Roslin, home of Ergo Consulting, is one of Melbourne’s earliest residences and only a short walk from Flagstaff Gardens. The moment you enter, it becomes abundantly clear that Ergo Consulting has a different approach to life and work.
Col Duthie and Derek Winter are the principals of Ergo and know exactly what they want their business to be. Their catch cry is “A better day at work for people and a better future for the world”. They live and breathe it at Ergo; they love to help other organisations do it too.
Nine Participation Behaviours drive how Ergo works, what they do and who they are. Simply put, the intention is that if these behaviours are consistently exhibited, Ergo will succeed. Walk up the magnificent staircase of Roslin and each of the behaviours is presented in beautifully framed pictures. They refer to themselves as a vocational community; a place where people love what they do at work and make a major contribution to society through their jobs. It is about integration, harmonised passions, a love for life, of which work is one component.
Ergo’s business core is flexible and agile. It encourages creativity, often generating new products and ideas. There have been times when, in order to stay true to the core purpose of Ergo, products or services have been set up in their own commercial entities. This also offers the possibilities of generating value for shareholders beyond the products and services that make up Ergo’s core business.
Initially, it seems as though there are two parts of Ergo: Strategy and Leadership Services and IT Services. But talk to Col and Derek and you realise that there is a seamless integration between the two; they apply the same approach to the projects that they undertake.
Whether the issue involves management change or is IT related, they believe everything comes down to the people: their history, the things that motivate them and how they interact with each other.
When Derek talks about their software projects he says that you need to be motivated by and focussed on, “the people who end up using the software. They need to be involved in developing its concept and all stages of the process. We have a people focussed approach to software development, working with people to make their jobs easier.”
IT Team Health Check
To many, the effectiveness of technology is determined by the ‘physical’ assets. Ergo agrees that they are important but really effective IT depends on the people that plan, build and support systems - the IT Team. Business skills often don’t come naturally to technical experts so the business team needs to nurture a two-way relationship with the IT team.
Ergo’s “IT Team Health Check” serves as an early warning system for potential operational risks, providing analysis and recommendations for future action. Ergo asks senior business managers to consider the following questions:
|Does the IT Team understand the organisation’s goals and deliverables?|
|Do I have confidence that the people in my organisation are effectively supported?|
|Does my organisation enable the IT Team the opportunity to succeed?|
Maybe it is time for your business to consider these important questions.
How they do it
When Col and Derek explain their approach you can see how it differs from traditional management thinking. Instead of determining the objectives and designing the entire process upfront, Ergo acknowledge that things always change along the way. Col explains, “Every organisation has unique people and business idiosyncrasies, therefore each project is different. We start by identifying what needs to be achieved first. We will get you there. Once there, then we re-assess, re-evaluate and determine the next stage and so forth until we reach the final objective.”
Organisational change is disruptive, it is often unpredictable and can cause emotional upheavals in peoples’ lives. Col adds, “We have to work with people who understand our approach to change. They need to be sensitive to the issues that will confront them during the project.”
Saward Dawson and Ergo
Saward Dawson has assisted Ergo with various matters including the preparation of annual compliance work. Due to the flexible nature of their business we have also assisted them with business restructuring when necessary.
There is much more to tell about this creative business such as their Roslin Business Community, open business reporting and support for their staff’s philanthropic passions. It might seem like romantic idealism. It’s not, its hard work. But it is all designed to create “a better future for the world”. Visit www.ergoconsulting.com.au.