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General Manager's Network Blog

  • 20 Jul 2016 4:56 PM | Anonymous

    Kate Jessep is Director, Corporate & Community Services at City of Victor Harbor. 

    Kate attended the recent GM network forum and found it generated lots of great ideas to implement back in the office.

    How many GM Network events have you attended?

    All except one or two.

    What attracted you especially to this one?

    I plan to attend all of the forums this year which focus on the ‘innovation in LG’ theme and offering specific skills and knowledge (take-away ‘tool-kit’ methods from each session) as well as the networking opportunities.

    What are main things you got out of the session?

    Access to a highly qualified and experienced academic who I could engage as a consultant to assist with strategic planning at Council; improved understanding on thought process when solving ‘wicked problems’.

    As a GM's time is valuable - do you think it was a good use of your time? 

    Yes, but I would have preferred more time on the theory and less on the case study (I thought the case study was just meant to facilitate learning, not be the major activity). 

    What do you think you will put onto practice back in the office? 

    Consider using this problem solving methodology in the design of future community engagement processes for developing new significant projects such as redevelopment of a community precinct. 

    Would you recommend that other GM's attend upcoming sessions/events? Why?

    Yes - the network exposes GMs to different ways of thinking and new knowledge from a variety of academics and consultants to add to their network; provides take-away ‘tool kit’ processes to use in your workplace; and, most importantly to me, provides a forum to meet other GMs/Directors with whom to share experiences and knowledge. 

    Also – a question about professional development in general - how many hours per week, on average, would you allocate to your own professional development - e.g. learning, reading and further developing your skills?

    2-3 hours per week. 


  • 20 Jul 2016 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    Victoria MacKirdy is General Manager Organisation & Culture at Alexandrina Council. 

    Victoria attended the recent GM network forum and found it highly valuable.  She also comments on professional development and the benefits of being a part of the GM network.

    How many GM Network events have you attended? 

    I have attend 3 events so far.

    What attracted you especially to this one?

    I really enjoy the connection LG Professionals SA has with the University and the ability to listen to and workshop with experts in their field.

    What are main things you got out of the session?

    I really enjoyed the tools and techniques presented around addressing and unpacking issues, problems - opportunities.  I also had the opportunity to meet several GM's I had not met before.

    As a GM's time is valuable - do you think it was a good use of your time?

    Yes!

    What do you think you will put onto practice back in the office?  

    Several of the tools and techniques presented - some of these techniques I have studied before - but you tend to forget in your day to day work until you are refreshed - this was a great refresher for me.

    Would you recommend that other GM's attend upcoming sessions/events? Why? 

    Yes, these sessions/events provide a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge and refresh techniques you may not have used for some time.  Ability to discuss issues / day to day operations with like-minded peers and make connections which may well assist you in your role someday.

    Also – a question on professional development in general - how many hours per week, on average, would you allocate to your own professional development - e.g. learning, reading and further developing your skills? 

    Well that's a hard question......... not enough........ I would probably only allow a day a month.

     


  • 20 Jul 2016 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    Bruce Williams is General Manager, City Services at City of Charles Sturt.

    Session Chair, Bruce Williams was particularly interested in the recent network forum on Innovation.  He highly recommends that all local government GM’s attend future sessions.

    How many GM Network events have you attended?

    I have attended all of the GM Network sessions since the inception of the network, including the first official forum which was held at the Adelaide Zoo.

    What attracted you especially to this one?

    Innovation is an important part of the national agenda to help drive economic growth and living standards. Innovation is also a common strategy for driving initiatives in the local government sector, particularly focussed on enhancing customer service delivery outcomes, but also underpinning the philosophy of continuous improvement.  I think all GM’s and Directors in local government are accountable for fostering a culture that supports innovation, so the session was important for me to attend.

    What are the main things you got out of the session?

    Good ideas don’t just happen.  Often there needs to be a framework to assist in the creative process and also to ensure that ideas have genuine value in addressing problems within the workplace.  The session provided valuable tools and tips for helping to assist in fostering this process.

    As a GM's time is valuable - do you think it was a good use of your time?

    Yes, I always find these sessions are valuable.  The guest speakers are always of a high calibre and are experienced in articulating contemporary management initiatives and applying them to a workplace and local government context. The interaction with peers in terms of discussing these concepts is often valuable in terms of sharing ideas, both in the formal workshop sessions but also importantly in the informal networking opportunities over lunch.

    Would you recommend that other GM's attend upcoming sessions/events? Why?

    Yes, I would definitely recommend the network to other GM’s and Directors.  The theme of this year’s networking forums is that of ‘Innovation and Creativity’.  From a leadership perspective these are important strategies that we as GM’s need to be driving in our respective Councils.  These forums provide an opportunity for us to discuss ideas and concepts and how they can be applied in the workplace. I think the ability to network and share experiences is also really valuable in terms of our own professional and personal growth and development.

    Also – a question about professional development in general - how many hours per week, on average, would you allocate to your own professional development - e.g. learning, reading and further developing your skills?

    Between 1 to 2 hours per week.

     

     


  • 20 Jul 2016 4:15 PM | Anonymous

    Carlos Buzzetti is the General Manager Urban Planning & Environment at City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters.

    Carlos recently attended his first GM network forum and is now a convert – he found it a great use of this time and will try to attend all GM network events in future.

    How many GM Network events have you attended?

    I’ve attended one event, being the most recent one.

    What attracted you especially to this one?

    The focus on innovation during the session was of particular interest to me as it’s important to learn new, cost effective and inclusive ways of doing business.

    What are main things you got out of the session? 

    I met some new colleagues from across local government and I really enjoyed applying new ways of thinking to project management, using practical ‘real world’ examples.

    As GM's time is valuable - do you think it was a good use of your time?

    I think it was an excellent use of my time, in a centrally located space with an appropriate balance of networking and applied thinking.

    What do you think you will put onto practice back in the office?

    I will focus more on understanding people’s motives and values in the early phases of project development, given the extent to which they underpin project outcomes.

    Would you recommend that other GM's attend upcoming sessions/events? Why?

    I would definitely recommend that other GM’s attend upcoming sessions. The setting was relaxed and friendly and there was a genuine focus on high level personal and professional learning, which was both challenging and stimulating.

    Also – a question on professional development in general - how many hours per week, on average, would you allocate to your own professional development - e.g. learning, reading and further developing your skills?

    I try hard to allocate on average, a couple of hours a week to my own professional learning.


  • 20 Jun 2016 5:34 PM | Anonymous
    • How do you come up with innovative solutions or approaches?
    • What’s your process for generating ideas?

    What was the event about?

    The recent GM network workshop explored these concepts more closely.

     Facilitated by Dr Lisa Daniel from the University of Adelaide Business School, the GMs were taken through a robust process to spark creativity and generate discussion.

    What were the key points?  What did attendees learn that they can use in their roles?

    The process included creative ways of considering all aspects of a project, including the 5 ‘D’s’:


    Define – what are we seeking to understand?  Who is involved and how?

    Discover – what’s good about this for us?  What do we have that works well; what are we good at and how can we use these strengths?

    Dream – what would work well, now and into the future

    Design – what do we need to do/put in place/address to make this real?

    Destiny – How could it come together most successfully? 

    A real case study was used to add value to the process – a proposed Performing Arts and Cultural Centre at Victor Harbor.

    Attendees spent time discussing, testing and gathering innovative ideas that were collated and summarised at the end of the exercise.  At the end of the session there were certainly lots of useable, valuable new ideas to put into practice!

     What was the feedback from attendees? 

    The GM’s commented on the value they derived from his project and workshop session, and said the concepts they learned would be very useful for each of their teams back in the office. 

     Further, they really saw the value in running a real world exercise with their peers – to network, to learn and to share ideas – especially with those who had been through a similar development or process.

     Kate Jessep, Director, Corporate and Community Services at Victor Harbor, said she valued the opportunity to now have access to a highly qualified and experienced academic who could potentially assist with strategic planning at Council – as well as an improved understanding on thought processes to be used when solving ‘wicked problems’.

     “I also really appreciated the input of the other GMs“ she added. “The network exposes GMs to different ways of thinking and new knowledge from a variety of academics and consultants to add to their network; provides take-away ‘tool kit’ processes to use in your workplace; and, most importantly to me, provides a forum to meet other GMs/Directors with whom to share experiences and knowledge.”

    Session Chair, Bruce Williams said the workshop was yet another excellent event – held in a superb learning environment. 

     “Innovation is an important part of the national agenda to help drive economic growth and living standards. Innovation is also a common strategy for driving initiatives in the local government sector, particularly focussed on enhancing customer service delivery outcomes, but also underpinning the philosophy of continuous improvement.  I think all GMs and Directors in local government are accountable for fostering a culture that supports innovation, so the session was important for me to attend – and it certainly delivered. The session provided valuable tools and tips for helping to assist in fostering this process.”

     The positive outcomes from the session were not limited to just the GMs learning and networking.  Presenter Dr Lisa Daniels makes a final comment:

    “From a presenter’s perspective I really enjoy working with such a motivated and capable bunch of professionals.  It was wonderful to hear them sparking off each other, exploring different ideas and perspectives, and building on their diverse experiences and knowledge.”

     Would the attending GM’s recommend attending these sessions? Why?  (Here are just a few of the many comments received)

     “I would definitely recommend the network and our events to other GM’s and Directors.  The theme of this year’s networking forums is that of ‘Innovation and Creativity’.  From a leadership perspective these are important strategies that we as GM’s need to be driving in our respective Councils.  These forums provide an opportunity for us to discuss ideas and concepts and how they can be applied in the workplace. I think the ability to network and share experiences is also really valuable in terms of our own professional and personal growth and development.”
    Bruce Williams – GM, City Services, City of Charles Sturt

     “I would encourage other GM’s to attend.  These sessions/events provide a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge - refresh techniques you may not have used for some time.  Ability to discuss issues / day to day operations with like-minded peers and make connections which may well assist you in your role  - now, or in the future.”
    Victoria MacKirdy, GM Organisation and Culture, Alexandrina Council

    “I would definitely recommend that other GM’s attend upcoming sessions. The setting was relaxed and friendly and there was a genuine focus on high level personal and professional learning, which was both challenging and stimulating.”
    Carlos Buzzetti, GM Urban Planning and Environment, City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters

    So make sure you book in for the next GM session – it’s a great use of your time to focus on development for yourself, network with others and learn how you can apply your new skills in your respective job roles. 

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