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A Charity In Communication Crisis


Client: Hammersmith and Acton Action on Disability (HAFAD)

Problem: Poor team communication, lack of shared vision, absenteeism

Approach taken: Employing a Positive Approach workshops, Teams That Talk, 1-2-1 coaching and bespoke Senior Management Team support programme

Like many charitable organisations, HAFAD has to cope with the challenge of working with multiple funding sources and frequently conflicting priorities.

With five separate teams working in silo around different funding sources, the organisation started to notice that cross-team communication was breaking down. A worrying lack of honesty and respect began to develop as staff were under pressure to deliver within the confines of their team. Absenteeism and sickness levels were on the rise.

When the senior management team also became divided over complicated internal and ethical issues, Jan Matthews was approached by the CEO to intervene. This was an organisation in crisis. It had lost sight of it’s common goal and needed a major shake-up.

Addressing attitude and taking action

“It was a shaky start”, said Amanda Thomas, Team Manager at HAFAD. “Jan came to a HAFAD meeting without the staff having been briefed that she was to undertake a major piece of work on organisational change. She dived in, undeterred by a hostile audience, and managed to deliver a motivational speech that quickly sorted the pioneers from the stoics”.

Jan was tasked with turning the attitude and behaviour of the organisation around. She delivered a year-long programme of change that included organisation-wide ‘Employing a Positive Approach workshops, 1-2-1 coaching sessions for each of the five team managers and a series of bespoke Senior Management Team workshops.

“Jan’s approach is direct and investigative. She demands answers and gets to the root of any issues so they can be worked on in broad daylight. All stones are turned over until the job is done. Jan is a skilled facilitator. Her style makes you sit up and listen”.

By implementing new ways of working, including a simple but effective weekly meeting structure, Jan made it possible for the teams to raise issues regularly and deal with them openly. The organisation started to think and act as a single team, re-united through mutual respect and a shared vision.

To find out more about workplace stress management, 1-2-1 employee support or improving team communication skills