|1st Place||Bay of Plenty, New Zealand|
|2nd Place||Port Stephens Council, NSW|
|3rd Place||City of Vincent, WA|
|New South Wales||Port Stephens Council (Port Stephens Pirates)|
|New Zealand||Bay of Plenty Regional Council|
|Northern Territory||City of Darwin|
|Queensland||Sunshine Coast Council|
|South Australia||Rural City of Murray Bridge|
|Tasmania||Northern Tasmania Composite Team (Northern Amalgamators Group)|
|Victoria||Glen Eira City Council|
|West Australia||City of Vincent|
After their great win in the 2018 Australian Management Challenge final, we caught up with the winning team members from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand to ask them a few questions. This is what they said:
1. How did you feel when your team was announced as the winner?
We were blown away, with all of the work we had put in to preparing for the challenge we were hoping to have done well, but the moment we were announced as the winners it all become incredibly surreal. We are immensely proud of our achievement and felt privileged to bring that award back home to our Council.
2. What did you learn from participating in the Final?
Participating in the final was another opportunity for us to take all that we had gained over the course of the year and challenge ourselves to push those learnings even further. The importance of staying cool, calm, and collected while under pressure can never be understated, and that was definitely put to the test in Canberra. The self-confidence we had all gained and the encouragement we got from our team mates got us over the line time and again.
3. What surprised you?
Well to start, none of the tasks given to us on the day were tasks we had specifically prepared for. That was definitely a surprise. We were impressed with the complexity of the tasks; they often involved multiple elements that needed to be understood separately and as a whole, and really pushed us to think about the situations more thoroughly and to consider all potential aspects of a scenario.
4. What was your favourite task in the Final - and why?
The team introductions on the first night were a great way to kick off the final. We had to balance simplicity given the time constraints, with being thoughtful, concise and entertaining. It was a great opportunity to network with the other teams and judges, and to get out some of those nervous butterflies in the lead up to the challenge.
The Workplace Discrimination and Harassment task was also a favourite from the final. Again, it was a task that was quite clever in its complexity. It was a thought provoking and challenging task, and really stretched our thinking.
We won this task as the JLT Risk Award, which was an unexpected highlight.
5. How did you find the AI task, including presenting live to the Congress? Do you think the learnings from that task will put it to good use in BOPRC?
Towards the end of what had already been a full on day, to join a new team with three members of other challenge teams added a whole new element to the Challenge Day.
It was insightful to see what others brought to the table and to establish a way of working in this new team in such a short timeframe. We are so proud of the final presentation and it was a fantastic opportunity to present to an audience of highly esteemed guests.
The research we did in the lead up to this challenge has given us great insight into the benefits and the risks of AI and we saw many opportunities for us to put it to use here in the Bay.
6. What, in your opinion, are the benefits of the Challenge Final being held in conjunction with the National Congress?
Having the National Congress as a background to the Challenge Final really grounded what has been a great development opportunity, and brought us back to the bigger picture of what we are trying to achieve, and that is always to be the best for our Council, for the community and for the environment that we serve.
It also provided greater networking opportunities, with many of our team excited to fit in some speed dates with CEs and Mayors from all around Australia, in amongst all the stress and excitement of the challenge itself.
7. How do you think being part of the winning team in Australasian Final will help your career?
It has definitely raised our profile within our own Council and with councils across NZ. We have all come away from the Management Challenge with a greater sense of confidence, more open to trying new things, and keen to get involved in areas of Council that we wouldn’t otherwise get involved with.
The whole experience has helped us to build up our personal resilience, as well as developing those leadership skills that we now have a greater understanding of to be able to apply to our own work.
8. What was the reaction from the BOP council management to your win?
We have had such a positive response from our Council, from the CE greeting us at the airport on our arrival back home at 9pm on Friday night, to the confetti cannons let off as we got on stage at our annual staff awards day the following week.
We were invited to present at numerous meetings, including to our Councillors and our management team. The pride they have shown in our achievement has been incredibly humbling.
9. Will the BOP Council promote your win internally - and externally?
Yes, there has been so much attention given to the win both internally and externally, and over a number of platforms on social media and local news outlets, emails, council reports and presentations.
10. Will the BOP Council keep your team together to use for other projects?
Definitely. We have invested so much time and energy into forming a formidable team, our senior leadership team can see how well we work together and we are all excited to see what we can achieve in the coming months.
11. How did your mentor assist on preparing you for the Final?
Our mentor invested as much in the Management Challenge this year as any one of us. From asking the tough questions, preparing mock challenge days against other local councils, developing practice tasks, and providing timely feedback, Chris really understood what it meant to be a coach and mentor and has been a huge support to us every step of the way.
12. Will any of you be mentors for next year? If so, what do you hope to gain from that experience?
Of course, we are possibly looking at a co-mentor arrangement next year as there are a number of us keen to stay involved with future challenge teams. We were fortunate with the mentor we had, and we saw the development in his leadership along the way. It is not just the team members who benefit from the challenge, but there are so many learnings to be gained from taking on the mentor role as well.
13. Any final comments?
We would like to thank SOLGM, LG Professionals, JLT, and everyone who was involved in making the challenge a reality.
Being part of the Management Challenge has been such a fantastic opportunity for each of us, we cannot think of another development programme that compares.
If you are considering getting involved our only advice would be: DO IT! You won’t regret it. But we will give you a run for your money – BOPRC for back to back wins!