tip off

Never mind ABC programs, feel our values

From: Mark Scott
Sent: Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:18 AM
To: Mark Scott
Subject: ABC Leaders’ Conference 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday I held a meeting for 200 senior leaders and managers across the ABC. We hold this event annually to discuss the strategic direction of the national broadcaster and identify the priority issues we must face in the year ahead. The context of this year’s meeting was particularly important, given the ABC’s bid for additional funding in the Budget, the current state of the Australian media, the economic downturn and the changes being driven by technology. Maurice Newman and I both spoke on the need for the ABC to keep standards high and to ensure we have processes in place to deliver the levels of performance to which we aspire.

Reviewing the performance of the ABC in 2008, there is no doubt we had a great year. Our challenge is to create an environment where such success is self-renewing  — where we can create a place where people can do their best work. As I said to the leaders, outcomes are important, but we need to work in a way that helps us achieve them on an ongoing basis. In the long-run, the way we lead will give us the most enduring results.

It is thinking about the way we work with each other that has underpinned the identification of workplace values for the ABC.

The Board and Executive are determined that the operation of these values in practice will be central to the kind of organisation the ABC will be to work in over the coming years. Our ability to live by these values will be critical to the success of the ABC as Australia’s national broadcaster and the most important media organisation in the country.

This morning you will have the opportunity to see the values as you logged on. If you took up that opportunity, I hope you noticed that the thinking that emerged from the 2008 staff consultation process was a key ingredient in the make-up of the new set of ABC Values. You can see this more clearly in the table at the end of this email.

ABC Values

The ABC is an independent media organisation for all Australians. Our values are the foundation of our work.

  1. Integrity We act with trustworthiness, honesty and fairness. We deliver on our commitments and are accountable.
  2. Respect We treat our audiences and each other with consideration and dignity. We embrace diversity.
  3. Collegiality We work together willingly. We cooperate and share in the ABC’s challenges and successes.
  4. Innovation We foster creativity and distinctiveness. We encourage new thinking and strive to achieve quality in all that we do.

Our Values Statement outlines how we will behave in achieving our Vision (2020 Strategic Direction) and Mission (ABC Charter). The ABC Values, in essence, encapsulate what we stand for and are a filter through which organisational behaviour, including behaviour towards each other and towards the corporation, and decision-making, is interpreted.

You will hear more about the values and their ability to strengthen the ABC in a staff briefing session with your manager in coming weeks. You will also get the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the values as part of this communication process.

Whilst the embedding of the values will be a long term process, activity will commence shortly to assist the ABC in moving more towards a values-based culture. These activities include workshops and policy and system redevelopment, based on the values.

You can expect to see the values ’come alive’ in various aspects of the ABC’s operations in the coming years. They will be used proactively to help build and support a workplace culture where everyone can do their best work.

The team at People and Learning will work closely across all divisions as we implement these values as foundations for work and behaviours at the ABC. They apply to all of us, including me and the Executive Leadership Group.

I am sure there will be criticism from time-to-time that we have not lived by the values we have outlined here and on occasion, that criticism will be valid. We will need to improve our performance as leaders to meet the standards we are setting for ourselves. But as leaders of the ABC, we are convinced that if we can make these values more than words, and make them live through the way we act with each other, those we partner and the audiences we serve, then the best days of the ABC lie ahead of us.

Regards

Mark Scott

Appendix:

ABC Values  — Staff Intention summarised

ABC Value Staff Intention ABC Meaning

  1. Integrity Walk the talk. Follow through on commitments. Say what you mean. True to our values  — higher level value incorporating trust, honesty and fairness. Consider what the right thing to do is and do it. Integrity will result from living our values. Credibility. We act with trustworthiness, honesty and fairness. We deliver on our commitments and are accountable.
  2. Respect Valuing people. Valuing our skills and our work. Valuing diversity. Our relationships with our audience and each other are based on respect. We show respect to all and value difference. We treat our audiences and each other with consideration and dignity. We embrace diversity.
  3. Collegiality This feedback came under Cooperation. We willingly work together. We help and assist each other. We understand our place in the organisation and our impact on others. A united organisation has a greater impact. Support and generosity. Sharing ideas. Involvement, helping, assisting others. Communication between teams and departments. Teamwork and Collaboration were alternatives. We work together willingly. We cooperate and share in the ABC’s challenges and successes.
  4. Innovation Creativity and innovation are the keys to our future. We encourage and support original thinking and creative endeavour. Taking risks. Leading edge. Distinctive. Imaginative. Lifeblood of the ABC. We foster creativity and distinctiveness. We encourage new thinking and strive to achieve quality in all that we do.
4
  • 1
    Ted
    Posted Tuesday, 17 March 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    CUT

  • 2
    Perry Gretton
    Posted Tuesday, 17 March 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    When will corporate leaders realise that sending condescending missives to the minions on such matters is a poor substitute for living those ideals themselves. Leaders lead by example, not by fiat and exhortation. If you want to change the culture of a company, embody it yourself, display it through action, and over time it will seep into every level of the organisation.

  • 3
    robert
    Posted Tuesday, 17 March 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    How can you possibly have a meeting with 200 people?

  • 4
    Andrew P
    Posted Wednesday, 18 March 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Leaving aside the outrageous fact that people get paid for producing this rubbish at corporate love-ins, and that we are saddled with a generation of managers who have no ‘domain knowledge’ of anything much at all, is there any need to ever write a new values statement again? This statement is semantically indistringuishable from that produced by every major corporation, government department and, probably, preschool in the country. Just put it on the web with an unrestricted licence and we can save ourselves some executive bonuses.

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