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AGED CARE workplaces need to be geared toward high
performance rather than mere survival in this era of reform, says
an international expert in the study of organisational culture.
New Zealand-based anthropologist Michael Henderson,
who heads consultancy The Corporate Anthropologist, is
presenting at Aged and Community Services Australia
National Conference in Adelaide in September.
A corporate anthropologist takes the core skill set and
perspective of an anthropologist and applies them to
organisations and their cultures, Henderson says.
"Having an adaptive and resilient culture within an
organisation is especially critical during times of change,
to not just manage but to succeed and thrive," says
Henderson, who is also an author of five books on mastering company
culture and human values.
Thriving workplace cultures
Being adaptive and resistant is essential in times of reform,
says 'corporate anthropologist'.
He says there are three fundamental strategies that
organisations provide to their market place.
"At the basic level they offer operational excellence; they
strive to deliver as well as possible the product or service
the market expects.
"At a more sophisticated level, they offer customer
intimacy, where it is the provider's job to learn the nuances
and offer an enhanced type of product or service.
"And then there is product leadership, where the
organisation ignores the parameters and what the market is
asking for and totally reinvents the market, like for instance
with Apple's products," Henderson says.
While most organisations had a combination of the three,
he said there was always a front wheel, and for aged care, that would
typically have been operational excellence.
To move from the first level to the second, he said an organisational
culture needed to be both aware and continuously adaptive to changes
in the market and consumer circumstances.
However, a culture of constant adaptation and change can be
very challenging and confronting to some staff, he says. "People will
tend to cling to a mindset and resist change but if you don't adjust,
you are gone."
Individuals, teams and departments instead need to move from a
cultural mindset to one of mind-share, he says. n
ACSA National Conference 2014 runs 7- 10 September at Adelaide
Convention Centre. Go to: www.acsaconference.org.au
WHILE MEETING physical needs is a must, addressing
emotional and psychological needs in design would allow people
to feel more included and connected, according to architect Guy
Luscombe, director of GLADStudio.
Luscombe was speaking about what designers could do to
go beyond universal design at COTA NSW's inaugural Universal
Design Conference in Sydney in late August.
"Universal design is seen in terms of making wider doorways and
that sort of thing, but it goes deeper than that," Mr Luscombe said.
A truer approach looked at making things more inclusive for
people who have a disability, are older or different in some way,
by removing the barriers that make them feel different, he said.
Luscombe presented findings from a recent trip to Europe
looking at innovative aged care and housing options for older
people, which he undertook after winning the Byera Hadley
Rather than specific aspects of design to include, Mr Luscombe
said it was about looking at what people need. "A part of the need,
which certainly came out in my tour, was that idea that people
wanted to feel happy and they wanted to feel comfortable," he said.
A lot of people talked about large windows as one of the
things they liked best, he said. In addition to letting more light
in, people said it was because it made them connected to the
outside world. "They can see what is going on. They felt they
knew they weren't isolated and were part of a community too."
It goes to the notions of feeling separated and not belonging,
which are among issues that come up in aged care facilities
where people feel they are alone, he said.
Universal Design Conference took place 20 -- 21 August at
Sydney Town Hall. n
Universal design should
go beyond addressing
accessibility to include what
makes a person feel happy,
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