Our Principles

Organisational Principles


The principles of an organisation are usually short, one sentence statements of intent.  Nganana Inc. has taken a different approach:  each one of the five principles below can be summarised in a few words, included also however is an explanation of what these overarching statements mean to us, and describes the beginning of a process of how they are going to be embedded into the organisation from an operational perspective.

We have changed our approach because these five principles also constitute our model of operating within the community services sector, that answers the question of how does an organisation go robustly beyond the rhetoric and actually deliver evidence based, accountable, measurable, best practice services focused on the accurately identified needs and wants of individuals, their family and their community?

These five interrelated operational principles are:

1.  Evidence Based Practice:

All services implemented and managed by Nganana will be done so from a systems based perspective, utilising best practice standards, that are measurable (accountable), and that reports in a manner both strategic, and therefore is transparent with regard to funding use, and outcomes as identified in planned goals and objectives, taking into consideration the values and preferences of the consumer.  In essence the organisation is committed to a best practice approach that focuses on the achievement of identified outcomes over generating profit – prosperity before profit.

2.  Individual Focus

Nganana Inc. recognises the need to offer robustly individualised services and service delivery across all business areas.  This comes from long experience and understanding that genuine engagement with participants, families and the communities in which they live is a key and integral component to building welling, capacity, and capability.

Nganana’s commitment to this process is recognised and manifests itself through the following initiatives:

  • A developmental process of advocating, supporting and facilitating service function across the life course, adapting accordingly as consumers goals and objectives change through time and growth.
  • The building of capacity (ability to take on more – do more – try new things) via building capability (the skills, knowledge, experience, and understanding) required to successfully engage in a new task.
  • To build capability to be able to be a part of one’s social environment and contribute to one’s community.
  • The adoption of a practice wherein service providers sit still, be quiet, and listen.
  • To assess on an individualised basis by removing bias sometimes conveyed historically or embedded in diagnosis, and instead listen to a person’s unique story, their history, their narrative.
  • Each individual is not to be used to a means to and end and everyone will be included as part of the innate integrity of the process – a person’s cognitive capacity does not change this.

3.  Staff Management

All staff will be supported to perform their duties and fulfil role requirements.  This will include the provision of the tools required to perform and clarify key functions (for example information systems, direct care support plans and reporting templates), the training and on-going support required to use those tools, a commitment to flexibility of job design to suit the individual, a commitment to a mediation process to resolve conflict at work, and a person centred approach toward all staff that recognises capacity and supports opportunity to contribute to the service delivery process, irrespective of position.  In essence the organisation is committed to a best practice approach that focuses on staff wellbeing and support to achieve within their defined roles over generating profit – i.e. prosperity before profit.

Nganana is committed to managing staff fairly, equitably, consistently, and expediently.  Clarity will be provided with regard to the scope of staff job roles and responsibilities, and therefore provide clarity and understanding with regard to practices and behaviour outside acceptable limits of service provision.  Staff management will focus specifically on a number of sub-principles:

  • Performance; having performance management across the organisation as a norm,
  • Feedback; provide a staff feedback process (developed online) for concerns and complaints to be registered that electronically creates accountable and transparent actions for follow-up that include staff in the solution.
  • Communication; strategies are employed and maintained to support communication across the organisation, beginning with the use of modern rostering and information management software.
  • Succession planning; supported within performance management processes,
  • Accept mistakes; staff can make mistakes and not have the organisation react confrontationally when responsibility is taken, training provided, and part of a staff development and learning process.

Acknowledge managerialism and have support challenge across the structural hierarchy of the organisation.


Managerialism is a broad term used to describe a context within which organisations function with regard to responsibility and decision making power.

Within the context of government and non-government organisations it has been used to describe an incongruence within community services practice given that managers have a level of responsibility and decision making power able to override the decisions of others, legitimised within their position of bearing final accountability for organisational outcomes.

This can create conflict between practitioners working in direct care roles advising from a perspective of their professional knowledge, skills and experience, and managers who may not share their expertise, but who have capacity (authority) to exercise managerial control from an organisational (including financial and political factors) perspective.

For more information see Jim Ife, “Community Development in an Uncertain World”, 2016.

4.  Organisational Culture:

“The values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organisation”

Organisational Culture and Leadership, Edgar Schein

Nganana’s organisational culture by necessity begins at the top by focussing at board level on the following question:

“How do we run an ethical, value based organisation that retains focus on our core objectives and principles, that remains free of self interest at all levels, and that consistently demonstrates a valuing of people (staff and consumers) above profits?”

This is an idealistic position to take, however, as a not-for-profit organisation, we are able to pursue this trajectory free of commercial interests and build a positive, support culture across the business.

Some of the more specific strategies being employed to achieve this end are:

  • Maintaining a strong focus and respect for and on community and culture throughout the organisation, including that of staff, consumers, and the community in which Nganana operates as a business; taking into consideration “all of us”.
  • Positively supporting staff from a cultural perspective (aligns with the principle of staff care) that takes into consideration their wellbeing and experience of Nganana and values people as individuals rather than assets.
  • A commitment to growing and adapting as an organisation through professional and strategic (incremental) change management.
  • The promotion and supporting of innovation across the organisation, including the acknowledgement of contributions to Nganana to the individual who made the effort – who conceptualised the idea.
  • The provision of a fiercely non-discriminatory environment in which to belong.

5.  Innovation

Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement, and progress – Ted Levitt.

Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow – William Pollard.

Innovation is an essential component of Nganana’s business, applicable across the organisation.  Within the community services sector “social innovation” is defined as “…the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress”, Stanford Graduate School of Business.

From a micro perspective innovation is a crucial element when planning services, especially when supporting individuals with complex behavioural and psychosocial support needs.  The key to effective positive behaviour support is engagement – it is unlocking the keys to what motivates each unique individual; what activity or stimuli inherently engages sufficiently to displace antisocial and/or destructive behaviours.  This takes an innovative mindset willing to explore, and think outside the box.

But this is just one component of innovation, which has relevance across the full spectrum of organisational functions; staff recruitment and support management, project development, marketing, support plan design and development, risk management, the development of a positive and supportive organisational culture.  For Nganana applied creativity is what gives rise to our approach to service delivery:  “Nothing is insurmountable”.