Online Governance Training for Board Trustees

As of June 2020, Maighread is offering Online Governance Training for Trustees in Social Enterprises, Charities, Cooperatives and Not for Profits. Maighread will liaise with your Charity Trustees prior to the training in order to carry out a Training Needs Analysis. She will then design a training course which will be tailor made to meet the specific needs of your organisation. It is Maighread's experience from working as Charity Trustee and supporting Charity Trustees that in order for the training to be effective it has to be designed to meet the specific needs of each Charity Trustee.

Programme Objectives:

  • Introduce “Governance” and its relevance to the Charity Sector.
  • Identify the Key Legal Responsibilities of Trustees
  • Explain the Duties of Trustee’s
  • Define the Roles of Trustee’s
  • Identify the Legal and Regulatory requirements that apply to the work of the Charity

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module the participant will be:

  • Able to define governance, describe its purpose and significance
  • Define the role of Trustees in relation to their organisation
  • In a position to explain the legal and regulatory requires that Trustees in Ireland need to adhere to.

For more information on the services that Maighréad and Collaboration Ireland provide go to www.maighreadkelly.com or www.collaboration.ie. You can also check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/ 


How to create the right conditions for SUSTAINED COLLABORATION

In February I was asked to contribute to Accountancy Ireland's February 2020 Newsletter's Spotlight Article alongside Amanda Shantz who is MBA Director at Trinity Business School and John Munnelly who is FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland.

"Employees the world over are encouraged to ‘collaborate’ with zeal, but there’s much more to successful collaboration than technology and open-plan offices....."

Picasso wasn’t a big fan of collaboration. The Spanish-born artist once said, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible”. Yet businesses can’t seem to get enough of it; they’ve even torn down the walls and developed software to ensure that people work together. And Picasso wasn’t the only one who railed against the idea of working with others. The co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Wozniak, was also unequivocal in his advice: “Work alone… not on a committee. Not on a team”.

So why did the collaboration craze catch on? And is it all that bad?

Skills and culture

Collaboration often gets a bad rap because, in many cases, organisations’ efforts to promote and sustain collaboration fall short. Writing in Harvard Business Review, the behavioural scientist Francesca Gino accused leaders of thinking about collaboration too narrowly: as a value to cultivate but not a skill to teach. Her solution is to “teach people to genuinely listen to one another; to approach discussions with empathy, not opinions; to become comfortable with feedback; to lead and follow; to speak with clarity and avoid abstractions; and to have win-win interactions”.

That’s a lot for any leader to unpack, but it illustrates one critical point – there’s a good chance that asking your people to collaborate without helping them to build the necessary skills will result in frustration and failure. But rather than blame your people, Francesca encourages leaders who are exasperated by a lack of collaboration to start by asking themselves one simple question: what have you done to encourage it today?
According to Maighread Kelly, Director at Collaboration Ireland, collaboration is also a mindset in many ways. Giving thought to prospects for collaboration, be that within your organisation or with third parties, can open up new opportunities and generate a higher level of engagement all round. In her view, there are three critical elements in a fruitful collaboration:

  • It must be a collaboration of the willing – all partners must buy-in fully to the project;
  • The initiator must find the right partner(s), both personally and culturally; and
  • A good process must underpin collaboration.

So, it essentially boils down to two key components: skills and fit. If people have the skills necessary to work together, often through uncertainty and disagreement, and the inclination to do so from a culture and values perspective, the chance of success rises significantly.

Unexpected challenges

However, collaboration also throws up unique challenges that must be managed sensitively. According to Amanda Shantz, MBA Director at Trinity Business School, collaboration is useful for highly complex and strategic tasks such as overhauling an IT system or entering a new market, and such collaborations require diverse and specialised skills – but these very characteristics can also impede collaboration. “Take diversity, for example,” she said. “The challenging tasks that businesses face today require the expertise of people from diverse backgrounds to spark innovation. Research shows, however, that people are less likely to collaborate when others are seen as somehow different from them in terms of age, gender or ethnicity, for instance.”

Amanda believes that strong leadership is required to cultivate a culture of collaboration where individuals succeed both because of, and in spite of their diversity. “People need to understand who has the requisite knowledge in, and outside, the business,” she said. “They need to feel that they are operating in a safe place to ask questions and make mistakes, and there needs to be a strong sense of community that’s inspired by an overarching goal.”

Interestingly, the lack of an overarching goal is one of the most common reasons for failure in collaboration according to Maighread, who helps guide collaborative projects in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. “It isn’t good enough to collaborate just because you want to work with another person or organisation,” she said. “For a collaboration to be successful, there has to be a good strategic rationale and a strong business case.” If this is in place, other common threats to collaborative efforts – such as a lack of stakeholder buy-in; poor relationships; a lack of trust; and poor processes – then become more manageable because there is a clear roadmap for the future.

Collaboration in action

Chartered Accountants Ireland discovered the benefit of planning first-hand in 2019 when it undertook a project to update the Institute’s syllabus to account for the impact of technology on the profession, but without overshadowing its core elements – audit, financial reporting, taxation, business leadership and critical thinking. With a limited timeframe for implementation, the Institute couldn’t ‘go it alone’. It instead collaborated with a host of third-parties to revitalise and future-proof the syllabus.

“We broke our projects into two parts, developing new elective subjects in collaboration with CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Financial Accountants) and the Institute of Banking before tackling the technology aspect,” said John Munnelly, FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland. “From my research on the technology side, it was clear that trailblazing companies were doing great things, so I contacted Alteryx, Tableau and UiPath – but these companies had never collaborated with an accountancy body before.”

To secure buy-in, John approached senior leaders in each organisation to lay out his vision for collaboration. “I knew that I needed senior project sponsors in our partner organisations, who understood the importance – not only for our profession but also, for their industries,” he said. Working with CIPFA and the Institute of Banking was an efficient profess, according to John, and they both delivered fit-for-purpose syllabi for the public sector and financial services electives. However, collaboration with the technology companies was more complicated.

“Once the initial scoping exercise was complete, it was important to share our vision for the new syllabus with our partners,” he added. “This was a learning experience for the companies and while we ultimately produced a suite of materials that complemented the ACA qualification, the low point came when we realised that something was missing.”

Although the new syllabus taught essential principles in the areas of data preparation, data visualisation and robotic process automation, this teaching needed to be underpinned by practical experience. “This led to an audacious request for training licences for all FAE students,” added John. “And it was a testament to the strength of our relationships that all partners offered training licences for their products for all FAE students. This would have been quite disappointing had it gone differently, but relationships are indeed at the core of collaboration – particularly when issues arise.”

Conflict and collaboration

Although the Institute’s experience of collaboration was very smooth and cordial, it is not uncommon for teams to experience conflict as part of the collaboration process. Indeed, somewhat ironically, the absence of conflict may be a warning signal, according to Amanda. “In some cases, people who are collaborating become so excited about their ideas and activities that they shut down naysayers – nobody wants to be the skunk at the picnic,” she said. “Alternatively, an overbearing micromanager who always has the ‘right’ answer doesn’t encourage the type of discussion necessary to optimise collaborative efforts. In both cases, it might be a sign that the environment isn’t safe enough for people to speak out.”

But all is not lost. According to Amanda, there are many ways for leaders to increase people’s perception that they can – and indeed, are expected to – put all views on the table without fear or favour. “Senior managers need to set the tone from the top that collaboration and conflict go hand-in-hand,” she said. But although senior leadership rhetoric matters, research has shown that the behaviour of mid-level line managers is especially crucial. “In particular, what’s important is how mid-level managers respond to failures, invite conversation and demonstrate humility and curiosity in their interactions with others,” she said.

Words of wisdom

And that isn’t the only advice Amanda has for those tasked with building a culture of collaboration in their organisation. “Organisations need to invest in building and maintaining social relationships across the organisation,” she said. “This requires a technological infrastructure that makes it easy for people from different parts of the organisation – often located globally, but even across the building – to work effectively as a team. And the use of software to connect people by projects, not by roles, is another way to utilise technology to support collaboration.”

Aside from technology, Amanda returns to the critical role of leadership. She urges leaders to ensure that collaborative behaviours among senior executives are visible to employees and to avoid the tendency to make an executive a standalone ‘hero’ in his or her unit. “Senior leaders need to ensure that employees are selected for – and trained in – the skills needed for collaboration, such as productively resolving conflict and active listening,” she added. “They could also sponsor events and networking activities and host innovative and fun opportunities for people to connect.”

Mid-level managers have the most critical role to play in championing collaborative efforts, however. “They need to support the strategic goal for collaboration by coaching employees on how to connect with different parts of the business,” Amanda said. “Research shows that managers can increase collaboration by changing their leadership style as the team’s project progresses. In the beginning, the manager should consider focusing on the task at hand and articulating accountabilities, but when conflict emerges, the manager may consider switching to a relationship-oriented leadership style.”

So if you’re frustrated by your organisation’s inability to collaborate successfully in a sustained way, remember Francesca Gino’s simple question: what have you done to encourage it today?

Maighread Kelly is a Director at Collaboration Ireland.
Amanda Shantz is MBA Director at Trinity Business School.
John Munnelly is FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Links:

PODCAST:

Collaboration - March 2020: Maighread Kelly (Collaboration Ireland), Susan Rossney (Chartered Accountants Ireland) and Teresa Stapleton (Stapleton Coaching) talk to Accountancy Ireland and tell the real story behind collaboration and how you can make it work in your career, organisation and global movements. Click on the link to podcast here: Apple:- Accountancy Ireland Podcast     Spotify:-https://open.spotify.com/episode/05ZlnNHzBxwlqCAeNBHgM6

ARTICLE: 

Accountancy Ireland February 2020 Newsletter: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/docs/default-source/Publishing/accountancy-ireland-archive/accountancy-ireland-feb-2020.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Accountancy Ireland February 2020 Spotlight Article: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/Accountancy-Ireland/Articles2/Spotlight/Latest-News/how-to-create-the-right-conditions-for-sustained-collaboration


COVID-19: Guidance for Homecare Providers

This guidance takes account of latest government advice on COVID-19 and how to support people in their own homes.

Provision of care and support in people’s home is a high priority service, in that most care and support cannot be deferred to another day without putting clients at risk of harm.

1.  Steps for Homecare providers to maintain delivery of care:

  • We advise all providers to review their list of clients, and ensure that it is up to date, including levels of informal support available to those clients, who is in their circle of support and if the next of kin details are accurate.
  • Link in with the HSE and other homecare providers in your area to establish plans for mutual aid, taking account of their business continuity plans, and consider arrangements to support sharing of the workforce between homecare providers, and with local primary care services providers; and with deployment of volunteers where that is safe to do so.
  • Link in with your clients to enquire if there are any neighbours or friends who might be able to support them, should the situation worsen in the coming weeks.
  • Home care providers should check their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and aprons are adequate and link in with other agencies to share resources in the event that the situation worsens in the coming weeks.

2.   If a Health Care Assistant is concerned, they have COVID-19

  • If a member of your staff is concerned they have COVID-19 they should follow the HSE’s advice which is regularly updated.
  • If they are advised to self-isolate at home they should follow the HSE’s guidance on self-isolation.
  • If advised to self-isolate at home, the Health Care Assistant should not visit and care for clients until safe to do so.

3.   If the client being cared is displaying symptoms of COVID-19

If the client receiving care and support has symptoms of COVID-19, then the risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures.

3.1.   Personal protective equipment

  • Health Care Assistants should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as providing intimate care, washing and bathing, and contact with bodily fluids.
  • Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
  • These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.

3.2.   Cleaning

  • If Health Care Assistants undertake cleaning duties, then they should use usual household products, such as detergents and bleach as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
  • Personal waste (for example, used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
  • These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal as normal.

3.3.   Laundry

  • If Health Care Assistants support the client with laundry, then they should not shake dirty laundry. This minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • Wash items as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. If the client does not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after the 7-day isolation period has ended; the laundry can then be taken to a public laundromat.
  • Items heavily soiled with body fluids, for example, vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.

4.  If neither the client nor the care worker have symptoms of COVID-19

  • If neither the care worker nor the client receiving care and support is symptomatic, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.
  • General interventions may include increased cleaning activity and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.
  • Health Care Assistants should follow the HSE guide on how to wash your hands

The HSE and HPSC brought out Guidance for Health and Social Care Workers who visit homes on the 19th March 2020.

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations.  For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out her experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/


How to reduce the risks associated with workplace investigation practices?

When faced with a complaint in an organisation, employers will often try and resolve the complaint themselves or will delegate the task to a junior manager. Resolving the matter can take many forms but if not handled correctly it can have significant financial, legal and reputational implications. Some of the most common mistakes that employers often make during the course of an internal workplace investigation can include:

  1. The forgoing of the pre-investigation planning stage and moving straight into investigation.
  2. The investigator chooses to morph the investigation and disciplinary steps into the same process.
  3. The investigator chooses to rely on "untested" information and therefore unduly favours one version of events and ignores discrepancies.
  4. Due to the fact that this is an internal investigation they are unable to establish a process that is perceived as independent and free of bias.
  5. Internal investigations can often be delayed, due to a number of reasons however, this "delay" can often fuel speculation and gossip therefore jeopardising appropriate disciplinary action.

Mistakes in investigations can end up being very costly for the employer and employee. The employer needs to consider what is the best approach and always take into account the needs of the business. One of the most significant considerations for employers is whether to engage an external investigator.

It may not always be appropriate or beneficial for the employer to engage an external investigator however a good investigator will induce confidence for both parties as the findings will be unbiased and independent.

Maighréad Kelly Management Consultant offers a range of supports for employers in the area of HR and Workplace Investigations. Maighréad is an experienced external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad offers provide go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/


Calling all Charities - 2019 is the year to get your house in order.......

The Charities Regulator intends that 2019 will be a “year of learning and preparation for charities” in relation to their new Governance code. All charities are expected to comply with the code by 2020 and, from 2021, all charities will be required to report on their compliance with the code on an annual basis, by filling out a (50 page) compliance record form.

So what does this mean? Well regardless of the size of your organisation all charities need to be firstly registered with the regulator, secondly they need to ensure that their board is fully aware of their responsibilities and thirdly they need to fill in and submit their compliance form. This Code replaces the previous voluntary code which was launched a number of years ago by a collective group of charities and is thankfully much more streamlined and easier to navigate. The code consists of six principles of governance. These are:

  1. Advancing charitable purpose;
  2. Behaving with integrity;
  3. Leading people;
  4. Exercising control;
  5. Working effectively;
  6. Being accountable and transparent.

Many small organisations have concerns that the code will add to their workload and is nothing more than a paper exercise. In the beginning, yes organisations will need to spend some time on completing the necessary paperwork and ensuring their organisation operates within the Charities Act 2009. But like everything in life, it is the thoughts of doing something which is more stressful than the actual task itself. Also it is important to remember that Governance is not a new concept, it is a core aspect of every company and organisation across the world. According to PwC corporate governance is “a performance issue,” because it provides a framework for how your company operates.

It is also important to remember that simply implementing the governance code isn’t the same as achieving success. Most examples of good governance have something in common, too: they’re built on a foundation of transparency, accountability and trust. When meeting with my clients I advise that they start the process now with their board otherwise they will only be adding to the stress by leaving it any longer. Also it is important to remember that boards are made up of voluntary members who might only meet 8 times in the year therefore that does not leave much time to get through the necessary paperwork.

Maighréad has been a Company Director since 2014 and is both experienced and knowledgeable in the area of governance and assessing governance compliance within organisations. She will work with your charity, organisation or social enterprise to help your CEO and board of directors to identify the areas of priority in order to be compliant with the Charity Regulators Governance Code. She will then provide you with support, assistance and guidance in order to address those priorities. For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]