Transforming an organisations culture is no simple job, but the gains from getting it right are considerable.
Children’s cancer charity Camp Quality knows laughter is the greatest medicine- and not only for ill children. After negativity nearly crippled the company (both financially and emotionally) in the early 2000s, it transformed its culture to center on positivity and hope, improving staff presence, contributions and corporate partnerships in the procedure. Gripping from a focus on cancer equalling death plus the culture of grief, despair, Camp Quality was also in danger of losing Victoria and NSW fundraising permits.
Rountree enlisted creator and CEO of Emotional Intelligence Worldwide Sue Langley to help in transforming Camp Quality’s Culture. “We needed to uncover what we stood for – our soul- and produce a credo that people would live each day,” Rountree says. He followed Langley’s advice that change is most successful when implemented in a myriad of ways across an organisation. Langley says: “Eventually these things begin breathing a life of their own. I say to them, ‘I’ll educate you on the thing you should know but you should get it into practice’.”
Camp Quality’s leadership team redefined its values and assignment, as the advertising team rebranded its logo, site and office space to remind people of Camp Quality’s slogan: laughter is the best medication. “If the appropriate instruments and strategies are introduced and employed using the complete dedication of senior management to adopt the change journey, amazing consequences can follow,” Langley says.
As an outcome of the ethnic transformation, Camp Quality found a 40 per cent decrease in sick leave and a 560 per cent increase in income. Like Langley and Rountree, Australian Drug Foundation CEO John Rogerson is comfortable with all the advantages of fostering positive organisational cultures. “Workers need to give their all. You wind up with a powerful organisation, whether that’s in the not-for-profit sector or in corporate.”
“We thought about why we’re here, that which we’re attempting to reach from a tactical standpoint, and how we were going to work towards that.
Based on Rogerson, great company culture originates from aligning why the reason your organisation does what it does. His method of culture was affected by Carolyn Taylors, The Power of Culture: Turning the Soft Material into Business Advantage, that was released by AIM in 2004. Taylor writes: “Culture is all about messages, so, culture management is all about message management. To change a culture you must recognise the sources of the messages your people receive in what is valued and then change them.” “That novel had an astonishing influence on me. We’ve taken that strategy into account,” Rogerson says. He says that as leaders, CEOs have a duty to show others what is recognized as appropriate behaviour and live out their values and organisations missions. “You can discuss until the cows come home, but people will just remember your actions. People see what I do as CEO and that must be consistent with what I expect from others. In the case you can’t do so, you don’t stand an opportunity at creating change.” “When it gets to that stage, you must support them all to go somewhere else in order that they’re able to get the most out of themselves.”