“Overwhelmingly the feedback from the participants (all who are senior leaders) was that this was one of the best developmental experiences they’d undertaken.”Joanna Giannes, Organisational Development Specialist, City of Mitcham (South Australia)
Many reduce Local Government (LGAs) to the three Rs (roads, rates and rubbish) which misrepresents the array of community building services and initiatives led by communities and supported by councils. How does the local level of Australian democracy serve communities and tackle adaptive challenges? How do administrations meet their technical obligations while lifting their eyes to the horizon and respond to a changing climate, shifting demographics and rapidly evolving values in the community? For a range of reasons, good and bad, local government doesn’t get the love it deserves when it comes to ambitious leadership development.
Thanks to the work of Joanna Giannes, Matt Pears and Matt Romaine we found ourselves running two, 2-day adaptive leadership intensives with the City of Mitcham’s senior executive team and people managers (28+ people). The brief we were given was gutsy and generous: “help us think adaptively and model facilitative practice so we can develop fluency in working on adaptive challenges for the community at Mitcham”(Joanna Giannes). So we jumped on a plane (novel in the early post-lockdown era) and headed to the Flinders University, Tonsley Campus, where we found self-driving cars, mind-boggling robotics labs and a group of exceptional local government workers who were up for a deep dive into Adaptive Leadership.
Over the course of 4 months, we laid the groundwork for this group of people to reorient their meetings and reconfigure their work around technical and adaptive challenges respectively. We caught up with Joanna, the brains behind the leadership development work at City of Mitcham and she had this to say about the impact of our work:
“Overwhelmingly the feedback from the participants (all who are senior leaders) was that this was one of the best developmental experiences they’d undertaken. Since the sessions with Polykala, there has been consistent language that has been introduced into the organisation and a collective understanding of diagnosing problems (and opportunities) through multiple lenses creating stronger internal efficiencies. As an architect of leadership development programs, my personal experience in collaborating with Ananth and Polykala was an experience that was professional, insightful, thoroughly prepared and an absolute bucket load of fun!” – Joanna Giannes, Organisational Development Specialist, City of Mitcham (South Australia)