nkf cultural transformation

Edmund Kwok, Chief Executive Officer of National Kidney Foundation Singapore (NKFS), shares how the intentional transformational journey of their leadership culture has aided their strategic growth.

Edmund Kwok, Chief Executive Officer of National Kidney Foundation Singapore (NKFS), shares how the intentional transformational journey of their leadership culture has aided their strategic growth.

E: NKF has taken a strategic approach for us to be a forward-thinking organisation since 2013. This is timely as we have seen rapid growth. The number of patients we currently serve has increased 33%, from 3,000 to 4,000.

To cope with the increased demand, we have increased dialysis capacity correspondingly, including growing from 25 dialysis centres to 31, with many more in the pipeline. Dialysis centres are now nurse-led, as nurses are empowered to do advanced work for better clinical outcomes, with NKF’s patient survival rates one of the highest worldwide. 

In addition, we have expanded our efforts in awareness and prevention through many new community outreach initiatives including Kidney Health Education and Diabetes Health Buses to reach the masses, especially high risk groups. We have committed more resources such efforts, increasing six-fold to $3.8 million this year and it will grow even more. With our expanded need, NKF is now a 1,000 strong organization.

 

P: Share more about your experience in working with PACE.  

E: We collaborated with PACE because we value their professionalism and experience in delivering organisational development solutions. We will continue to adopt coaching-focused leadership which provides long-term, sustainable organisational effectiveness.

PACE has been helping us effect transformation in our organisation. For instance, they have facilitated our leadership competency development framework that allows employees coming onboard across all levels to be appropriately trained, including our young executives who show good potential, to be exposed to more leadership or management roles and duties. This framework focuses on setting expectations right for employees at all levels, and to address training needs holistically for all individuals.

 

P: What cultural transformations have you observed since partnering with PACE to develop NKF's leaders?

E: Our young leaders have broadened their perspectives and understanding of strategies and operational challenges.  They are able to look at things from a larger point of view while driving their projects and achieving their goals. They have also become more motivated and are taking more initiatives towards attaining and sustaining organisational effectiveness.

 It is important for leaders to set standards. We must not settle for second best and staff should be challenged to do better and be allowed to set their own improvements for better ownership. With the ‘thinking organisation’ culture, raising standards and improvements become second nature.

 

P: What were the past challenges or pain points that influenced you to invest in developing your leaders?

E: I moved from the private sector to a charity organisation. There is a greater sense of responsibility here because while we have similar goals to minimise waste, improve productivity, become more effective and professional, we are doing it with donor resources – other people’s money. VWOs therefore need to be even more efficient to stretch the charity dollar and ensure that the donor intent to help others is well guarded.

Another major challenge is alignment. As we have over 30 Centres all over the Island, it is very important for standardisation and sharing of best practices. In addition, every effort must be taken to ensure each and every employee understand and own the larger goals and move in tandem with the organisation.