I have one leg longer than the other. I have no arm on one side and only a finger on the other and I have one eye much stronger than the other. I am in many ways unbalanced but somehow it all works. I work.
Fortunately for me it is not all one sided. My left leg is longer and my finger is on my left but my right eye is much stronger, which I believe compensates for my left side. The human body is generally very clever and has worked well for me over the last 49 years.
I am currently seeing the same principles of imbalance within Purple which includes similar positive outcomes.
Purple has a clearly defined ‘left’ and ‘right’ side. On the left, we have a set of services that are focussed on supporting disabled people to have direct choice and control over the type of care they receive through our direct payment support services. And on the right side of Purple, we indirectly support disabled people – both as customers and employees – through our capacity building activities with organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors.
Our direct payment support services have been operating over 20 years (through previous incarnations of Purple). And our corporate services have been operating for around three years, drawing on the equivalent of nine staff, while our payment service is very people dependent with upwards of 25 staff. Currently the direct payment side of the business surpasses the scale of our corporate services, but if our original forecast continues to be true, our work with organisations will grow exponentially and will soon meet, and later exceed the level of income of that in payment services. However, it is unlikely that the business service side of the organisation will require 25 members of staff like the payments team. That is not because one is more productive than the other but is simply due to the nature of the activity. Despite the different sized teams and varied roles, Purple is equally balanced for everyone. We are still one organisation.
Over the last three weeks, our work with business has virtually come to a standstill, as the country and economy has gone into lockdown. And never has the demand and pressures on our support services been so high as we continue to pay carers who support disabled people to live independently.
How have the Purple team responded? Our business services staff are adapting to a ‘new normal’ and have become part-time online presenters providing online training to clients which would usually be presented in the usual fashion, but due to lockdown is no longer a possibility in the immediate future. Additionally, they have become part-time day bookers ensuring invoices are logged and new tax codes for carers are updated. All our staff have taken flexible working to the limit, learning new skills (to me, four weeks ago, Zoom was just a song by Fat Larry’s band*), working late into the night on weekdays and through the bank holiday weekend. And crucially, everyone has learned to appreciate what others in the same organisation do. The respect for colleagues has gone through the roof and Purple has been able to reset the foundations of what we do, and why, because of it.
Earlier this week a number of our staff from across the organisation formed part of a collage to support the #SparkleForSocialCare campaign which recognised care workers across the UK. If this is the type of outcome imbalance creates, then let Purple grow with one leg longer than the other which is fully compensated by a stronger corporate eye.
* In my view, Zoom is in the top 10 songs of all time!
Chief Executive Officer
14 April 2020