Are we structured in the right way, & do we have the right number of people with the right skills & attitude (corporate culture) in the right jobs?
Question 7 in the “10 Hardest Questions to answer in Local Government”.
Wow! No wonder these questions are touted as being the hardest in local government, each week I cringe even reading them, let alone answering them. To this I would simply say, not yet, but it is a work in progress.
This year council embarked on a restructure. Restructures are sometimes done to lose people within the organisation as a cost saving. This isn’t why we have made the decision to restructure. Instead we have four outcomes in mind:
1. We are seeking to improve efficiency and reduce duplication within and across job;
2. we are seeking to provide an environment of ‘One Team’ in order to improve culture and empower staff;
3. we are seeking to improve the design and grouping of jobs for purpose-full alignment with strategic outcomes; and
4. we are seeking to get the right people in the right positions which will provide optimum outcomes for community as we will have more content and capable staff making the most of their individual skill sets and passion.
Sounds like a good plan doesn’t it? And as with all plans it’s not necessarily how good or poor they are, the key to their success is the execution, or in the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Good planning without good working is nothing”.
Implementation speed bumps we are currently facing include:
1. Making time to think about how we can do things better. I’m a big advocate for taking time to step back and think but there is so much to get through on an everyday basis that we struggle to get off the merry go round long enough to work out what we could or should be doing;
2. Attraction of key staff. Attraction of skilled people to work in outer regional areas still is a huge issue which affects this council. For instance, we have now been without a General Manager of Works (the person in charge of our roads, water etc.) for almost a year. This is a very long time to be without stability in this absolutely crucial positon. We have held true to our right person, right skills, right position, mantra and even though we have conducted numerous interviews unfortunately we still haven’t found the right fit (by the way this position hasn’t been left unfilled but has had temporary managers in there doing the job);
3. Legacy issues. We are challenging the “this is how we used to do it” mentality and of course this isn’t always embraced by everyone.
When all is said and done, a positive plan and a positive attitude doesn’t fix things. A positive plan, a positive attitude and positive action does. We are still working hard towards getting this one right.