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Purpose & Performance – Putting People at the Centre of Your Strategy


Thursday, 4th December 2014 at 10:10 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
An organisation is only as good as the people it keeps, writes Lali Wiratunga, National Marketing Manager, Social Sector Banking at Westpac who offers his tips on how Not for Profits can put people at the centre of their performance strategy.

Thursday, 4th December 2014
at 10:10 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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Purpose & Performance – Putting People at the Centre of Your Strategy
Thursday, 4th December 2014 at 10:10 am

An organisation is only as good as the people it keeps, writes Lali Wiratunga, National Marketing Manager, Social Sector Banking at Westpac who offers his tips on how Not for Profits can put people at the centre of their performance strategy.

The end of the year is a great opportunity to reflect on the year that has been, recognise the performance of your people to achieve your organisation’s mission and re-evaluate priorities for the year ahead.

Whatever your organisation’s successes have been in the year that was and whatever they will be in the year ahead, is in no small part down to the people in your organisation. Talk alone does not get you very far – to truly benefit from and retain these people – your board and management team must invest actual energy in them.   

To help you, Lali Wiratunga, National Marketing Manager, Social Sector Banking at Westpac explores how you can put people at the centre of your strategy.

1.    Managerial and leadership skills – a science and an art:  The science can be learned from theory, but increasing the likelihood that your team will succeed is an art. Just like a grandmaster’s painting this art is comprised of several layers: managing uncertainty and change; communicating context, business focus and strategy; and motivating and inspiring others. A foundation pillar for your team to receive your words of wisdom and take action based on them – is trust (see more “Proven ways to earn your employees’ trust” from the Harvard Business Review)

2.      Expectation setting: In leading any team, sharing is very important. Setting expectations can accelerate the work being conducted. Creating clear guidance on the organisation’s vision and goals and how the team member’s work aligns to these helps with productive and focus. This is not just relevant for new team members but anyone within the organisation.  Some leaders may assume that their staff knows what is expected of them.  To get it right – the one assumption to make is that it is your responsibility to be clear.

3.      Regular face to face time: It is of vital importance to have ‘face time’ with your team. Even if your team works virtually there are technologies available to assist this – funnily enough one of them is actually called facetime. At these meetings, performance against aligned activities and professional development should be on the agenda. As a leader, your responsibility is to think about your availability for these meetings, communicate expectations of what the meetings should cover and enable a flow of communication. For more on performance reviews see Entrepreneur’s “5 ways HR technologies can improve performance reviews

4.      Career mapping: Now’s the time of year for your people to assess their successes and  – yes even their failures – of the past year and decide what they want to achieve professionally and personally in the year ahead. Assessing what worked and what did not will help your people and you identify their strengths and areas for development.

Setting goals for the year ahead – through a considered career planning tool –  provides structure. By Your people writing out their goals for specific periods – six months, a year ahead and three years from now will enables focus. Also it helps the management team to work with their people to help them achieve their goals.  How empowering would it be for your people to know that the management team backed them in achieving their personal goals? Through this empowerment trust, loyalty and advocacy follow – all are crucial for a high performance team that will help you to help others.

5.    Learn for life: Identifying gaps in your team’s skills and knowledge base and work out what you need to improve upon. Addressing the skill gaps does not always require formal training schemes; your team can look at broadening their skills by getting involved in all aspects of the organisation – this may mean offering secondments to another department, or even partner organisation.

Sometimes for your people it will not be about what they learn but who they can learn from. Suggesting that senior people in the organisation and in partner organisations mentor people in your team can also build understanding across the organisation. Scheduling time in with your team for regular catch-ups can yield results for all parties.

Being willing to share knowledge and expertise within the organisation – can ensure that your organisation takes full advantage of the skills of each team member beyond the parameters of their role description.

6. Be Open: Strategic leadership of your most valuable asset – your team – is a journey not a destination. There will always be something new to learn, adapt and implement. So approaching this journey with an open mind – to listen and learn from within and beyond the organisation can be the key to unlocking your own leadership potential and empowering your team.

For more information, visit Westpac Social Sector Banking. www.westpac.com.au/socialsector or to ask a question, email socialsectorbanking@westpac.com.au. Connect with Lali Wiratunga via LinkedIn


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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