Building A Culture of Excellence- Aligning Culture and Capability for The Aged Care Sector

by Kim Yabsley (guest post) 

Significant transformation in the human services sector in recent years has created some unique leadership challenges for the aged care industry.

In Australia, legislative shifts and the move towards a consumer-directed care model result in challenging circumstances for many providers who are grappling with the operational implementation of changes to their people and process. The philosophy of consumer-directed care requires a re-orientation for effective service delivery.

We must adapt to survive.

Diverse skill-sets and cultural backgrounds represent a foundation problem for multi-disciplinary teams, coupled with regionally dispersed workforces and the challenge of attracting and retaining quality staff create a requirement for stronger leadership and innovative thinking. Yet, we are seeing that an increasing number of organisations simply do not have the foundation culture to maintain momentum in a rapidly changing landscape.

Engagement is key to healthy culture.

What seems simple on paper is often very challenging to implement. Sustaining improved culture requires genuine engagement, consistent teamwork, and high level trust-all interpretive qualities. More than ever we need to respond to the call for enhanced critical thinking across the aged care sector.

Inspired Engagement

The role of today’s leader in aged care is at least part shape shifter. Proactive responsiveness is a core skill for leadership in today’s aged care sector. In an environment where reactivity is entrenched, we often only recognise issues once we are dealing with the impacts, which leads to conflict, complaints, and cultural decline.

‘Inspired Engagement’ is a leadership technique, it emphasizes concurrently transgressing current and future states, developing insight, taking-action, expanding outcomes, and keeping people in the loop.

While the most obvious barriers to organisational success often relate to human error, there are some very real enablers that organisations can address. Good culture requires a people first approach, prioritising employee experience and effecting change. Effecting true culture change requires us to understand the narrative, to respond to it, and to manage it over time. Benchmarking culture is the first step.

‘Excellence in Care’ (EIC) is an organisational development model for aged care that ensures cultural change and improved service delivery. Based on the proven ‘Cultures of Excellence’ framework, EIC is a model for culture change and operational planning that considers the unique requirements of the aged care environment at local level.

Focusing on people, processes, and product, this model is an integrated approach to enhancing outcomes at organizational level through engagement, process review, and operational alignment to result in service delivery that demonstrates exceptional consumer directed care.

Diagnostic analysis is an effective mechanism for enabling a snapshot view of culture that takes a balanced look at engagement and operations as key enablers to delivering excellence in care, identifying capability gaps in achieving culture goals, and prioritising potential actions to provide a simplified pathway for engagement and operational innovation. This results in subtle yet effective shifts in the way we deliver care.

The Cultures of Excellence Framework offers a proven methodology for transformational change by providing pathways to expanded outcomes, for organisations and the individuals who inhabit them.  A transformed aged care sector is just a stone’s throw away when culture is the cornerstone of operational effort. For more information, visit