How Purpose stopped an organisation crash landing

Mr John Murray1

1RAAFA, South Perth, Australia



The CEO, John Murray, commenced with RAAFA in May 2013. There was growing concern for the organisation future as expressed by Auditors, 2500 Customers, 4500 Members and the governing body.

Some of Initial identified risks were:

  • ITC systems out of date and operationionaly failing
  • Auditors about to “qualify” and potentially “unable to determine” the accuracy of the financial report.
  • No HR support for 425 staff.
  • No maintenance systems for property insured for $730M.
  • The State department of Commerce having an “Enforceable undertaking “on RAAFA for non-compliance with the retirement village’s act.
  • Struggling governance
  • no strategic planning

The lack of a clearly articulated purpose was a significant hindrance to its recovery program, to mitigate risk and shift the organisation to achieving contemporary governance and operational stability.  Reigniting the original purpose, as set by the founding veterans and re-aligning that with the organisations future was critical and welcomed with relief by members and the governing body.

The power of Purpose driving the organisation enabled the recruitment of quality People and along with their passion and drive has led to a significant increase in Performance. This has been evident through stability and growth with income increasing from $30M to $62M per annum, the construction of in excess of $100m of assets, accompanied with service expansion requiring staff increases from 425 personnel to 680 over the past 6 years.

Come along for the ride that saved an iconic organisation from crash landing.

The organisation:

The Air Force Association operating as RAAFA in Western Australia is and Ex-Service organisation   providing advocacy and support for current serving and veterans of our Australian defence forces since 1929. The organisation over the past 40+ years has become the biggest provider of Retirement living in the State with 1440 homes, has co-located 6 aged care facilities with 450 beds, community based services including DVA clients, 4 licenced clubs, and an Aviation Heritage museum with 36 aircrafts.

Value of information and how it relates to the ACSA Summit:

Purpose, People Performance

This presentation takes the audience on a journey where the association had lost its sense of purpose. Its people were extremely stressed and under skilled and the organisation was subject to external parties questioning its performance on multiple levels. The delegates will hear how this significant change was undertaken and the challenges faced to achieve a positive outcome.

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