Challenge and Controversy

Challenge and Controversy

Martin Luther King gives his speech to a crowd in the US. The video is in black and white, it looks grainy and unclear compared to current digital streaming. I notice it outside the Soul of a Nation exhibition at the Tate Modern. There’s nothing unclear about the words though. Nothing ambiguous either when he says…

Our management and leadership programmes have been running at Network Homes for 18 months now. At one of the largest Housing Associations in London, over 100 managers from first line team leaders to the Exec. have been through our training. Results for the first year of our work have been stunning and it’s been great to see continual improvement as we work with managers.

Fiona Deal, Executive Director, People and Culture, gives the statistics, “Sickness outturn in 2015/16 was 9.81 days. For 2016/17, we’ve just achieved an outturn of 7.5 days (albeit against a 7-day target). Using an average salary calculation of £37k (£142 per person/per sick day) this has given us £104.8k of productivity savings. Our target is 6% for this year.

Staff turnover for 2015/16 was 23.9%. For 2016/17, we’ve just achieved an outturn of 18.7% – a reduction of 5%. This provides more organisational stability, and has contributed to a £220k underspend on our £600k recruitment budget (alongside some other measures.) Our target is 15% this year.

More posts are being filled internally and staff engagement is significantly up.” Fiona is delighted.

We’re pleased to have played our part in their success as part of a 3-year strategy that has looked at every part of their people and culture.

Just as we were about to shout this news from the rooftops, there was the fire at Grenfell Tower. When people lose their homes, family, friends and community, there are no words to express the shock, sadness and grief. We were all touched and our hearts continue to go out to the people involved. So many people Indigo work with have been involved; working out how such a disaster can be prevented in the future and making sure that the people from Grenfell are safe and taken care of. It wasn’t appropriate then to crow about our news.

You’ve seen it in the media. Residents, not just in Kensington and Chelsea, have been angry, feeling let down and questioning the motivations of their landlords. They want to know their homes are safe, that they can live their lives without fear and that whatever their circumstances they will be treated with respect and fairness. When staff are responding to this, managing the inevitable extra workload, and dealing with their own emotional response to something that will reverberate for years to come, Martin Luther King’s words ring loud and clear. Having good leaders is fine when times are comfortable and convenient. When there is challenge and controversy, that’s when leaders need to be exceptional and performance, engagement  and motivation need so urgently to be translated to front line impact.

Those leaders (and I’ve met many out there doing a great job post-Grenfell) see the bigger picture, listen to what is needed with compassion, vision, and good judgement, focus on the end results and get people acting, quickly, thoughtfully, steadily, calmly. They’re the ones to keep. Those with the potential to be like them are the ones organisations urgently need to develop, nurture and invest in.

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