Blogs

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 
  • 27 Oct 2017 1:26 AM | Anonymous


    As part of the Australasian Management Challenge each year, teams are required to complete a pre-challenge task.

    In 2017, this task was designed so that teams would need to work with their organisations and management to conduct community consultation on a real issue, and make recommendations. 

    Alexandrina was one of the teams in SA that worked on a consultation exercise that was so successful, it actually received council funding to become a real project.

    We spoke with Colin Shackleford of the Alexandrina team - Alexandrina STEAM.

    Hi Colin - thanks for speaking to us about your pre-challenge task.

    How did you choose the subject for your pre-challenge task in 2017?
    We looked at several real scenarios that required public consultation and short listed 3 projects based on their social impact and urgency. We then met with our Executive Management team and presented the three options for their consideration.

    The Skate Park project was an issue of public safety and potentially poor PR for Council so it was the preferred option.

    How did you get management involved?
    By involving senior management in the project selection process we gained their support and buy-in. It helped that the project was already listed with the Community Wellbeing Manager so we had access to the right team for support.

    How did you engage the community?
    We arranged a pop-up event at the Skate Park with a free sausage sizzle to encourage people along to tell us their views on the facility. We also linked with another Community Wellbeing OPAL event at a local park and set up a booth to hand out surveys and record people’s views about the Skate Park.

    Council uses the MySay online consultation tool so we set up the survey on that platform and also used Facebook to gather feedback. Overall we had more than 7000 responses in one form or another.

    Although the pre-challenge task could have been just based on a hypothetical project or issue, what was the end outcome at Alexandrina?
    The project was initially given to me as a problem that needed to be solved with the preferred outcome being the closure of the Skate Park. Instead, the overwhelming public response was to improve the facility and address the public safety issues as it was considered to be an excellent Skate Park.

    Did you end up actually delivering the project in reality? How did that happen?
    As a result of the public response, we formed a “Friends of the Goolwa Skate Park” group and created a project plan to address the facility and security issues.

    We also applied for grant funding to add a toilet, improve the landscaping, add security cameras, install new signage and decorate the bowl with professional street art. We received $40,000 to create the street art and beautify the bowl. The remaining works will be subject to a Council budget request for next financial year.

    What was your experience of the Management Challege in general? How did your team members benefit from the experience?
    I found it to be quite a challenge in several ways. Firstly, it was difficult to commit the time required as an operational manager with a broad portfolio and I needed to make sure that I did not simply join the group as a “manager” and play that role. Also, I did not really understand what was required so it was a bit daunting to begin with.

    I really enjoyed the experience of being part of a new team and sharing my abilities but also learning about each team member and gaining valuable insights from them about their area of work and life experience.

    It certainly broadened my understanding of Council and our governance processes even after being in Local Government for nearly 20 years. I really found out how much I did not know and I think this was the same for the other team members.

    We covered areas right outside of our comfort zones but we became a very strong, focused and supportive team. We had a broad age and experience range within our team and this gave us a unique dynamic which could have worked against us but instead proved to be vey beneficial.

    Would you encourage other councils to participate in the Management Challenge and especially put in the time and effort to get real value from the pre-challenge task?
    I would highly recommend the challenge to other Councils and in particular, ensure that the pre-challenge tasks are real scenarios that can benefit the Council and community beyond the Challenge activity.

    You can view a short video outlining Alexandrina's pre-challenge task here.



  • 26 Oct 2017 12:05 PM | Anonymous

    Looking back and learning from the past is a bit like time travel (well, without the fun, Back to the Future style ACTUAL time travel…)

    But it is fun – and can be very beneficial.

    To help us look back – and forward - imagine there are three versions of you. There’s the past you, the current you and the future you.
    Let’s call them the yesterday you, the today you and the tomorrow you.

    To illustrate how this works here’s a couple of examples.

    When you go out and have a few too many drinks and stay out far too late – the today you is having a great time but the tomorrow you will suffer.

    Conversely, when you diet to lose weight or workout in the gym – the today you puts in extra effort but the tomorrow you will thank you for it.

    It’s the same with our work life.

    Goal setting and planning
    By looking forward and setting goals on where we want be in terms of career, health, family and more we can see what we need to do to get there.

    We can see what the today you needs to do, to make sure the tomorrow you achieves what we have set out.

    Taking the time for professional development - attending a course or program, learning a new software package or reading about the latest developments in our industry will put extra time pressure on the today you but the tomorrow you will reap the benefits.

    So think about where you want to be in the future – what does your tomorrow you life look like? How does that compare to the today you? What are the steps you need to get there?

    Sometimes, looking back can help too.

    Reflection – not obsession!
    What can the yesterday you teach you about today, or tomorrow?

    Or to put it another way – if you could talk to your yesterday you what would you advise them? Sometimes thinking about it in this way helps us to distil the learnings from past experiences.

    The idea of reflection on the past is not to dwell on every ‘sliding door’ moment and obsess about what could have been– that’s not healthy!

    But you can reflect on the way you handled things, examine what you did right and wrong so you can do better next time.

    'Fail early and often' is a saying that is based on these same principles. Failing early and often gives you plenty of opportunities to learn from your mistakes and make incremental improvements (like the continuous improvement ‘Kaizen’ article we spoke about in last month’s newsletter).

    So don’t let your yesterday you go to waste, learn from their experience so your tomorrow you can do just a little better next time.

    And next time you’re out for a big night, spare just a thought for the long suffering, tomorrow you

  • 24 Oct 2017 3:06 PM | Anonymous


    Our team found the Rural Management Challenge provides a safe environment in which to experiment, try something new, step outside of your comfort zone, work with colleagues you might not ordinarily work with and network.

    In preparation for challenge day our team identified that we wanted to learn, grow and have fun by participating. We learnt about our own work styles, how we interacted as a team and how we could effectively work with each other to achieve team and personal goals. On challenge day we managed to achieve these goals and the benefits will continue long after challenge day.

    Our perspectives on council have broadened, we have built our confidence and are starting to do things we might not have previously thought possible! We are all using the energy, enthusiasm and new skills we gained from participating in our day to day. Now when 'problems' happen at work, we tend to see them more as challenges and apply the same techniques and mindset we used on the challenge day to solve the issue.

    We joked the challenge was like Top Gun school for councils! It certainly was a day of pushing ourselves, flying high and having a lot of fun along the way.


    Wattle Range Wranglers

    2017 Rural Management Challenge winners


  • 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


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 

Mailing Address:  5 Hauteville Tce EASTWOOD   Phone: 8291-7990   Fax: 8451-1568   E-mail: admin@lgprofessionalssa.org.au

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software