13. Sep, 2015

NDIS - 5 lessons for transition from contact lenses


I love my contact lenses - not just because they provide me with clearer vision and enhance my choice and control over what I do, but because if your are open to the learning, they can teach you heaps of lessons that you can apply to life - including transitioning to the NDIS.


Lesson 1. Change isn't easy

When you start wearing contact lenses, they are mongrels of things to get used to. First up, you have to condition yourself to be able to do what is tantamount to poking yourself in the eye at least twice in each eye, each day. This is a seemingly unnatural act and somewhat counter-intuitive to what you generally accept as 'good for you'.

Then you have to develop the skill to get a tiny piece of plastic to let go of the skin on your finger and adhere to your eyeball. This takes experimentation, patience and practice. Believe me, their are times when you think you just won't be able to do it and you will want to give up.

The initial happiness of getting your lenses in becomes overshadowed during the day as your eyes, while still adjusting to the lenses become tired and irritable and want you to go back to the old ways. But if you stick with it, after a few weeks you don't even know your wearing them.

Transitioning to the NDIS is somewhat the same:

  • sometimes you need to do what might seem counter-intuitive based on your previous experiences
  • you have to experiment and adjust your approaches as you learn more and more from doing
  • you need to see the process through, even when you want to stop


Lesson 2. The old ways are not the best

When I wore glasses, I hated going out in the rain. I hated going to the beach. I hated exercising. Driving at night was always a sub-optimal experience due to reflections - and on the odd occasion, my depth perception was a bit wonky.

In other words, while glasses work, they have their limitations. Contact lenses on the other hand provide a far more individual response that allows for far more choice, control, freedom and flexibility.

Now I love doing all those things that used to really bug me.

You may think your block grant gives the people who use your service choice and control, but it really doesn't. I recall a story from the Hunter NDIS Trial Site where a chap with quadriplegia would get assistance from his service provider to go to bed. BUT because of the restrictions of the block grant the latest they could do this was 7pm - giving him roughly 4 hours of staring at the ceiling before he dropped off to sleep (he couldn't move his head sideways). Now his Individual Support Plan (ISP) caters for staff that can come at 10pm. This would never have been possible in this specific instance under block grant.

So just like glasses, block grants do give a basic solution to a need, but a more individualised response can lead to far greater choice, control, freedom and flexibility and that is what people with disability want.


Lesson 3. Irritation doesn't go away by itself - and if left alone, it only gets worse

Anyone who has worn contact lenses knows that sometimes the moment you put them on, you can feel an irritation on your eye - AND it will never go away by itself! It is folly to believe that doing nothing will solve the situation. You have to address it immediately by taking the lens out, examining the cause and dealing with it, or it will just get worse and worse as the day goes on.

If you have staff or systems that are impeding your capacity to transition to the NDIS, you need to deal with them/it now! Don't wait, hoping it will get better. It won't. Take the time to address the situation, examine the cause and deal with it. Most times with contact lenses this means you can still go on using the same lens, but sometimes you have to throw the old one out and get a new one. Same goes for staff and systems. And the quicker you do it, the quicker you can get on with the things that matter in your transition plan.


Lesson 4. Panic and knee-jerk reactions rarely solve anything

Dropping a contact lens (particularly when you are getting ready to go out) usually sets off a mild to moderate panic attack. Contact lenses are relatively small things and they are deliberately designed to be transparent - and not to put too fine a point on it, the user has a degree of vision impairment.... you're getting the point right? Finding the little sucker is going to be a challenge and as time is running out till you have to leave home, the pressure is on!

The knee-jerk panic reaction of trying to look everywhere at once rarely works. And a tip for nothing - looking in the same place where you already know it isn't over and over again, won't make it magically appear... It takes a logical approach of slow and deliberate scanning to locate a lost lens.

The same applies for finding your way under the NDIS. As you hear of happenings in launch sites, or when you get that notification that the NDIS is coming to your postcode, and as time is running out, panicking and knee-jerk reactions won't help. You need to take a slow and deliberate scan of the environment and your organisation. You need to identify what needs to change and put in a logical planned process to make change happen.

And most of all you need to follow through on implementation - just like looking in the same places won't make a contact lenses magically appear, nor will doing things the same old way lead to the changes you need to make.

Remember - nothing changes, if nothing changes


Lesson 5. It's all about giving the customer what they want

Optometrists can make much more money out of selling glasses than they do on the sale of a set of contact lenses, but they understand that they need to provide what the customer wants. I can't think of a single optometrist that hasn't modified their business to supply contact lenses since they were invented.

So before you say you don't do that, THINK!

To finish on, I know I'm mixing my metaphors, but don't become the 'Kodak' of the disability sector.

I can assist you and your organisation with the change process of transitioning to the NDIS - or you can read my other posts below for free.

P: 0412 020 478  E: scott@peregrinus.com.au W: www.peregrinus.com.au


Peregrinus Consulting - supporting those who provide paid support for people with disability 

30. Aug, 2015

NDIS - a template letter for CEOs to their staff

Dear Staff Member,

The commencement of the full transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is now less than a year away.


To get ready, there is a whole bunch of stuff I’d like you to know:


  • The NDIS will be a great thing for the people who use our services; they are going to love it! I think we will learn to love it too, but it is going to mean some pretty serious changes and challenges for us.


  • Our organisation will at some point over the next 3 years stop getting ‘block grant’ funding (paid in-advance) to fund the outlet you now work in. Instead, every person who uses our services will have an Individual Support Package (ISP) provided by the NDIS and if the people who currently use us are going to stay with us, they will need to choose us to be a provider of their support. Of course, they may choose to go somewhere else - something very hard to do under the block grant system, but very, very easy to do under the new system.


  • If people choose us to provide their support, we will need to raise an invoice to get paid for what we deliver (paid in-arrears) for every single person, every single time we support them.


  • Notice, I’ve said ‘support’ not ‘service’. The NDIS does not fund service types. Rather, the NDIS funds ‘supports’ that are linked to the attainment of a person’s goals. You can see a list of the kinds of supports the NDIS will pay for here.  Note, the prices are inclusive of all ‘overhead costs’ e.g. management, rent, utilities, corporate services etc. Also note, the NDIS will not actually 'fund' our organisation at all, they will provide funds for use by the person with disability to purchase the supports they want, from who they want, when they want them. Please rest-assured that we are currently working to see how this will impact on our organisation into the future.


  • It is highly likely some of the people we now serve will be eligible for a greater variety of supports than they are currently getting. And as the scheme is intended to double the number of people in our community who access supports, it is highly likely some new people might be knocking on our door too. If we are able to provide the support they have funding for in their ISP, then we want them to choose us!


How this affects you:


  • First and foremost, our organisation will need staff that are customer focussed and committed to providing quality support.


  • You need to accept that NDIS participants will be our customers. Some of them might only have relatively small amounts of money to spend like $3,000 pa. Others might have $30,000 pa to spend. And yet others might have close to $300,000 pa to spend. But no matter how you look at it, any businesswould love to have customers that spend that much (even the $3,000) with them every year!


  • You also need to accept that people can choose to spend their money with any organisation they choose - and if you don’t treat them right, they may leave.


  • I believe you are our greatest asset when it comes to treating people right. How you act and behave with the people who choose to use us, will be a big factor in them choosing to stay with us.


  • You will need to completely embrace a ‘person-centred approach’ to the support you provide. Nothing less will suffice.


  • We may need you to collect data on the support you provide in future so we can invoice for it - simply put, if we don’t invoice for it, we don’t get paid.


  • While there are never any guarantees, with the money being spent on disability support rising from $6.5b today to around $22bwhen the whole NDIS is rolled out, if our organisation gets this right and you can make the changes you need to make, there should be plenty of jobs to go around.


How this affects our organisation:


  • We need to accept that our future is inextricably linked to the choices people will make in terms of the types of support they will want as a part of their ISP.


  • We will need to be responsive to these choices.


  • We need to work out exactly what supports we will provide into the future.


  • We need to work out exactly what it currently costs us to provide support, so we can ensure we can continue to operate at the prices the NDIS will pay.


  • We need to start working now with the people who currently use our services and their families, to start to understand what they might choose when their turn comes to move to the NDIS. We also need to help them prepare for the changes too – the NDIS will do some of the preparation, but they don’t know the people we work with like we do!


  • We need to start to think about what the new people who currently don’t use our services might want and how we can market the supports we can provide to them.


  • We need to work out how we will deal with people on a week to week basis who might want to alter the schedule or frequency of the supports they receive from us.


  • We need to work out how we can provide supports outside of normal business hours and in different locations, as people will want their support when they want it, where they want it, not when and where we may have historically provided it.


  • We need to work out how often we will be invoicing for the supports we provide and who will do it.


  • As we won’t have any ‘contracts’ with government, we will need to develop a ‘service agreement’ for use with the people who choose us to be their support provider.


  • We need to work out how as an organisation we can bestsupport you as we move through this change process.


How this will affect me:


  • I need to provide the leadership to create the environment and build on our culture, so that we can face the future as assured of success as we possibly can!


  • I can’t do this alone, it’s exciting but it is also challenging and we all need to work together to ensure we are able to deliver the very best supports to people with disability. We need to share our knowledge, concerns, fears, and our aspirations - and we need to support each other to create and implement a vision for our organisation's future.


Are you with me?


Yours sincerely,


Your CEO


Peregrinus Consulting - supporting those who provide paid support for people with disability 


Previous NDIS related posts on LinkedIn

Nine essential steps for NDIS readiness - a simple checklist of the things to do to prepare for the NDIS

The NDIS, a jewellery shop and the wedding planner - my thoughts on customer service under the NDIS

Olivetti and the NDIS - innovation may be the key to your organisation's sustainability under the NDIS

NDIS - who's buying it? - marketing your services and continuous improvement under the NDIS

NDIS - who's the competition? - four strategies to enhance your organisation's competitiveness under the NDIS

NDIS - death of the convenient excuse - the need to empower staff with decision making skills and financial literacy

NDIS and the year of the rabbit - the importance of keeping your organisation's core values intact when innovating

NDIS - the review mirror and co-design - the importance of looking ahead and involving stakeholders in designing your organisation's future

NDIS - what a way to make a living - employment and the NDIS

NDIS - to market, to market, to buy a fat pig - four strategies for sustainability under the NDIS

NDIS and congestion at the cash register - the importance of working capital and managing your cash flow under the NDIS

NDIS - frontline workers FAQs - just as the title says

NDIS - don't hold your breath - 3 strategies to maximise cash when preparing for the NDIS