Diversity Winner, Community Vision shares their formula for success

It was Charles Darwin who famously stated that strength and intelligence were not the most important drivers of survival and success in the animal kingdom, but instead it was adaptability to change. The same can also be said for the corporate kingdom, which is a reality that organisations in the Aged Care and Disability sectors like Community Vision are being currently challenged with. Changes in funding schemes and increased scrutiny over service quality in the sector have caused the Board and Executive team at Community Vision to take a step back and think about the organisation’s future. Adaptability to changes in the sector is vital according to Board Chair, Greg Martin, who reflects on the importance of building a solid foundation of leadership and governance to achieve this.

“High on the Board’s agenda is the sustainability of Community Vision”, explains Greg, “That is, our ability to anticipate and prepare for the challenges ahead, while simultaneously offering the services our consumers need…this was not without challenges”. To achieve this Community Vision has invested in getting the basics right, an exercise that has been led by Greg and CEO, Michelle Jenkins. Michelle reflects on the important relationship between the Board and Executive, something she explains, “ensures that the Board has the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience to meet the needs of the future business.”

When asked about how to become more adaptable, Greg acknowledges that diversity and innovation have been critical for Community Vision. “Our Board members have diversity of knowledge, experience and skills in client service, government, business and governance,” explains Greg. “Our refreshed executive and senior staff supported by a new constitution and strategic plan are the foundation for applying diversity thinking to all aspects of our business going forward.” For a Board to drive adaptability, it must not only know its own business and, but also be able to draw on outside experience, which according to Greg, boils right back down to diversity. “The ability to understand what is happening and consider options in response is very much dependent on insights and wisdom of the board and executive”, explains Greg. “The wider the experience of all members, the better”

This is echoed by Michelle, who explains the need to continuously consider the mix of diversity. “Its important for the Board to regularly review their performance not only to the strategic needs of the organisation, but also their own personal contribution. This entails understanding not only what their skills are, but also what is required within the business“. This approach is without a doubt part of the reason why Community Vision were awarded a Southcare 2018 Difference Maker Diversity Award, recognising them as leaders in this space. Michelle not only reflects on successes from the Boards focus on diversity but also on where it can still improve. “We’re an average age over 50 so we also need to consider younger board members as well in order to create that diversity of thinking and also representation from our key business areas.”

The experience of Community Vision highlights the importance of driving organisational adaptability with meaningful diversity. Continuously unpredictable and rapid changes to operating environments are making the corporate world feel more and more like the wild, with survival dependent on adapting through diverse thinking.

Written by:
Brock Delfante, ELGP Graduate 2018 and Trainee Board Director, Community Vision

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