Community Spirit: Ormiston Families
In the headquarters of Ormiston Families, staff are getting back to a life where they sit alongside colleagues, share ideas, and discuss their 2021 anniversary campaign year. They’re busy assessing referrals, managing the needs of young adults, and exploring new ways to come to the support of children who desperately need a sense of hope and optimism. And yet, despite the busyness of this charity’s thriving office, CEO Allan Myatt has barely been ‘in person’ with his hugely passionate staff more than a handful of times since the pandemic struck.
It’s been a period which has proven even more firmly, that this is an organisation which hasn’t needed presence – as much as passion.
“People often look to leaders to produce bright ideas and answers to problems,” says Allan. “Some leaders see this as their primary role. I disagree.
Passion brings forth good ideas
“If you have passionate employees, there will never be a shortage of good ideas and solutions. You just need to be open to hearing and applying them. This is perfectly illustrated by many of Ormiston Families’ most innovative services, such as Mpower, Breaking Barriers and Small Steps. These have come from frontline practitioners.”
Allan believes this speaks of a passion which requires consistent attention. His feeling is that leaders are central to developing the kind of culture which harnesses such strength of feeling.
“Passion needs to be nurtured and rewarded. Employees won’t fully engage unless they feel it’s safe to do so. That means creating the right environment – establishing a clear vision and cultural values – as well as supporting them to grow.
“Once established, a passionate workforce is contagious, not only inspiring others within but attracting those who see a home for their passion.”
But what of new leaders looking to create a passion culture from scratch, or who think employees lack ‘fire in their belly’?
Allan says: “Passionate employees can be established in any organisation and propel it to achieve greater things. Probably some of the world’s best commercial examples are in the IT tech sector, often because the cause is created by a drive for innovation and excellence. Sometimes it’s not about the product itself, but the way it’s differentiated from the mainstream, that creates passion.
“For Ormiston Families it’s about helping others feel safer, healthier and more resilient. They may need help overcoming adverse childhood experiences or to get back on track after a setback. Put simply, it’s about giving people a brighter future.”
He adds: “We talk a lot about building the resilience of those we work with and enhancing employee and organisational resilience. When we’re hit by a crisis and setback like we’ve been in the last 18 months, it’s often been the collective passion of the staff teams that have pulled us through.
“When I’m feeling tired, I rarely have to look far to be re-energised and invigorated by colleagues.”