Seven ways to business transformation
Curo's Executive Director for Corporate Services Donna Baddeley joined Curo five years ago with a brief to transform a collection of three housing associations into a single, modern organisation with one mission. In her final blog post before she takes up the reins as Chief Executive of Valleys to Coast Housing Association, Donna takes a look at seven areas that have been key to Curo’s transformation…
Having arrived on a “transformation” ticket, I pause to reflect on the first five years of the Curo story. The dictionary definition of transformation says: a marked change in form, nature, or appearance… synonyms include: metamorphosis, evolution, transfiguration, mutation and sea change! I think those of us working at Curo may have felt all of them at some point. Well, perhaps not the sea change given our position inland.
This is the essence of our transformation. It started, not with a kiss, but with an explosion of energy…
1 Cultivating shared values
New values (Caring, Respectful, Open, Trusting and Fair, aka CROFT) set the scene. These were soon underpinned by what we call our ‘culture web’ to start to define how we do things around here. Curo’s culture and values brought in different approaches and a more informal language. It’s the stories people tell about us; how we make decisions and perhaps most importantly how we make things happen.
2 Defining our brand and promise
A new legal structure condensing three legacy organisations into one was topped off with a new identity. The makeover brought a fresh, modern logo – but what did “Curo” mean? The literal Latin translation is “I care”, which sat happily with our values, and the lime green ball has been put to great effect in bright, bold visuals throughout our business. Next was the brand promise, where our commitment “To make possible” is fuelled by our brand personality… we’re always professional, but don’t take ourselves too seriously; we zig when others zag and we offer a hand up not a hand out.
3 Putting customers first
Curo’s five-year Big Plan contained our number-one business objective: to create a “renowned customer service culture”. We’ve developed this customer-first approach through our own in-house programme called Energize where we set out our determination to always “play green” by working together; to find ways to exude energy (what we call being “at the top of the spiral”); and to make sure we listen to and hear what our customers want and need from us.
4 Investing in authentic leadership
Leaders exist across all parts of the business and our nine leadership principles help to frame our best endeavours around producing results: being customer-obsessed, having sound judgement and being commercially savvy whatever our role is within Curo. How we do our jobs is just as important as what we deliver.
5 Taking pride
Feeling proud of Curo is something we want everyone working here to be able to tell their friends and family about. It’s important that colleagues are our promoters because they want to be, and that’s been evidenced by securing the No.27 spot in the Sunday Times top 100 not for profit organisations to work for – a measure that’s based on what employees think about their employer.
We want our people, when they’re down the pub, to be able to say with pride that they work for Curo!
6 Organising and modernising
Several departmental re-structures later, we find ourselves with an established Business Improvement Programme that has helped to deliver a myriad of projects that keep pushing us forward. Our systems have sometimes been a challenge to tame and implement, but colleagues are now using mobile devices extensively; customers are offered repairs appointments straight away; transactions and ordering are online and our customer offer of “digital by choice” is moving ever closer.
Fundamentally we are here to provide housing, and with the exciting addition of our own house-builder division we have extended our product range to help a vast range of people with different housing needs. We have also introduced lots of innovative schemes to help people continue to live independently in their own homes, as well as services to tackle social isolation and loneliness. Profit for purpose means that in a world with dwindling public funding, here at Curo we can still make a significant difference to our customers’ lives.
So looking in the rear view mirror as I leave Curo for the last time, I see a strong and vibrant organisation which has a clear sense of purpose; a genuine focus on its customers and a talented and dynamic workforce, with a wicked ability to celebrate its own success and impact on people’s lives for the better.
Here’s to the next five years … I hope they will be just as transformational.
Pictured: The Lab at Curo's offices in Bath. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Faith