Vision: Do we express simply and clearly what is important and where we are going?
Mayor’s Desk 22 March 2018
Question two of the Ten Hardest Questions in Local Government, according to the LGAQ.
I’m going to challenge myself by addressing the ten hardest questions in Local Government (according to the LGAQ – Local Government Association QLD), one by one. But I also want to challenge you to read these and offer any insights in order to help us to do better.
The second question…
Vision: Do we express simply and clearly what is important and where we are going? Are our staff, our community and our stakeholder engaged in this vision?
When this terms Council was elected we met and sought a collective understanding of how the region would look not just in the next four years (of which we are currently responsible for) but how we wanted it to look in the next twenty to fifty years, for the next generation.
It is Councillors job to set the tone and direction of Council and then the CEO’s job to make it happen, so I then met with Mark (CEO) and we spoke about a new vision for the region. We spoke about culture and we spoke about creating change. What I thought would then happen was that everyone would have that a-ha moment, know exactly where the newly elected council was coming from and get to work. What really happened was this: for the next six months, staff and Councillors were frustrated and confused. We asked each other lots of questions and sought clarification often. We had some misunderstandings and we went up the garden path a couple of times. It wasn’t until I took a long hard look at how I was delivering the information and changed my approach, that things started to turn around.
As Gilbert Amelio so succinctly says “If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
After two years (almost), I am extremely grateful that staff and Councillors are now on the same team (“One Team”) and we are starting to kick some real goals. For the last 18 months we have set ourselves up as “the most proactive and innovative region in QLD”. In business there is a USP (unique selling point) and in councils there is lots of competition and as such we needed to set ourselves apart from all others. So what does this mean? We have put our hand up for a LED street
lighting pilot project, a city/country innovation partnership to break down both social and technological barriers, an asset management project with QUT so we can improve our road maintenance delivery to and a research project with USQ to improve our data to prove our case for extra required funding and these are just a few examples of how we are carving out a name for the North Burnett.
So next to do was to share our vision with community and stakeholders and like always this is when we get stuck. Council is doing some fantastic things and are truly making great progress but we still don’t know how to let you know how we are representing you. More work to do on this one too. Any advice appreciated.