This month we caught up with Michael Mallamo, Coordinator, Corporate Planning Strategy, at City of Adelaide about his role, joining the Business Performance and Improvement Network and Committee, and his learnings from participation in the LG Professionals SA Management Challenge.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am one of two Corporate Planners at City of Adelaide where I provide advice, reporting, and planning standards for a range of internal and external stakeholders. I am often the ‘go to’ person for policy administration maintenance and advice, organisational and performance reporting, budgeting, planning research, insights and implementation. I’m also responsible for grants and advocacy work, project management and community engagement.
Corporate Planning covers so much but its focus is on ensuring that we are driving the organisation forward in what we are delivering for our community. Our service plans and our strategic plan are our major influences, but so are our operating environment and stakeholders.
You’ve recently joined the Business Performance and Improvement Network Committee. What are you most looking forward to achieving?
I’m really excited to be a part of this reformed committee and helping the sector to work in an ever-changing environment. I’m looking forward to both learning from my peers and also being a person that my peers can come to for advice and collaboration. I want to really help people think outside the square and challenge the idea that ‘this is how we must do it’ – we have so much to learn from within and outside our sector. By the end of the year I hope our Members will be able to look back and see the Committee has been a positive driving force for the sector, helped councils to work more effectively and improved their understanding of the shared work we do.
What does Business Performance and Improvement mean to you?
In my nearly two decades of working at City of Adelaide I’ve served in a variety of roles and had the opportunity to learn from so many great people. Based on this experience, to me Business Performance and Improvement means that we’re pushing boundaries to think differently, work differently and to change up expectations. The term is often brought up in the context of ‘efficiencies’ and may be considered scary because the end outcome is unclear. However, BP&I is not scary and it’s not always about being efficient. It’s about daring to think how we might work differently, and sometimes it even results in the realisation that we are already doing things the best way.
It’s important that the advice we give our organisations and the way we help people work responds to our environment. We need to have a clear understanding of the expectations from our communities so we know what our operating environment looks like, and we can deliver improvements that help lift the performance of our businesses. It all comes down to having a holistic view across all areas of an organisation – BP&I isn’t just one person’s job!
Can you share with us any exciting projects you’re currently working on?
As many Councils would be doing right now, we’re currently welcoming new Elected Members into our financial and planning environment. We’ve had some great conversations in our chamber and organisation as the election has allowed us time to pause and reflect on core areas like financial sustainability, community insights, our operating environment and planning and performance. I’m really looking forward to helping a new Council articulate its plans for 2023/24 and sharing this with our community.
I’m also working on how we can re-invigorate policy, developing a new corporate planning framework and implementing a new quarterly reporting process, which has already seen a new organisational and CEO performance process introduced. The new corporate plan being proposed is a great opportunity for our organisation to re-align to our new strategic plan, which will also be developed concurrently by our team.
You’ve been a team member and a mentor in the LG Professionals SA Management Challenge over recent years. How has your participation enhanced your professional development?
When I joined the Challenge, I expected that I’d be contributing familiar skills relating to my role – the creative person, the disrupter, the planner and project officer. However I came away enlightened, with a new outlook on how I functioned, and what my leadership skills had the potential to be. With each task addressing a different stakeholder, audience, or communication medium it really forces participants to not just think on their feet, but also to reach out and utilise each other’s skills. As a mentor the following year and now part of the support crew, I’ve been able to use all of these opportunities to focus on developing my leadership capabilities. It just goes to show that even if you’re years into your local government career, you’re never finished with your professional development and there is always a surprise to be had!
Finally – what do you enjoy outside of work? How do you spend your leisure time?
I love the adventures I have with my partner and our goofy greyhound. This might be just a walk to the beach, a hike in the hills, or a shop along Rundle Mall. Sometimes we also venture out further to Clare Valley, Yorke Peninsula, or one of the many other amazing locations we have to explore in SA. Of course, these adventures only happen if I’m not reading or binge-watching TV! I also love trying to cook something new each week as it’s a time to be creative, relax and to have time together with my partner. He is a recipe person and I’m a ‘go with my heart’ person, so cooking is always a mix of fun and frustration (and I’m ok with that!).