Category: Knowledge Bank

  • Engaging your key audiences gets the good work done.  

    We may know the right thing to do. But do we always do it? And how do you inspire others to do the right thing?

    The Consumer Policy and Research Centre (CPRC) built the Building Customer Trust report; a clear, practical and engaging toolkit that shows electricity and water companies how to build trust with their most important stakeholder, the customer.

    Quite simply, CPRC researched ways that electricity and water companies create good customer experiences and now they are encouraging the adoption of these best practices across Victoria.

    As we learned in our previous article, it is CPRC’s role to drive policy development and better protect consumers. CPRC’s Acting CEO at the time, Petrina Dorrington, says that, “We had an initial report, but we didn’t know how to get the businesses on board and embed the principles in the community.”

    The initial CPRC research revealed a number of key principles and several case studies from which businesses could learn. So the organisation wanted to make it easy for the electricity and water sectors to engage with and apply their research.

    CPRC engaged Midnightsky to lead them through a process that Petrina says is, “strategic, creative and gets the best out of people.” The final report made the original, solid information clear and inspiring, as well as engaged key stakeholders in the power of the research.

    How did the report achieve this?

    Using language that speaks to your audience
    One key part of the process was to look at the language of the report. The report distilled the many research principles into four, making it more likely that businesses will remember and apply the information. The report used warm and direct language to reflect one of CPRC’s key aims; to build trust between people and their electricity or water supplier.

    The original research title was changed from the pragmatic but cold, ‘Principles of a fair consumer experience’ to the report’s more welcoming title that resonates with both industry and community, ‘Building Customer Trust’. And similarly, the language throughout the report was simplified to help communicate the messages more directly.

    Getting audience skin in the game
    The second key part of the process was to engage the broader water and electricity sector to build ownership in the report. This simple action can be extremely powerful.

    Workshops were held with key stakeholders, including utility companies and community reference groups, to gather out their feedback on the four key principles.

    The workshops also sought their input on the best actions that will help businesses to embed the practices. Petrina says that, “the workshops created excitement as the participants started to see how the report could contribute to positive relationships with customers and, in particular, support the most vulnerable in our community”.

    The report is already making its way into the right hands. It was launched in September 2017 by ‘Thriving Communities Partnership’ , a cross-sector community and industry collaboration that includes Yarra Valley Water.

    So next time you’re talking with your Electricity or Water supplier and you leave the conversation feeling heard, reassured and satisfied, it may have something to do with the good work of the good people at the Consumer Policy and Research Centre and their ‘Building Customer Trust’ Report.

    by Cressida Bradley

    Check out more stories in the category: Consult, Knowledge Bank

  • How to kick perfect goals while the posts are moving

    Or creating a clear and effective Strategic Plan

    The Consumer Policy and Research Centre (CPRC) recently achieved the strategic equivalent of the triple somersault, half twist in a pike position off the 10 metre diving board with a 9.0 difficulty rating; it found clarity and purpose in a new strategic direction, expanded the trust and support of its main funder, and continued to kick perfect goals while the posts were moving. Sorry, mixing my sports metaphors there.

    Oh, and did I mention that they were also recruiting for a new CEO throughout the strategic planning process? So CPRC had the additional challenge of creating a Strategic Plan that should provide enough direction to keep the organisation moving and enough certainty to guarantee funding. And the plan should also allow any new visionary CEO to take ownership of the plan and make key decisions or reasonable changes. That has just increased the strategic difficulty rating to a 9.9. So how did they do it?

    A key decision that led to their success was to develop a Strategic Plan that spanned three years, but included a review after the first year. This would allow the new CEO to make reasonable changes and learn from the organisation’s experiences.

    CPRC is a Victorian Government funded broad-based research centre that helps to drive policy development and better protect consumers. Until recently, the CPRC was known as the Consumer Utility Advocacy Centre (CUAC). Apart from a name change, the recent transformation also expanded the organisation’s purpose and scope of activity from being an advocacy body to take on a research role and the responsibility to deal with broader ranging consumer issues across all sectors.

    The Board and staff went through a process with Midnightsky that guided the organisation to a confident, shared understanding and clarity that could be communicated with key funders, new leadership and all staff.

    Acting CEO, Petrina says that the resulting Strategic Plan, “gave us the basis to show the government where we were going, which aligned with what they were thinking too.”

    Midnightsky helped the organisation navigate the significant change by asking it to reconsider some fundamental strategic questions: what is its purpose, what is it going to do to achieve that purpose, how is it going to behave along the way, and how will it know when its achieved success?

    In other words, the organisation re-articulated its Vision, Role, Values and Goals. These are key aspects required to inspire and focus any organisation and its stakeholders, including staff and funders.

    Since the development of the Strategic Plan, the new CEO, Lauren Solomon, has built the research agenda for the organisation. This research agenda has become part of the whole Strategic Plan and contributes to the organisation’s vision.

    The clear and direct language of the new Strategic Plan continues to emerge in reports and other communication tools as the organisation’s strategy is embodied by the CPRC team and implemented through their activities.

    by Cressida Bradley

    Check out more stories in the category: Consult, In the Village, Knowledge Bank

  • What is the Alexander Technique?

    The Alexander Technique is an education process where we learn how to think and move in cooperation with our design in order to perform at our best as often as possible.

    The basic principle of the Alexander Technique is that all movement (including sitting, walking, washing the dishes, thinking, speaking, singing, problem solving…) can be performed more easily if the head is balanced well with the rest of the body.

    During a lesson with me you will learn how to:

    • Observe yourself
    • Understand how the body moves
    • Explore how your thinking impacts on your movement
    • Make choices about how you think and move

    I work with students in a few ways to explore this balance, including:

    • Conversation and discussion to explore how our thinking impacts on our movement
    • Reviewing anatomical images to ensure the image we have of our moving body is accurate
    • Using touch to help encourage a balanced relationship between head and rest of the body

    In every situation we have habitual responses. These are sometimes very helpful (like being able to tie our shoe laces) and sometimes not (like tightening our shoulders when we start to think about what we want to do with our lives). The technique helps us to see our unhelpful habits and make different choices when they emerge. If we are tightening ourselves when we think about our purpose in life then it will be harder for us to find answers to these important questions that are meaningful and sustainable.

    Get in touch if you have any further questions.

    Thanks

    Luke

    Artist, advisor, coach.
    I find the real problem, make the difficult easy
    and tell a great story.

     

    Check out more stories in the category: Knowledge Bank, Learn

  • Significance.

    Someone once told me that they had a history teacher who said that there are 3 things we can do when we write about history.

    The first is to recall the facts. The second is to outline what these facts mean. These two steps are where most people stop, The theory goes that it is the next step that really makes the difference. The third thing that a writer can do is to explain the significance of this event.

    I find that when I am planning just about any communication I get a better result if I ask myself “what is the significance of this thing for this group of people?”

    By answering this question I think of the exchange from their perspective. This makes what I say much sharper, more relevant and more likely to inspire action.

    Luke

    Check out more stories in the category: How to Human, Knowledge Bank, Learn

  • You are always in your body.

    Sometimes people tell me they want to get back into their body. And I get what they mean. They are feeling tight, their breathing is restricted or they are lacking an overall awareness of their movement…however the language we use to describe this experience is part of the problem.

    We are always in our body. There is nowhere else for us to be.

    What we are experiencing is our thinking is leading us to tighten our body. We are simply not cooperating with our design. When this happens we feel like we are somehow outside of ourselves.

    We are always in our body. Our mind, our thinking happens in our body. The gig is to recognise it, to bring our attention (our thinking) to the moment, to notice what we are doing right now, notice the chair underneath us or notice the light in the room. When we do this we use our thinking to help us cooperate with our design and suddenly we feel like we are back, here, in our body, where we were all along.

    Luke

    Artist, advisor, coach.
    I find the real problem, make the difficult easy
    and tell a great story.

    Check out more stories in the category: Knowledge Bank