From Implementation to Inspiration
The ‘Implementation to Inspiration’ session began with a recap of the journey the region’s providers had been on over the past 12 months. NDS had held three readiness sessions in the six months prior to the rollout of the NDIS and then followed these with three Implementation forums, which addressed issues and provided guidance on the NDIS processes and the translation of policies into practice.
Following this, providers were asked to reflect on and share stories about the positive impact the NDIS has had on the participants they support or their organisation. Whilst some providers in the forums initially found this reflection difficult, amidst dealing with pressing practical challenges of the roll out, the inspiring stories quickly emerged.
The stories told of the positive impact on individuals of being able to exercise choice over what, where and when supports were provided and control of who provided the support. We heard about people who have made major steps towards living full and ordinary lives; trying new activities, connecting with community activities, commencing jobs and learning about the positive impact that choice can have on an individual. Providers shared how they had reviewed their service offerings in conjunction with analysis of what the market was demanding, working towards making NDIS operations their “business as usual” and taking the opportunity to do things differently.
Using this as a catalyst for the rest of the afternoon, the focus was on the importance of organisations staying connected with their primary purpose and reflecting on why they exist. This session sought to inspire organisations to be in the driver’s seat by reflecting on the journey already started and reinvigorating them about the future.
To do this, three key elements were investigated. Firstly, the importance of understanding and connecting to the organisation’s mission was discussed. Secondly, identifying the organisation’s unique value proposition and lastly exploring how the organisation is, or can be, the provider of choice for current and potential customers.
We used ‘The Golden Circle’ though model developed by Simon Sinek, a British-American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant, thought model to highlight the importance of knowing why you do, what you do and understanding why consumers choose your services. Sinek observes that most business know what they do and how they do it but that these are not the key drivers of customer loyalty. Sinek further discusses that the decision making areas of the brain are not connected to the language areas. Thus making a link to the more visceral elements of what drives people when making decisions. Thus, highlighting the influence of the “it feels right” decision making that drives consumer choice rather than a rational list of key service features. To learn more about Sinek’s model visit https://startwithwhy.com.
With new providers in the market and the restrictions of old service agreement parameters disappearing, it is timely to reflect on what sets one service apart from others. In business language this is sometimes described as a business’s unique value proposition. “A unique value proposition" is what differentiates your promise of value delivered from every other similar promise in the same industry.” This could be price, but is more likely to relate to service quality, staff attributes, responsiveness to requests, geographical areas served and alignment with the customer’s values. It is not about being different for the sake of it but knowing what sets you apart from other similar service providers.
The final discussion focussed on how organisations are encouraging and supporting participants to exercise choice and control, having the opportunity to self-direct their supports. This topic is large in scope and we focussed on how organisations ensure they are customer-centred in all that they do and the ways that they act are linked to belief that the customer’s needs come first.
Key points presented to drive a customer-first approach through the whole of the organisation were:
• Understanding what the customer wants
• Using customer data to capture customer insights and sharing this across the organisation.
• Focussing on what the customer wants and needs, and
• Developing products and services around those customer wants and needs.
This discussion tied in with the exploration on the Zero Tolerance Framework covered earlier in the day. This national approach to promoting human rights and preventing and responding to abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation of people with disability. This framework is responsive to key legislative and regulatory requirements and supported by practical resources for all stakeholders in an organisation from frontline staff through to board members. For more information visit the NDS Zero Tolerance website.
The move to embed the NDIS and its vision into Australian society is still in its infancy. There are challenges for people with disability, disability service provider and mainstream services. However, it is important to focus on why this reform was so hard fought for and positive stories that are starting to emerge whilst working collaborative to build this Scheme to the best it can be for people with disability.