Often, the biggest challenge when facing change is just figuring out what to do, and when it is the funding of an entire organisation at stake, your reaction can either make or break your future. The NDIS will be fundamentally transforming the way funding is provided to the sector. During this time of upheaval, a transition plan is critical in helping to organise and clarify the challenges and opportunities ahead of you. A good transition plan will provide important guidance to all levels of an organisation, allowing for a smooth transition to a prosperous future. With the right advice from people who understand you, a smooth transition is far from a dream.
RSM’s five steps toward a smooth transition
1. Think Holistically
Change will have a different impact on different areas of an organisation, and a transition plan works to address the full range of possible concerns for any business. From financial management, governance, to human resources, every affected area should be considered in order to minimise risk. Research and experience is often critical at this stage, as the planner must have a keen understanding of the nature and the scope of impact which the NDIS may have on a certain organisation. Different organisations will have different levels of preparedness, and both assumptions and oversights may prove costly in the long run.
2. Identify your goals
Your staff is a valuable resource for gaining an accurate understanding of where the organisation currently sits in terms of preparedness. Pinpointing a target – what the organisation needs to look like in six months’ or a year’s time – is an important element of transition planning. In examining the present and looking to the future, the major gaps in the organisation will be identified. From this, goals can be defined, from big to small, and provide the basis for further action. Each organisation will have different targets based on its capacity and its needs, goals set must be realistic and achievable in order for a transition to be successful.
3. Define your actions
Once the goals have been identified, the next step is to figure out what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. Knowing how to solve a problem is just as important as knowing what problems exist. This is sometimes the most difficult step, as the solutions to every challenge are not always immediately apparent. Large actions should be broken into small, manageable chunks, and be communicated in a way that is easy to understand. When necessary, research and consult with experts to determine the best way to achieve your goals.
4. Delegate your tasks
Being mindful of staff skills, limitations, and time constraints, tasks and actions should be appointed to individuals within an organisation. For many organisations, it is normal for there to be missing internal skills required to get everything done. If necessary, look to hiring new staff on a temporary basis, or reach out to outside consultants to get the expertise you need. Everything comes down to finding the right people to set up an organisation for a successful future.
5. Deadlines and Assessment
Setting deadlines is essential to maintain progress. Strategies should exist for chasing up outcomes, allowing time for delays or changing circumstances. Make sure to keep deadlines realistic and manageable. At the end of the period, your achievements should be reassessed against the original plan. This will reveal if the organisation has made the progress it needs, or if there is more still to be done. In turn, the sooner work begins on managing change, the smoother the process is likely to be, allowing the maximum amount of time for all parties involved to understand and achieve their objectives.
The NDIS will be shifting the landscape of the disability services sector, but one advantage comes from the fact that almost everyone in your local market is dealing with transition at the same time. Making your plans sooner rather than later is the one advantage you can give yourself in this changing market. With experience and expertise at your disposal, it can be smooth sailing from this point onwards.