Our purpose at work: serving organisations that do good

View PDF

Helping organisations that do good do better is central to our management consulting practice. The work we do with for profit and not for profit organisations that play a constructive role in creating a better world is above all else why we come to work and what gives us meaning and fulfilment in our professional lives. In last year’s Our Purpose at Work, we concentrated on the good work of some of our not for profit clients. In 2016 we were fortunate enough to serve close to 100 clients that do good— for profit and not for profit and clients that are having a positive social impact. Here is a summary of the challenges we helped some of them solve, relating to their role and purpose, strategy and growth, organisational alignment, governance and stakeholder engagement, and ideation and innovation.

Role and purpose

AFL SportsReady is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that helps young Australians develop careers through traineeships and educational opportunities. In 2016, we facilitated a workshop with the board and executive team that explored the future direction of the company, the climate within vocational education, the partnership with the AFL and the next three-year strategy.

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria is a member based organisation that promotes and celebrates agriculture through the Royal Melbourne Show, administering food, wine and livestock awards and managing the Melbourne Showgrounds, which hosts events all year round. Right Lane has had a long history of serving the RASV and in the past year helped its board to reach the position that the Show is a mass-consumer event that enables it to reinvest in its core purpose relating to the advancement of agriculture. We also supported the management team in testing and confirming its strategy, and staff in debriefing the 2016 Show so that the learnings from the event could feed directly into planning and improving the Show for the future.

Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank (VTMB) is a mutual bank, owned by its customers. VTMB focuses on providing the education community with a better value banking experience. Right Lane helped VTMB to define a new set of values and corresponding descriptors that are more closely aligned to their purpose and aspirations. Right Lane facilitated a workshop with a cross functional team including front line staff, managers and board members. The group drew on inputs developed through a series of interactions with employees to ensure the values captured the richness and diversity of views from across the organisation. The result is a set of values that capture the perspectives of VTMB’s staff and stakeholders, and connect with the organisation’s core purpose.

The Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic is an annual fun run and walk raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research. Its aim is to deliver a fun, healthy and inspirational event that brings the community together on Mother’s Day to support and remember those touched by breast cancer. Right Lane worked with the Mother’s Day Classic Foundation in 2016 to clarify its role and vision, and identify key initiatives, funding opportunities and resource allocation priorities.

In 2016 we helped REA Group with international strategy and values projects. REA Group Limited is a multinational digital advertising company, listed on the ASX, specialising in property. REA operates Australia’s leading residential, commercial and share property websites, realestate.com.au, realcommercial.com.au and flatmates.com.au, Chinese property site myfun.com, and iProperty Group which owns a number of leading property portals in Asia. REA believes everyone deserves to have a safe place to sleep – every night. To help make this a reality, the organisation has formed partnerships with Random Hacks of Kindness, Infoxchange, The Big Issue Women’s Subscription Enterprise and Launch Housing.

Strategy and growth

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) is a collaboration of Australian and international asset owners, bound together by their common interests as long-term investors in the capital markets. Together, its members have funds under management in the order of $1.5 trillion. In 2016, Right Lane helped ACSI develop a business plan, including analysis of changes in the external environment, initiative prioritisation and ways of working. In the same year, we helped the CEO to align the organisation with the strategy.

A long-term client of Right Lane, AustralianSuper is an award winning, low fees, profit for member superannuation fund. With assets over $115b, AustralianSuper has become the largest fund in the world’s third largest pension system. In 2016, we helped the CEO and executive team develop the fund’s strategic plan for the next five years. During the engagement, there was a focus on industry leadership, initiative development and prioritisation and performance measurement. In the same year, we helped AustralianSuper with its new growth strategy.

Cancer Council Victoria is responsible for 80 years of innovative work to prevent cancer, empower patients and save lives. Cancer Council has been instrumental in driving behaviour change in the community through campaigns such as SunSmart, Quit and tobacco plain packaging, providing support to cancer patients and their families, and conducting research into cancer prevention initiatives. We worked with the executive team and board to set the organisation’s strategic direction by articulating its mission, identifying its role in creating change, and articulating its strategy, identifying and prioritising a set of goals and initiatives to pursue over the next five years relating to cancer prevention, community participation, patient support and research.

Industry Fund Services (IFS) provides a range of services, most notably financial advice and credit control services, to not for profit superannuation funds and their members. Collectively owned by a subset of the funds, its status means that the services provided to the funds and their members are in keeping with the funds’ profit for members ethos. Right Lane worked with the management and board of IFS to test and refine the organisation’s strategy and direction.

MedAdvisor is a world leader in medication management and was established to develop and deliver software to help people make the best possible use of medication. Poor medication adherence is widely recognised as one of the most common preventable costs for health systems around the world. The incredible uptake of internet connected mobile devices presents and opportunity to deliver tools that help people with their medication use, at very low per-patient cost. Right Lane worked with MedAdvisor on its strategic plan, helping the executive team to resolve questions relating to the scope of its operations, prioritise initiatives and create a performance measurement framework.

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is an annual celebration of Victoria’s food and wine industry that attracts more than 250,000 attendees to over 200 events. Run by a small not-for-profit organisation, the Festival has grown from grassroots beginnings with only a handful of events in 1993, to now being recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent food and wine festival. In 2016, Right Lane worked with MFWF to create its new strategic plan. This involved in-depth stakeholder interviews, co-creating a fact base to support strategic decision making and facilitating workshops with MFWF’s management and board covering strategic questions, company statements, capability requirements and performance measurement. Each year MFWF works with community partners – Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Street Smart, HEAT, Yume and Urban Seed, all small-scale/local initiatives with a strong food connection – to celebrate and elevate their good work.

Seqirus Australia manufactures and in-licenses, markets and distributes vaccines with particular focus on vaccines for the prevention and treatment of serious disease. It operates one of the world’s largest influenza vaccine manufacturing facilities and supplies seasonal influenza vaccines to Australian and global markets. Right Lane worked with the commercial operations team at Seqirus to explore and test new market opportunities; we provided a structured approach to help the team make critical strategic investment decisions

Organisational alignment

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) reviews a wide range of decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies, including migration, refugee and social security decisions. The AAT aims to make its review process accessible, fair, just, economical, informal and quick. In 2016, Right Lane facilitated a workshop with the executive team to agree an approach to developing a project management office and reviewing the Principal Registry operating model.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) represents tens of thousands of manufacturing workers and is proud of its 160 year history of working to improve the lives of working Australians. In 2016 we assisted the union leadership as they undertook a critical organisational change and guided their steering committee in its work to manage the change process.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is a major Australian telecommunications company that provides mobile voice, text and data services. Its people contribute to the community through corporate volunteering and supporting Vodafone Foundation partners including The Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Hello Sunday Morning. Right Lane worked with the VHA senior management team to review the company’s organisation structure to identify changes and opportunities for alignment. We conducted a deep diagnosis of organisational challenges and opportunities and provided the organisation with rich data for decision making. This work supported key decisions regarding its operating model.

WISE Employment is a not-for-profit employment service provider that assists people who may find it difficult to navigate the job market. The organisation provides employment services under the Australian Government’s Disability Employment Services (DES) and jobactive programs. WISE empowers job seekers to find meaningful work and become self-sufficient, and helps employers to find the right staff by understanding their needs and providing them with workers from diverse backgrounds. WISE also operates three social enterprises that employ 200 people. Right Lane worked with WISE to develop an understanding of different approaches to getting the most out of frontline employees. We interviewed WISE leaders and experts, and clients from a range of industries, and conducted desktop research to identify and distil the best thinking on performance management

Governance and stakeholder engagement

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is responsible for implementing the Automotive Transition Plan – the Victorian Government’s response to the impact of the closure of the car manufacturers in Victoria. We worked with the Department to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback on DEDJTR’s approach and to identify ways to further improve the automotive transition program. This provided a level of assurance that the Department was on track in supporting automotive businesses and communities, and helping affected workers to transition to new employment.

The vision of the George Hicks Foundation (GHF) is to proactively help people break out of the cycle of disadvantage through educational interventions, with a particular focus on the Mornington Peninsula. In May 2016, Right Lane facilitated the Mornington Peninsula Philanthropic Summit convened by GHF that brought together participants from the community, the philanthropic sector, business and government to develop initiatives that have the potential to have substantial positive social impact on the Peninsula. GHF have subsequently established the Mornington Peninsula Foundation to address the key issues and work collaboratively with existing networks and partners to improve the lives of young people in the region.

Yarra Ranges Council represents over 153,000 residents located on metropolitan Melbourne’s eastern fringe. Yarra Ranges wanted to work with other councils to identify how they could jointly address emerging challenges through new technologies. Right Lane facilitated a workshop that brought together 35 leaders from a range of councils to identify opportunities for collaboration.

Ideation and innovation

Learning Seat is an online compliance training provider. Their courses provide students with an opportunity to learn about how to make workplaces safer and work practices more robust, thus reducing risk. We worked with Learning Seat to help the organisation identify and prioritise a set of new strategic growth opportunities, including ideation sessions to identify the opportunities and research to develop the fact bases for each opportunity, clarifying a pathway for the organisation to pursue its growth agenda.

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is the peak body for local councils in Victoria. During 2016, we facilitated a series of stakeholder workshops, including representatives from state and federal government and the private and civic sectors, to identify opportunities for local government business transformation, enabled through digital means. The project culminated in sector-wide opportunities, pathways and initiatives to improve community outcomes.

This article was inspired by stories shared by our staff. We all get caught up in our work, meeting short term commitments and pushing through the next block of busy projects. So it’s incredibly gratifying to ‘zoom out’ and reflect on our clients’ inspiring purposes and how we make a difference to their prospects and performance every day. Doing so strengthens our resolve to build a top quality, ethical consulting firm, helping organisations develop and implement better strategies. We remain invested in creating a new model of consulting that strikes a sustainable balance of interests between Right Lane, our clients and society.

Thank you to our clients for allowing us to share these profiles.

For more information

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this paper in further detail, please contact Marc Levy marc@rightlane.com.au or 03 9428 5336.