Disrupting from within

While our 100-year history and household name created tremendous opportunities for the NRMA, more recently, it was forced to undergo a complete transformation to ensure the organisation and our 2.5 million members stay on the road and in business. Driverless cars, car sharing companies, an ageing customer base and a reluctance by younger people to join, forced us to rethink the business model, identify and mitigate risk at board and executive levels and develop and implement an organisation wide transformation strategy.

Had we had continued with business as usual I have no doubt we would now be facing certain disaster. To start the process, we set about identifying and mitigating risks crucial to good corporate governance at both board and executive levels. We recognised the impact of sweeping changes to the motoring industry globally, which made it very clear that the NRMA was built on an old economy model. The world was changing at an unprecedented pace and we had to change with it. We identified the strategies that would take us into the new economy while retaining and integrating the culture and strength of our earlier business model that had served us well for nearly 100 years. I am pleased to report it has been an extremely successful.

Organisational transformation requires you to get on the front foot. Many people understand the need for change but are not sufficiently qualified to know how to go about it. Governance Institute’s 34th National Conference is an opportunity for me to meet and challenge risk and governance professionals, to acquire the skills and tools they need to successfully manage and implement disruption in their organisation. You need to be positive, responsive and confident, and embrace the opportunities it brings.

Most importantly, chairs and directors of an organisation must be in complete alignment with senior executives when setting strategy.  They must be aware that equal input is paramount as too often boards delegate strategic thinking to executives, which in my view, is fraught with danger. Meaningful change also requires leadership, ensuring the tone is set at the top and cascaded throughout the entire organisation and reinforced with robust accountability and transparency.

Take NRMA for example, every one of our 1800 employees need to know how important the new strategy is and what it means for them and our 2.5 million members. In turn, we need to immerse this new strategy into the broader community. There is no doubt that if we get that right we will be around for at least another 100 years.

Transforming the NRMA has been a remarkable journey and one I look forward to sharing it with you at Governance Institute’s 34th National Conference in Melbourne on 4 and 5 December. I am also keen to hear your stories and compare our respective challenges. See you in Melbourne.

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