The Collective Question (TCQ): Episode 1 Mark Sewell

Friday, March 13, 2020 at 8:20:08 AM GMT+10:00

WATCH: We speak to Mark Sewell, CEO of Warrigal, about building a collective culture in the workplace


Traditionally, a vibrant and dynamic workplace culture is known to boost employee productivity, minimise internal politics and better communication processes, but the workplace of today needs a collective culture.


CEO of Warrigal, one of Australia's leading aged care providers, Mark Sewell has decades of experience across both public and private sectors and has observed the evolution of workplace culture. 


He sat down with Boardroom.Media to share his first-hand observations and provide deeper insights. 


Sewell opened the discussion breaking down the concept of ego: 


“Your ego is your enemy. It really does prevent you from collectively working with other people and really exposing yourself and reflecting honestly about where you need to change and giving other people improvement tips or criticism...So that's the kind of collective culture which is very powerful…”


Ego is enforced when a worker values individualism (protecting their self-interests) over collectivism (aiming to reach a common goal as a team), ultimately leading to employee disenfranchisement. This occurs when a company's leader takes credit for the work of the employees or the group "who made it happen,"  diminishing their hard work and achievements.


Seven years ago, Mr Sewell hired Appellon to conduct a culture/operational audit on Warrigal, and found that organisational change can be best implemented through reshaping management and leadership frameworks. This will inevitably help to tackle the ‘blame culture’ which is one of the major sources of negativity and the loss of motivation in the workplace. 


Five tips for wise leadership

  1. Manage yourself, first. Learn to show the right emotion/reaction at the right time. This shows employees that you value self-control. 

  2. Manage others. Assess all the stakeholders relating to your business and start prioritising. Look into opportunities for future collaborations. 

  3. Find a purpose. This will help with directing the business on the right path.

  4. Understand how to fix the issues that plague the business. Some issues can be solved at an administrative level whilst others require executive meetings and decisions. Therefore, try to better your understanding of the best ways to resolve issues that are affecting business efficiency.

  5. Learn to embrace change. Try to channel any external change (e.g. artificial intelligence) or internal change (e.g. valued employee resigns) as a way of bettering business processes.


Consumers often associate a collective culture with friendliness, but Mr Sewell identifies that it is more than that. A collective culture it is an indication that employees feel a sense of belonging to their work team, effectively improving performance outputs.


With regards to whether a collective culture impacts the business image, Mr Sewell replied,


“I think most people are over image now...People don’t believe the pamphlet. They don’t believe the website spin. They don’t believe the CEO’s crafted message anymore. But they do believe peoples’ genuine chat and discussion... They want truth.”


A business must never try to send the message that individual career growth is associated with selfishness, but they can put forward that “team players have such a different ride. It’s really a much better culture to be in a team.”. The way in which this can be executed, can be traced back to managing behaviours.


For more information on how to manage and improve your workplace culture, visit www.boardroom.services/tcq

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