Supercharging your customers’ NDIS goals

Over the next 18 months while NDIA struggles to catch up with the delayed NDIS roll-out nationally, we expect that the quality of formal NDIS plans being generated by planners will continue to be mostly sub-standard, simply because planners can’t afford adequate time to facilitate thorough planning.

What to do?

Well, in NSW and SA, NDIS providers are already compelled to prepare a participant ‘Support Plan’ in relation to the services they are providing, per the NDIS Commission’s Practice Standard Core Module Part 4 section 19. The Support Plan must support achievement of goals as described in a client’s NDIS plan.

We suggest that this is the perfect opportunity to address any shortcomings of the NDIS plan, and to get to know your customer better by working with them to prepare a good quality plan for the services that you will provide them. Naturally your support plan will need to link to the all-important funded goals in the NDIS plan, but this is an opportunity to go much further and breathe life into the NDIS participant’s life aspirations.

What does a good quality person-centred plan look like? A good plan will articulate SMART goals, something we see only occasionally in NDIS plans.

We are big fans of Helen Sanderson’s approach to planning. The tools, and others like them, are used by many contemporary disability provider organisations in Australia. Further resources can be found here:

We believe that one of the reasons that so many people are getting poor quality, unfunded NDIS plans is their lack of understanding of what NDIS can fund, and therefore an inability to answer questions during the NDIS planning session that will lead to generation of a good quality support plan.

Unfortunately NDIA doesn’t publish data that shows what goals are being funded, or what services consumers are buying. In the absence of this vital information, we have compiled a list of goals that we see demanding/discerning NDIS participants stipulating, and being funded for.

  1. Be happy and comfortable in my home
  2. Be more mobile
  3. Be able to communicate better
  4. Get out more – be more socially active, meet new people, develop new friendships
  5. Move out of parent’s house (or group home) i.e. development of independent living skills
  6. Live near the beach, near a river, in the city etc.
  7. Live on my own, or find flatmate/s to share a house with
  8. Participate in art (in all its forms)
  9. Drive a car or bike
  10. Look better and lose weight
  11. Go camping or hiking in the outdoors
  12. Go on holiday
  13. Learn a new skill, whether that be privately or at TAFE
  14. Volunteer at a local sport/rec club, or at a business
  15. Get a part-time job e.g. with animals or where I meet people
  16. Set up and run a small business e.g. Cam Can, John’s crazy socks
  17. Go dancing or learn how to dance
  18. Go to a pub or nightclub
  19. Go to a concert or show
  20. Go to a place of worship, or other regular community venue/event
  21. Return to home country (for Aboriginal person or other ethnicity)
  22. Reconnect with family e.g. if person is estranged from family
  23. Get a girl/boyfriend, have sex or explore sexuality (not the act, but mentoring support)
  24. Explore spirituality

For each of these goals, there are strategies and/or support types that may be relevant, for example goal number one above (be happy and comfortable in my home) may include:

  1. Personal care – toileting, showering, dressing
  2. Food – tasty, nutritious meals
  3. Home tasks e.g. cleaning/gardening
  4. Home mods re accessibility
  5. Home mods re opening/closing doors/windows
  6. Home mods re intelligent safety systems
  7. Therapies incl. occupational therapy, physiotherapy

So next time a participant comes to you with an NDIS plan with goals that are non-specific, or not even what the participant wants (unfortunately common), we would suggest that you convene a discussion with the participant and key members of their circle of support. Guided by section 34 of the NDIS Act, spliced with a dash of creativity, you can support participants to understand the many ways that available NDIS funding may be used to support the achievement of their life goals.

And just a final point – there are multiple people who could facilitate a ‘proper’ planning session – disability advocate, support coordinator, service provider or even a member of the participant’s own circle of support. Or all of these people working together with the participant! A service provider may not be funded to do this work, but we would argue that the value added to the customer will significantly increase the likelihood of customer satisfaction, achievement of goals and customer retention.

Do you have any comments on this article? We’d love to hear. Contact Brendon Grail.

Brendon Grail


Brendon Grail
NDIS Transition Lead Consultant
Phone: 1300 284 364

Thinking for Change part two – finding inspiration

Welcome to the second in our series on different ways to think about marketing. Last time we looked at a simple technique to help you find new opportunities by playing with the rulesfinding inspiration
This month it’s a short blog, with a simple message – one of the best ways to grow your marketing muscle is to develop your understanding of people.

Reading and watching widely across all of the humanities can really help to level up your marketing mind – after all, marketing is really about people and design. Understand more about how people tick and you’ll be better placed to work with marketing’s mechanics to create value for the humans you care about.

Here’s two of my favourite sources:

  1. – two of my faves are these talks from Joseph Pine on What Consumers WantDerek Sivers on How to Start a Movement (under 2 mins!), or try searching the playlists on social good, Inc
  2. – Maria Popova’s blog is “An inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more.” This week’s post – Anton Chekhov’s 6 rules for a great story – could be equally applied to rules of a great brand story.

Do you have a favourite source of human insight? Share it in the comments!

Meg Drechsler
Senior Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 763 505


Talent Management Part 3 – Getting confused with definitions?

Are you getting confused about all the definitions that are thrown into the conversation when we manage and develop our talent?

If you answered yes, you are not alone. It can be a real turn off for operational managers to deal with ‘HR speak’ at the best of times. Being crystal clear about what we mean becomes an important part of our organisation’s underlying approach to Talent Management. Our managers and leaders are the major stakeholders and drivers of our Talent Management efforts, and so it becomes our responsibility as HR professionals to make it as easy as possible to reduce confusion and inspire engagement. It is easy to get into semantics when we are developing our terms of reference and essentially at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which words we use to describe what we mean. The most important thing, is that we develop a shared understanding across the whole organisation.

Here are the five key definitions that we regularly use and what I think they mean in the Talent Management context:

  • Performance is the outcome of how successfully someone has completed a series of interconnected task(s) AND how their behaviours in completing these tasks are in line with the organisation’s preferred culture. It is focused on the past and can be an indicator of future performance. Performance outcomes are assessed throughout the employee’s lifecycle and are based on agreed performance indicators. This is the cornerstone of your performance management system and processes.
  • Initiative is how someone assesses and initiates things independently or takes the opportunity to act before others do. The situations that they are responding to are out of the ordinary or at the fringes of their areas of responsibility and accountability. Employees with high levels of initiative have a clear understanding of the bigger picture and the way the organisation or ‘system’ works. Having this knowledge allows them to see what needs to be done even if they do not know how to achieve it. Initiative exists in the moment; where knowledge meets readiness.
  • Readiness is someone’s motivation and preparedness to act. Just because we have an idea of what needs to be done (the first part of initiative), it doesn’t guarantee that we will act!  This is all to do with motivation and levels of engagement. Employees that have initiative but do not act are problematic to their team and to the organisation, and require closer attention. A word of caution: these employees are withholding their discretionary effort for a reason. Think about what has led them to this state of mind. As with initiative, readiness exists in the moment.
  • Potential is someone’s ability to develop, achieve or succeed when the right conditions exist.  Potential can be described as a diamond in the rough. To the naked eye, you cannot see what is underneath, but there is a glimmer of something that has caught your eye that warrants a second look.  The diamond is there but it requires effort to grind and polish it to realise its potential. An employee with potential to grow is ripe for Talent Management purposes. Potential is future driven.
  • Capacity is someone’s ability to understand and learn. It is predicted that the employees of the future will be the ones that consciously learn and re-learn quickly in response to external environmental demands. If one is not open nor inquisitive about life and the world they operate in, it reduces their capacity to learn and grow. Capacity is math driven – it is the size and shape of the cup that we drink out of. We cannot pour two litres of water into a container that is built to contain one litre of water. The second litre of water cannot find itself anywhere to settle in and will ultimately be wasted or hopefully used elsewhere. Return on investment measures in Talent Management can provide us with feedback on how successful we are in choosing the right people to invest in. As with potential, capacity is future driven.
  • Capability is someone’s power to do something with the level of knowledge that they have in a particular skill. This power can be internal or external and is a reflection of the level of empowerment and trust that exists in the organisation. For example, I may have the skills to read financial statements and make some general observations about the financial position. However, my capability to then provide a briefing to the Board about how to strengthen this financial position is quite limited. So the level of my capability with this skill is at a level below what is being asked of me.  However, with time and appropriate development, this capability can be developed. An employee with the capability to further develop expertise is also ripe for our Talent Management efforts. Capability is future driven and it also exists on two planes – individual and organisational.

If you would like to know more, you can read Talent Management Part one: Do you have a lack of talent? It could be a reflection of the leadership culture

or Talent Management part two: exploring the employee journey – it’s a marathon, not a sprint

or if you want to know how to integrate your talent management practices, you can contact our Senior HR Consultant, Andrea Collett.

Andrea Collett


Andrea Collett
Phone: 0422 437 153

Talent Management part 2: exploring the employee journey – it’s a marathon, not a sprint

Talent management: the employee journey marathon


In my last article of this Talent Management series, we concluded that Talent Management (TM) was not a stand-alone activity that can be ‘done’ to people.  It is the compounding effect of people practices, leadership and thoughtful execution. As a definition TM is having robust people and culture structures, practice and initiatives that when combined add value to the employee journey while enhancing organisational brand. Continue reading…

Takeaways from Better Boards conference 2018

The Better Boards conference 2018 was on the theme of customer-centric governance. Inevitably, as a conference for not for profit boards, there was also broader discussion about boardJane Arnott presenting at Better Boards Conference 2018  performance and behaviours. Here’s our top takeaways from Better Boards conference 2018

Customer centricity

  1. Employee experience determines customer experience: a recurring theme from conference speakers (including our own session) was that employee engagement is the pre-requisite for high quality customer experience. Unhappy, uncommitted, disengaged employees cannot deliver high quality customer interactions. This message was neatly summarised by Charles Weiser of Optus and Campbell Page “Your customer experience can never be higher than your employee experience”.

Continue reading…

Seven key actions to deliver the NDIS sustainably

Prof Bruce Bonyhady is Executive Chair and Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute, an inter-disciplinary research institute at the University of Melbourne, and was the inaugural chair of the NDIA from 2013 to 2016. As one of the original architects of the NDIS, Prof Bonyhady still holds true to the founding principles, which are becoming somewhat lost in the face of a very challenging implementation schedule. Prof Bonyhady spoke at a recent CBB event for disability service providers in South Australia. Here are his recommended actions that governments should take in order to get back on track and deliver the NDIS sustainably, many of which are aligned to the conclusions of the Productivity Commission Review of NDIS Costs, published late last year. Continue reading…