Leading Learning Linking


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  • 26 Aug 2017 8:26 AM | Anonymous

    "Take a day out of the office? Me? You've got to be kidding - I'm so flat out that I don't have time to focus on my own development. In fact the last three things my HR manager has booked me on, I've ended up cancelling."

    If this is you - or even sounds a bit like you - and be honest - you need help!

    Turning your back on your own professional development restricts your ability to plan and think - and importantly, to keep up to date with new approaches or ideas.

    People who are too focused on the tasks at hand can be a bit like this:

    So how can you keep up to date with the latest trends and innovations - and work on your own development?

    6 tips for taking time to focus on your own development in local government
    1.    Recognise that your own development is important. Like going to the gym, you’ll always put it off if you don’t see the big picture – in this case, recognise the importance and potential benefits to your career of ongoing development.

    2.    Make a set time each week (or day) to focus on it. Set aside time and mark this time out in your diary. Make it a habit to spend time on this activity.

    3.    Read voraciously. Read articles and books about innovation in your own industry but also other industries too. Consider how lessons learned elsewhere can apply to your role in local government. Many successful CEO’s have a target of reading at least one book each week.

    4.    Take advantage of technology – join relevant groups on LinkedIn, watch educational videos on YouTube and attend relevant webinars. Information has been made very ‘bite sized’ so many of these activities will take very little time - but will deliver huge rewards in terms of information and learning.

    5.    Attend relevant courses and programs to build your skills. Ongoing learning is vital to ensure your skills stay current and that you continue to grow and add value to your organisation (or, the next organisation you work for!)

    6.    Always take opportunities to network with your peers to gain new ideas and strengthen personal and professional associations. Where possible, join an existing network that meet regularly to share ideas and information.

    Read more about LG Professionals, SA’s programs and networks

  • 26 Mar 2017 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    We chat with Ella Winnall, Community Services Coordinator, Berri Barmera Council, about an idea that was fostered during her participation in the ELP and PLP - which has now culminated in the first ever SA Regional Tourism Summit. (16-18 May 2017)

    Hi Ella - please tell us about the Regional Tourism Summit.
    The Riverland Tourism Industry and the South Australian Tourism Commission are inviting representatives of local government (both staff and elected members), visitor information centres and tourism businesses to come together for the first ever SA Regional Tourism Summit.

    It is a diverse three-day program of high calibre speakers and professional development opportunities, off-site study tours and networking sessions. For all the details head to www.destinationriverland.org.au/summit to download a program.

    What do you hope to achieve through the summit?
    We hope to bring together all parts of the tourism industry together to foster better collaboration and understanding in the industry, especially for local government delegates. We have lots of events in the tourism world which are delivered to just one part of the industry, and we felt it important to have business owners, senior managers, visitor information centre coordinators, and elected members in the same room to cross pollinate ideas. We have chosen to keep our content realistic and practical for councils who want to get better value from their tourism investment. 

    What councils are involved - and why?
    From the start we have had support from all four Riverland Councils (Berri Barmera Council, Renmark Paringa Council, District Council of Loxton Waikerie and Mid Murray Council) to make the event happen. Together with Destination Riverland and the SATC, the Summit has been a collaborative effort. Our councils invest heavily in tourism in one way or another, whether it be funding regional marketing through Destination Riverland, operating visitor information centres and museums or providing facilities for visitors.

    The councils in the Riverland see tourism as key to their economic development goals, and work well together to promote the whole district as a tourist destination rather than just one town. Our councils felt this was a great opportunity to showcase to the rest of the state some of the initiatives the region has delivered, and create a platform for a much needed cross-industry discussion about the future of tourism (and local government’s involvement in it).

    What are the highlights - who's speaking - and what about?
    Day one has some amazing guest speakers, including SATC Destination Development  Director Nick Jones, marketing guru Dan Gregory, and brothers Duane Major & Adam Gardner from NZ who crowdfunded about $2million to buy a private beach in NZ and return it to the public.

    We also have Sean Keenihan speaking at our final dinner, to talk all things economic development and SA tourism.

    I am looking forward most to our day two choose your own adventure study tours, with morning and afternoon tours taking you on-site to see first hand how some of our local success stories have worked. You can learn about local government’s role in tourism, how to measure your events, sustainable accommodation projects, food and wine tourism, even eco tourism, it’s up to you!

    Who should attend and why?
    Tourism & Economic development staff, event staff, senior management, and elected members are all encouraged to attend. In particular, we want to see some delegates from other regional areas. It’s not often an event of this calibre is delivered on a level which is achievable for smaller councils, or councils with small tourism investment so it’s a good opportunity for them to come without feeling out of their depth. Because of the style of our summit allowing delegates to choose what they want to attend, it means we are having councils register a few staff from different levels to all get what they want out of it. Registrations close mid April so sign your council up asap so you don’t miss out.

    How will you measure the success of the event? - and are you planning this to be an annual event?
    It’s pretty rare to get all of the right heads together to do something like this, with industry, local government, marketing bodies and state government all making it happen – so that in itself says a lot about the event’s success. All we need now is for delegates to come and it to spark some really good initiatives around the whole state.

    We aren’t sure whether this will happen again. If there is enough interest in it this year, we think it could be done every second year in conjunction with the regional visitor information centre managers conference – but that will be a conversation for another region’s councils to take it on. We sure hope it starts something for the state!

    Since you are a recent graduate of the PLP (Professional Leaders Program) and ELP (Emerging Leaders Program) - is there anything you learned during the ELP or PLP (or any relationships you made) that have in some way contributed to your work on this Regional Summit?  If so, in what way?
    I honestly couldn’t be doing this without the lessons I learnt in the ELP and PLP. It’s a huge undertaking to take on, and having the confidence to do it was a direct result of those programs. I actually started the conversations about this project while doing the ELP, and secured the key stakeholders in the middle of the PLP. The professional connections I made in both the programs were key to the success of the project, particularly with developing content, securing speakers and finding sponsors.

    Both the PLP and ELP gave me a better understanding of the issues facing councils across the state, which was great to know that it wasn’t just us – and a state wide approach is warranted.

    Both of the programs also gave me access to some insightful speakers like Sean Keenihan, who was all too happy to speak at our event when I approached him about the concept. I also think the help and generosity of sponsors like LGRS and LG Professionals, SA probably wouldn’t be afforded to me if I was trying to make contact without any connection or knowledge of the organisations.

    In addition to this, the networks I made within the program have helped me so much, even if it has just been to send the program onto the right people in their councils – that’s such a help.

  • 26 Mar 2017 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    'Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.'
    ― Isaac Asimov

    Many job descriptions include a requirement of 'attention to detail'.

    But what does that mean? 

    Essentially it means the job role is ideally suited to someone who has the patience and care to research and read thoroughly, fully understand what is required and to produce quality work inclusive of the correct level of detail, in all aspects of the role.

    Often we speak about attention to detail in writing reports – ensuring there are no spelling errors for example.

    But it also extends to understanding the issues at hand – taking the time to investigate thoroughly all the requirements and acting accordingly. A good example in local government is community engagement- where a detail-focused person will take the time to consider all the impacts and therefore seek input from all the relevant stakeholders – rather than assuming.

    Here’s an example. What do you see here?

    I love Paris in the Springtime...?

    No – if you read it again – you'll notice the word “the” is repeated.

    Here’s another example that will test your attention to detail.  It’s an interesting test based on an experiment developed by John Ridley Stroop way back in 1935.  In fact it’s called the “Stroop effect”

    Try to say, our loud, the colour of the each word…

    Not easy is it? 

    It takes time to process.  Just as it takes time to understand each situation in local government - the needs of the ratepayers, the residents, local businesses, the Elected Members – and of course your manager. 

    Often it’s a balancing act but being able to focus on the detail and use patience to ensure everything is considered will go a long way. 

    And of course, never assume you know the answer….

  • 26 Feb 2017 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    Necessity - or frustration,  is the mother of invention – and often leads to 'out of the box' thinking.

    At the recent LG Professionals SA conference, Eyal Halamish (CEO and co-founder, OurSay) spoke about innovation and invention - and how frustration with the status quo often leads to entrepreneurs developing a new approach to solve problems.  He cited recent examples such as UBER, which responded to a market need for fast, reliable and cost-effective transport. 

    However, innovation, out of the box thinking and rapid prototyping is not a recent phenomenon.

    Two examples come to mind from the past:

    1. Apollo 13.  One of the most incredible stories of adversity and out of the box thinking in history.  After a catastrophic failure that left the Apollo 13 command module with very little power, little oxygen and failing systems, the task fell to the ground team in Houston to work out how to save the astronauts. 

    It’s a long story but there were a number of innovative – not to mention risky – decisions made to enable to crew to come home.  One of the most courageous was the use of the rocket motor in the LEM (Lunar Module – designed only for landing on the moon) as a boost rocket to propel the stricken command module back towards Earth, after they swung around the moon. 

    This rocket motor was only designed to be fired once – to lift the LEM off the moon - but this maneuver required it to be fired twice.  History shows it worked, but in terms of our of the box thinking – you don’t get more 'out of this world' than that.  (by the way, the Flight Director for Apollo 13 was Gene Krantz - a really good read is his book, 'Failure is not an option' - you can check it out here.)

    2. The Army DUKW. The second example comes from the 2nd world war.  Troops were very vulnerable when landing on beaches as they needed to leave the relative safety of the water craft and make their way on foot across the open beach.  The Army realised what they needed was a craft that could carry troops on water – and then drive up the beach towards cover.  This need (or frustration) led to the development of the Army DUKW.  (colloquially, the DUCK)

    The DUKW is widely acknowledged as a great example of responsiveness to a need, because it was developed quickly using an existing truck design as a basic platform, it was designed to be easy to make and able to be made in great quantities - and was quickly put in to effective service.  It was also constantly improved throughout production  - long before the phrase “continuous improvement” became fashionable!

    It even included innovations such as central tyre pressure control, allowing the operator to adjust the tires for hard surface roads (high pressure) or sand (low pressure) from the driver's seat. This is now a feature of the military HUMVEE and even some modern buses, trucks and 4WD passenger vehicles.

  • 25 Nov 2016 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    Once used to store unsightly landfill, Maslin Beach’s Frank Hilton Reserve is now a picturesque play space favoured by families.

    The council project that managed its transformation was awarded the ‘Hard Won Victory’ prize at the 2016 Planning Institute of Australia’s annual awards – a nod to the innovative problem-solving it required.

    City of Onkaparinga Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said council overcame a range of environmental and economic issues over seven years to deliver an outcome that enhances the area.

    “Our team challenged themselves to think differently about the planning and design process, and that helped deliver great solutions to problems while hugely reducing the project budget,” Mayor Rosenberg says.

    “The initial estimate put the cost of the project at $5.9 million but the team worked hard to find more efficient and cheaper solutions to remediate the landfill while still meeting all EPA requirements, bringing the project in at $2.6 million, which is a fantastic result.”

    While unconventional, the idea to stockpile 24,000 tonnes of surplus material from road projects at a nearby quarry provided a cost effective solution to capping the landfill.

    Topsoil removed from the site was also stockpiled and reused at later stages to reduce the carbon footprint associated with purchasing and transporting imported fill.

    Project Leader Victoria Masterman said the focus was on embracing the natural landscape rather than considering solutions in isolation.

    “For example, instead of using a traditional concrete channel for drainage we used a geo-fabric membrane liner with rocks over the top,” Victoria said.

    “It achieves the same outcome but it’s a lot cheaper and more aesthetically appropriate for the setting.”

    Local residents, Kaurna representatives and groups including the Native Vegetation Council, Coast Protection Board and Maslin Beach Community Association provided feedback on the project in ongoing consultation sessions.

    At the time, Local Government Association of South Australia President Mayor Dave Burgess said the end result illustrates the value and quality of projects delivered by local government.

    “The level of expertise, innovation and efficiency demonstrated in this project proves that local projects, driven by local government in close partnership with the local community, can deliver outstanding results,” Mayor Burgess said.

    “Onkaparinga Council has delivered the best project of its kind in the nation, setting the benchmark right here in South Australia.” The national award win follows a state award in the same category last year.

  • 31 Oct 2016 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    Norman Waterhouse Lawyers sponsor the Excellence in Local Economic Development award, so we speak to Sean Keenihan, Chairman of Partners, Norman Waterhouse Lawyers for his insights. 

    Hi Sean - can you start by telling us why, as a law firm, do you sponsor an economic development award? 

    We enjoy partnering with our council clients to make a real difference in local and regional economies.  We are delighted to recognize the efforts of councils that play an active role in leading and supporting economic growth.

    How do you think councils can benefit from focusing on local economic development?

    Developing the strength and sustainability of local economies is an essential for community prosperity.  Councils that support sustainable economic growth and transformation in local and regional economies are making a significant and tangible contribution to community prosperity.

    How do you think councils can benefit from participating in the awards - especially this category?

    It assists councils to focus on the link between what they are doing and the impact that has on communities.  It also encourages the sharing of lessons and experiences among councils (i.e. what can be done) to raise the bar in terms of performance.  It also supports continuing innovation as councils are encouraged to strive for excellence in economic development.

    This year's winner was the Coorong District Council SA Motorsport Park Development.  Why do you think this was such a great example of Excellence in Local Economic Development?

    The council played a lead facilitation role in the realisation of a project that will result in immediate and long term, sustained jobs for its community and the broader region. 

    They exhibited vision and commitment while adopting a collaborative approach (with other tiers of government and the private sector) to catalyse the development of infrastructure that will be an economic pillar for its community for decades to come.

    This involved calculated risk taking on the part of the council – but the rewards will be significant and long-lasting for its community and the State’s broader visitor economy for many years to come.

  • 31 Oct 2016 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    We chat briefly to Kate Jessep and Victoria McKirdy about their joint facility (The Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre) and their win in the 2016 awards - at both a State and National level. 

    You were successful in winning the award for Community Partnerships and Collaboration at both the State LG Professionals, SA and National LG Professionals Australia Awards with the FRAC project (Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre). What was unique about the approach that led to winning the award at both State and National levels?

    Furthermore, this required strong community collaboration to demonstrate support for the project and more than 30 concurrent decisions of both councils which demonstrates the complexity of the venture.

    While many councils collaborate to deliver services we think two Councils agreeing to partner to build and jointly own infrastructure is fairly rare.

    If you were doing the project again would you do anything different?  Why or why not?

    No. We are very proud to share the governance framework for this successful project with other Councils.

    It is currently under construction on time, on budget and will deliver an excellent, above standard, $21 million community facility for a maximum capital outlay of $6.5 million for each Council.

    What do you think are the benefits to staff, Council and the public of winning an award of this type?

    This reinforces the community's confidence in their Council's ability to deliver an ‘Award winning’ community facility.

    It promotes the Council's brand at State and National level and assists us to attract and retain excellent staff.

    Would you recommend other councils nominate for the LG Professionals, SA awards program? Why?

    Yes, for the above benefits. Furthermore, we would suggest that when you have the opportunity and good fortune to achieve a great outcome for your community the Award nominations are a great way to share your learning’s and contribute to the wider sector and community.

    Kate Jessep, Director, Corporate and Community Services, City of Victor Harbor
    Victoria MacKirdy, Acting CEO, Alexandrina Council

  • 27 Oct 2016 12:42 PM | Anonymous

    As members of the Rural City of Murray Bridge team, we were delighted to have been awarded first prize.   

    All being new to the Challenge we didn’t know what to expect on the day and were extremely nervous but once we started the challenges given to us in the morning our nerves soon disappeared as we focused on the tasks at hand. The pace soon went into over drive when we were given 4 tasks to undertake simultaneously with calm planning and discussion turning into near panic and frantic action.

    We started the day as five independent individuals and finished the day as a cohesive team that respected, trusted and supported each other. We amazed ourselves at the workload we could achieve in a day and there were definitely lessons learnt about spending time planning each task and not jumping straight into it without having a clear idea of the outcome. This is certainly something we will practice in our day jobs.

    Whilst it was great to have won, all teams must have had similar experiences and it is a great way to develop skills working out of your comfort zone and appreciating the dynamics of working in a team. We learnt how to support each other when working under pressure and have developed an extremely strong and lasting bond between all team members.

    We would encourage council’s to enter the LG Professionals, SA Rural Management Challenge next year as we believe we have all truly benefited from the experience.

    The Rural City of Murray Bridge Team (Muzza Bizza’s)

  • 27 Sep 2016 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    In this month's Sponsor Insight we chat with Darren Wunderer, Senior Relationship Manager at Statewide. 

    Hi Darren - thanks for speaking with us.

    Statewide are a valued Corporate Partner of LG Professionals SA. For those who don’t know, what services do Statewide offer to clients?
    StatewideSuper is the local industry fund based in South Australia with more than $6.5 billion dollars in funds under management, looking after the super savings of over 140,000 members and working with 18,000 employers in SA, NT and beyond.

    We provide tailored, appropriate and cost effective super support and advice to our local government members and employers. In addition we have a history of strong investment returns, provide competitive insurance cover and our fees are kept as low as possible.

    How long have you worked at Statewide and what is your role? What does it involve?
    Prior to the merger of Local Super and Statewide in 2012 I had worked at Local Super in various roles for 15 years. After a couple of years break I returned to StatewideSuper in May this year as a Senior Relationship Manager. I work closely with local government employers and other businesses who utilise Statewide for their employees’ superannuation arrangements and am involved in educating our members to ensure they get the most out of their super with the ultimate aim of a comfortable retirement.

    What motivates you? What do you find most interesting or exciting about working in local government?
    I enjoy sharing my knowledge and working with members to improve their future retirement outcomes. In local government there is such a diverse range of people and roles, every meeting or session can be different. I also enjoy visiting the regional councils who work so hard for their local communities.

    What is an interesting fact about you that not many people know?
    I was born in Naracoorte and then lived in Kadina for four years when I was in Primary School.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
    I am a keen tennis player and have played competition for over 25 years and am a big Adelaide Crows fan. I enjoy travelling and have been fortunate to have had some wonderful holidays overseas.


  • 22 Sep 2016 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    TEDx Adelaide tickets are now on sale!

    One of our members, Nathaniel Mason, (formerly at Barossa Council now City of Tea Tree Gully) is involved with the upcoming Tedx Adelaide event - so we thought we'd ask him a few questions about it to find out what's in it for local government professionals.

    Hi Nathaniel - please tell us about Tedx!
    TED is a non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading where leading thinkers and members of our communities have a platform to share their ideas. TED started as a 4 day conference in California 30 years ago, with TEDx running as locally organised events supporting individuals or groups in hosting TED-style events around the world. Through TEDx Adelaide we are helping Adelaide innovators, activists and thinkers to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.
     What do our readers need to know? 
    TEDxAdelaide 2016 is on Thursday 20 October 2016 from 2:00pm – 8:00pm. This year's theme is 'Metamorphosis' and will be held at the Adelaide Town Hall, 128 King William Street, Adelaide.
    TEDxAdelaide 2016 is set to be the biggest and most diverse TEDx event in Adelaide to date. With a focus on deep transformation, the speakers you will hear, connections you will make and the event experience are sure to inspire you to develop and pursue ideas at the conference and in the future.
    Tickets are available here now - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/tedxadelaide-2016-metamorphosis-tickets-26698447776

    TEDxAdelaide is available to follow on social;
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/tedxadelaide
    Twitter - https://twitter.com/tedxadelaide
    Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/tedxadl/
    How have you been involved?
    I have been a long time follower of TED talks, gaining tremendous insight and inspiration from a variety of talks and topics available online in both professional and personal pursuits. I recently shared an article on LinkedIn about my experience - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/whats-your-identedy-nathaniel-mason?trk=prof-post
    I joined TEDx Adelaide this year in the role of Stage Manager, bringing experience, skills and networks from lifelong participation in the Adelaide theatre and music communities and a keen ambition to support South Australian initiatives, economy and sustainability through collaboration and the TEDx platform of sharing ideas. Working in local government gives me a direct connection to understanding and participating in initiatives that shape our daily lives, where we live, work and play to ensure we can curate a TEDx Adelaide experience that is meaningful and relevant. At the same time, participation in TEDx provides perspectives, ideas and connections that I am able to bring directly back to local government and share with my peers.

    The TEDx Adelaide management team comprises of a diverse group of people who are passionate about recognising the incredible history, celebrating successes and increasing potential of Adelaide and South Australia.
    Will there be any local government content?  
    All speakers are South Australian locals and will cover an incredible and diverse line up of topics around the 'Metamorphosis' theme including government, sustainability, community growth, inclusion, leadership, technology and more.  Many of the speakers, volunteers and organisers are involved with local government initiatives already and much of the content will be connected to initiatives, grants and services that local government provide, support and participate in. 
    In my experience, I have frequently been able to apply ideas and lessons learned in TED talks directly back to local government, be it back of house operations in continuous improvement and leadership or customer facing ideas across community, culture and environment.

    What can local government professionals look to gain from attending?  What can they expect?
    Local government and TEDx Adelaide share similar goals of achieving cultural vibrancy, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity within Adelaide and South Australian communities. The opportunities for attendees extend beyond the presentations they will hear on the day, through to interactive experiences at the event and networking with a broad group of like-minded, constructive and passionate peers.
    The Metamorphosis theme tackles individual struggles as well as great political or economic transformations experienced by societies. Change is often something we confront and it isn’t on a mission to be liked. Most of the time, we’d rather not think about metamorphosis at a personal, political or any scale, let alone talk about it in front of a thousand strangers. This is what is behind the power of TED; great talks bring our fears and hopes into the open and propel us towards better things.

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