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How An Ex CEO Turned A Struggling Organisation Into One Of Australia’s Most Trusted Charities

August 22, 2019 Health and Wellness No Comments Email Email

Are employers really doing enough to create and foster ‘mentally healthy workplaces’ and resilience? Research states that, “91% of staff believe being mentally healthy and resilient in the workplace is extremely important, yet only 51% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy and resilient.”[1]

Although resilience has been dubbed a ‘buzz word’ and has been disparaged by many naysayers, individuals and teams need it now more than ever. Many Australians currently face disruptive challenges, such as AI and the automation of workplace, economic uncertainties in which businesses are seeking to do more with less and a shift in the labour market in which historically secure positions are being turned into casual or part time roles.

An individual who can attest to the power of resilience is Simon Rountree, Founder of Change Ready. Qualified in teaching, management and positive psychology; he is a recognised expert in change leadership and a pioneer of workplace wellness programs. In 2001, Simon joined Camp Quality as the incoming CEO. At the time, the organisation had some concerning operational issues with reducing levels of productivity, declining revenue in the millions of dollars, low staff morale and satisfaction rates, a 45% staff turnover rate that was 30% higher than industry standard and sick leave rates that were twice as high as industry standards.

Despite this, in just three years, Simon flipped this on its head by introducing his acclaimed ‘ORANGES Program’ – Australia’s first science based and measurable corporate wellbeing program that helps build optimistic and resilient people and workplaces. This evidence-based wellbeing program was introduced to thousands of stakeholders within the organisation and provided individuals and teams with the skills and tools to look at what is right with life rather than what is wrong and in the process completely shifted the attitude and mindset of its people. He went on to commercialise this program and successfully deliver it to the likes of Telstra, Westpac and Bunnings.

From Simon’s leadership, Camp Quality went from financial difficulty and servicing a few thousand children, to long term financial security and becoming Australia’s most trusted and largest children’s charity that provided cancer support to over 250,000 children each year.

Simon Rountree says, “The business world is in a state of dynamic change with disruption affecting entire industry sectors at an increasing rate. To stay relevant and competitive businesses must evolve and shift workplace behaviours that are preventing growth and increasing risk. To address the challenges of constant change you must provide measurable and practical tools that allow the workforce to cut through the complexity and uncertainty of these challenges and deliver tangible and immediate impacts that develop resilient people and teams.”

Simon adds, “Resilience is a skill that anyone can learn not only to survive but to thrive, and it’s a crucial element in our overall happiness and satisfaction levels. So, if the science tells us this then why wouldn’t you want your workforce to learn and develop this skill further.”

To help any individual build their own resilience, as well as their teams’, Simon has shared his three expert tips that can be applied both in the workplace or personally:

  1. Change the narrative: When something bad happens, we often relive the event over and over in our heads, rehashing the pain. This process is called rumination, and it prevents us from thinking positively and moving forward. One easy way to counteract this is to maintain a journal and write down each day some of the good things (no matter how small they are) that happened to you, as this helps build a more optimistic mindset.
  2. Develop Proactive Language Skills: K Reivich & A Shatte in their book The Resilient Factor suggest that people who tend to actively look for solutions to a problem can cope better. For example, an easy way to change your mindset is to swap your language from “I knew this would happen to me” to “What am I going to do about this?”.
  3. Managing Our Emotions: There are no good or bad emotions, it’s only the behaviour that stems from it that determines whether the emotion is good or bad. By asking ourselves “Is this emotion serving me well right now”, we can check in on how we are feeling at that time and make a choice as to whether we want to stay in that emotion or not.

Simon concludes, “Resilience takes time to build, so don’t get discouraged if you still struggle to cope with everyday problematic events. If you can focus on practising these simple skills then over time you will increase your ability to bounce back from the challenges and setbacks that come your way.”

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