Kevin Marriott, Auckland Council’s project sponsor, first met Alicia when she helped the Council with strategic long term planning, providing insights and facilitation across various service areas.
He was impressed with her methodology; and when the Community Places team needed a robust process to help them implement ways to earn additional revenue, he sought her out. .
“Alicia’s benefits-led methodology is really sound. She adds a lot of value to the process as an expert facilitator but also as a very insightful and knowledgeable consultant.
We needed to come down a notch from the strategic to the tactical, and with Alicia’s help, we have a service improvement plan that we can action without deviating from our core purpose.”
The workshop team of eight comprised the Community Places team as well as key council stakeholders. According to Kevin, it was a testament to the quality of Alicia’s approach and positive energy that all eight attendees were there and fully engaged for all six workshops.
“At no stage did the process feel tedious or drawn out. While her methodology has a lot of rigour and really challenges your thinking, she keeps things moving along. There is a really good energy and pace to her work that is really appreciated by institutions like local government,” he says.
GM Graham Bodman echoed this sentiment. However, for him, it was the rigour of the workshop process was most important and really stood out.
As with all successful workshop processes, it is the ability to translate workshop plans into action that really counts, and Graham says he is very pleased with the outcome so far.
“People are invested in this process and committed to action. It was hard work, but I was pleased it required a high level of engagement and effort to reach the conclusions. The funding decision-makers in the room were confident it was a good strategy; and the operational team is gaining good momentum with implementation.”
Kat Teirney is the Service Improvement Manager for the Community Places team, responsible for making sure agreed actions are implemented. For Kat, it was vital to bring everyone connected to the business on the same journey.
“I had concerns about our pre-conceptions coming into the process. Because we were looking at financial improvements, there was a risk people would just look at financial returns in isolation, rather than creating value and the knock on effect this could have on increasing revenue,” she says.
“Alicia has a light touch with everyone and equalises people in the room, with a great sense of humour and a good process of making sure everyone has a voice. Her clear, very robust weighting methodology enabled us to have a great deal of trust in those areas that came out on top.”
The work the Community Place team has done has resulted in seven other Council service areas bringing Alicia on board. Alicia’s way of thinking has now been embraced as a new way of working, with similar conversations now taking place across the full breadth of Community Services improvement programmes.