're in a leadership role with an NDIS provider, ask yourself the question: Do you want to be spending your energy convincing recalcitrant staff that you need to cut back on redundant processes and administration; or instead working with positive, enthusiastic staff wanting to develop new ways of delivering quality services with a minimum of bureaucracy - in ways that may fail but that are at least allowed to fail fast before your organisation moves on?
I’m pretty sure I know what the answer from most of our sector would be!
Do you want to find out more about business efficiency? Go to NDS’s Sector Development Podcast, which deals with this topic, and others, in detail. And check out NDS’s Workforce Hub for more information on innovative, high-value workforce practices.
See you next month!