Small Business Banter
Darrin Johnson CEO on how Kudos Services started as a spunoff State Government department and developed into a thriving employee owned and managed mutual
This is episode 2 of 4 in the BCCM series on Coops and Mutuals. Darrin Johnson CEO talks about the central role of committed staff in spinning out a State Government department to create Kudos Services and ensure the ongoing delivery of critical community care services.
@DarrinJohnson is the #CEO of @KudosServices
Kudos Services is a #disabilityagency that supports around about six and a half thousand children and young people living with a #disability to have an independent life and has expertise in the more complex and of disability.
Darrin is the second guest in a four-episode series on #cooperatives and #mutuals brought to you by @BCCM (Business Council of Cooperatives & Mutuals)
We talk about the heritage of Kudos, its history as a State Government Department, creation of the current employee owned mutual structure (non-distributing, employee-owned not-for-profit) and much more including;
- how the staff (or what we call members) own the business and have a lot of say in direction but don't take a financial dividend
- how a lack of commercial interest in the "business" led to a dilemma - who's going to provide the services to these complex case children and young people?
- the commercial constraints from specializing in complex clients where the #NDIS model doesn't pay any differently whether you're dealing with a complex case or a simple case
- the #spinoff to a service owned by the staff in 2018
- the internal joke that we're 4 years old, but we've got staff that have worked for us for 20 years
- the instrumental roles of the @NDIA and @BCCM
- the power of a committed bunch of individuals that really wanted to work in the space and took the brave step of really electing to leave the security of public service and move to what at the time was regarded as a pretty risky move; a new sort of concept first in Australia, as a public service spun off mutual
- creating an initial #foundingboard
- the influence of Dr.GuyTurnbow who had established mutuals in the disability sector in the UK
- resetting the practical meaning of #workplacedemocracy
- the reality of also being a business and needing to be #agile and make decisions
- employees understanding how they exercise their right as an owner
- the flow - members appoint the board, the board appoints the CEO, the CEO appoints a management team, and the management team has to be able to manage
- a #businessmodel that truly allows employees participate in #management
- Darrin's excitement for the model, particularly in #disabilitycare #socialservices #aged care
- the models role in creating a DNA level of accountability to the team
- how @Kudos embraces complexity and why staff thrive
- being different to a traditional #notforprofit
- knowing that you're actually a part of something, you're actually part of building something, not just a cog in the wheel
- having a real clear sense of the purpose that will motivate people to work through a more unusual model, which these businesses are.