Connecting Frontline Teams to a Higher Purpose with Cath Stone.
If you're in a room of 100 people, 33 of those people will need blood donors or blood products at some point in their lifetime. We often don’t think about the importance of giving blood, until it suddenly affects our lives or the lives of those we love... Cath Stone is Executive Director of donor services at the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. She leads a team of 2000 frontline workers that facilitate blood donations around the country. When it comes to connecting frontline teams to a higher purpose, Cath has a pretty inspiring story to tell.
Connecting her staff to a higher purpose has always been a priority for Cath. She believes it is the key to creating an empowered, motivated and tight-knit team that work towards a collective vision. Their purpose is to save lives (a pretty impressive purpose if you ask us).
During COVID-19, that connection became even more important. Cath made it her mission to ensure every frontline worker felt confident, comfortable and connected to the reason they came into work each day.
To do this, Cath brought human-centered stories to the forefront.
“Storytelling for us this year has become more important than it ever was, as we've connected with our teams and ensured we've maintained their engagement and their brilliant service.”
She says sharing these stories reminds her team of why they need to be there, and why they need to be superheroes. Cath generously shares some of these touching stories in her presentation at the AskNicely Frontline Summit.
Eva is the youngest ambassador, she relies on weekly immunotherapies. Without the plasma donations she receives from the Australian public, she’s unable to enjoy her life. Then there’s William, who when Cath first met was smaller than the palm of her hand. Through milk donations, William was able to grow into the beautiful, strong and healthy boy he is today. Cath connects her frontline team to their higher purpose by showing them the direct impact they have. The lives they’re saving, and the hope they're igniting.
“It's these types of stories that fill our centers and keep reminding our teams why their purpose is higher than themselves.”
Cath doesn’t just share the stories of the donor recipients to connect her team, but also the generous donors too. Known as the man with the golden arm, James Harrison has, throughout his life, made 1173 donations. A special component in his blood, helps save the lives of unborn babies. James is responsible for the healthy birth of two and a half million Australian children. How freaking special.
Your frontline team may not be saving lives. But they are out there doing something, right? What is their purpose? They should know, and feel deeply connected to it. Whether you connect your team to that purpose using human-centred storytelling, training and workshops or incentives and rewards — the important part is that the connection is made.
Cath leaves us with a thought-provoking question.
How do we share our stories and use them to enable, empower and care for our frontline teams as we head into a year of recovery?
We’ll leave that with you to ponder...