Strategic Focus: Clarity on priorities and direction

It’s time to focus on what really matters


Community facing organisations are taking on more work than ever. Community expectations are shifting, mandates are expanding, technology is changing and it can be difficult to keep up. Responsibilities expand, political and community pressure intensifies - yet our resources and bandwidth seem to stay the same.

  • Good intentions but unclear outcomes?

  • Lack of clarity about which projects should come first?

  • Worried about optimising scarce attention and resources?

If it’s time for you to regroup and refocus, Strategic Focus might be for you.

Being strategic with our time and money has never been more important. Good intentions are not enough - strategy execution is the single biggest challenge facing today’s teams.

The first hurdle? Clarity about exactly what we need to achieve.

Our time together will tackle this hurdle head on. Did you know that two thirds of all change initiatives fail to deliver benefits - and those that do are late or over budget? Here’s another one for you – only 5% of public spending initiatives realise the full range of intended benefits.

Not flash.

Teams with fewer priorities consistently report improved performance, thanks to the freedom to focus.  

With the Strategic Focus programme, decision makers and leaders set powerful priorities and direct attention to where we can have the most impact.

Alicia is one of New Zealand’s most highly accredited public sector facilitators and has worked with public leaders and teams across the full community-facing spectrum – local government, central government, district health boards, universities and third sector organisations.

Author of From Strategy to Action: A Guide to Getting Shit Done in the Public Sector, Alicia has a unique insight into the demands and challenges of leading in the public sector.




  • Are overwhelmed by potential projects, objectives or initiatives

  • Need to make bold decisions about priorities

  • See their operating context changing and need to change in response

  • Need a fresh perspective

  • Enjoy challenge, banter and a laugh!

    Participants report:

  • Clarity of focus

  • Higher levels of engagement and satisfaction with their work

  • Meaningful progress toward critical objectives

    Strategic Focus draws on draws on evidence-based, public-sector focused methodologies such as Investment Logic Mapping, Better Business Cases and Managing Benefits, as well as best-practice facilitation practice and decision science. A carefully designed process moves teams along with ease, increasing clarity and driving coherence and commitment amongst decision makers.

 “An outstanding workshop and the results exceeded expectations. I originally had concerns due to the strong-minded individuals involved but Alicia skilfully navigated through the discussion, and I received a number of favourable comments about Alicia’s performance as the facilitator.“

Bryan Nicholson, Chief Operating Officer, Whanganui District Council



Collaborative, diverse decision environments are proven to increase the quality of decision-making by up to 87%. You provide the diversity and Alicia will deliver the challenge!

Together, we will spend the day:

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We’re not going to waste our time together on theorising or creating beautiful language without real meaning. Instead, we’re going to work together to set clear, targeted priorities that drive real action – and we’re going to agree what needs to shift to deliver genuine public value.

Our time together will ask the following questions:


What’s Going On?

A comprehensive understanding of context challenges assumptions and looks for root causes so we get a firm handle on the current state of play. What do we most need to see progress on?

What Matters Most?

Focused priorities demonstrate organisational leadership and enable consistent, effective decisions and actions. Agreeing a clear and weighted set of strategic priorities will test our project importance – where will we get the most value for our effort?

How Do We Move Forward?

Assign actions, responsibilities and timeframes, agreeing key trade-offs as we go.


This programme is suitable for leadership teams, elected members or a combination of both.



For Experience Wellington CEO Pat Stuart, it was important for the executive leadership team to gain a clear understanding of organisation’s priority focus areas for the coming year. The team had a lot of projects on the go; and these were dominating operational activity and not allowing them to focus on organisational development – the key to improving performance.  Alicia was brought in to help sharpen their focus and gain consensus on key priorities to take forward.

For the workshop, the team needed to critically examine Experience Wellington’s overarching strategy and goals as well as various strategic plans, in line with their vision, purpose and values. Based on her briefing from Alicia, Pat anticipated a process that would enable the management team to arrive at well-considered conclusions to help them focus their attention on their top priorities.

Alicia’s method was structured and logical, and, in Pat’s words, even “risky” at times, as she was undaunted by a couple of sceptics in the room and was not afraid to challenge their thinking. It ended up with what Pat felt was a strong consensus, getting to a clear and focused point in their thinking and planning.

“It was excellent, really. What impressed me most is she has a good grasp of our organisation, and the knowledge to really give credibility to the process - and ensure we didn’t get side tracked. She gained people’s confidence, which allowed the attendees to relax and really think about what we were doing. Alicia has a good process and she sticks to it. She did her homework, and wasn’t opinionated. So often people in these situations tell you what you should be thinking. Alicia doesn’t do this, she is an excellent facilitator who leads without imposing her point of view. The team felt she really helped us realise what they needed to be doing ourselves.”

Pat Stuart, Chief Executive – Experience Wellington

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