IR experts talk you through tough times

17 March, 2017

Marcus Stafford was at the helm of Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA during its transformation into one of the biggest not-for-profits in WA, a feat he puts down to giving staff something to believe in.

He has been MSWA’s chief executive for 15 years and over that time has raised the revenue of the organisation from less than $5 million to more than $40 million.

Stafford, who took out the best not-for-profit manager award at the Australian Institute of Management’s excellence awards in 2015, will share his insights at CCI’s IR conference on 6 April.

He says making visons and values and making sure staff engage with them was important in challenging times.

“Most people love the colours and texts and tones that sit around the stories of life and the increasing need for CEOs and senior managers to kind of light the beacon on the hill or everybody stumbles in the dark,” he says.

“It’s one of my fundamental beliefs that most people want to belong to something worthwhile and therefore by creating that inspirational vision it actually gets people together as part of a team aiming towards the same sort of goals.”

He says setting values and sticking to them can also set your workforce up for success.

“I’m a little disillusioned with organisations that have this wonderful set of values that gather dust on people’s bookshelves but actually means nothing,” he says.

“The values have to be the way you do things.”

Stafford says organisations should be so committed to the values they set that they must make hard decisions to uphold them.

“If your best performing sales person is non-team oriented and does not embrace the things your organisations stands for, they really have no room in the organisation,” he says.

“That’s quite difficult for people to understand and accept.”