Local Government Leadership Case Study

A local government organisation wanted to improve their management practices.

Previous management and leadership capability development had been based around training courses and conferences. However evaluations of the impact showed no sustained change in management practices after these exercises – meaning a great deal of time and money has been invested in development programmes that produced no return on investment.

One of our associates created a programme that produced sustained practice change by identifying topics that management would have the opportunity to improve and that would have a positive impact. Once the topic was selected a planned and prepared approach was agreed and participants were coached through the action stage into the maintenance stage.


  • Participants attended a session where they were introduced to 9 new skills and tools. The introduction took the form of a verbal explanation, a video and then an exercise for each skill/tool
  • Participants (in conjunction with the Managers) selected one skill/tool to work on based on impact and opportunity to implement. A plan was then created with their manager detailing what they will do, why, who with and whens
  • Our associate completed preparation work to lay the foundations for success (such as communication coaching) with their team and the manager began the implementation process
  • The participant received regular follow up coaching – with observations from the team and the manager fed back to the participant until competency was achieved
  • The participant was supported to maintain the new management practice and another topic was selected to focus on


Participants designed and implemented practice plans focussed on achieving desired outcomes at a practical level – ensuring they are able to use context during the implementation:

  • What behaviours did you intend to change in your staff – why, how, and when?
  • How are you going to communicate and involve them in this?

This framework provides all involved with very specific targets which can be used to measure success and focus coaching & support. Our associate used a specific Change Coaching Model to ensure that barriers were analysed and dealt with, that each step was at the right stage of the change process and the correct tactics were used at each stage.


Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model has four levels. The aim of this programme is to achieve level 4.

The aim of this programme is to achieve level 4.


The revised approach to improvement of management practices resulted in positive changes being sustained and ingrained over the long term.

The post-programme evaluation showed that all of the participants has applied the new skills and that:

  • 80% had continued to apply these 3 months after coaching
  • 60% were able to demonstrate an impact on the business through the use of the skills
  • 60% were able to demonstrate an impact on the business through the use of the skills
Membership Organisation – Operating Model Review Case Study

After having 30% of its business taken out a number of years previously, this membership organisation emerged having undergone a name change, an organisational restructure and a new strategic plan focused on reconnecting with their members, and providing outcomes designed to add value to their businesses.

Following the embedding of some changes and to respond to the market they needed to rescope their structure and develop both regional strategies and plans. A newly positioned Client Delivery Team made up of 5 specialist services, were at the core of the value proposition to members and the business model. Members saw the services provided by the Client Delivery Team and the wider organisation as an integral part of their business’ success (enabling them to make informed business decisions) and integral to ongoing funding through the payment of annual levies.

For the Client Delivery team priorities, projects and activities have focused on:
1. Investing in research & development
2. Delivering knowledge that drives performance
3. Improving members capability
4. Building confidence in the organisation and profile in the sector

The demands on the Client Delivery team to manage research projects, develop publications, workshop material and factsheets, participate in advisory groups and organise wide-ranging small, medium and large events was impacting their resource capacity. Their workload was unsustainable and demands ever increasing – putting the deliverables of their roles at odds with the broader strategy.

Therefore, it was timely to consider the increased sustainable value that this team could bring both to the organisation and the members they served.

Purpose of Project

The Client Delivery team was regionally based and delivered activities across the four strategic areas listed above.

The intent of the operating model review was to determine if the current structure, deliverables and way of working continued to be fit for purpose for the team to deliver the best value outputs for members – whilst operating in an ever changing political and economic environment with financial and resource constraints.


The operating model review focused on four key phases:

1. Identify internal and external environmental influences
2. Analyse current state
3. Design the future state
4. Propose actions for improvement


The existing structure was inefficient – resulting in the Client Delivery team being overstretched. Areas that needed to be addressed included:

  • A large dispersed team that lacked internal support and infrastructure to create momentum
  • Delivery of multiple community events through the use of the skills
  • Inefficient communication and administration processes resulting in a lot of overtime
  • A lack of clarity in terms of the value proposition – resulting in activities not always delivering against the primary goal of helping members become better business managers


The recommendations that resulted from the Operating Model review included a restructure that would focus on maximising the value the Client Delivery team could bring to their stakeholders through more robust communication and leadership whilst supporting and streamlining the delivery of extension activities.

A number of holistic changes to the way the team operated were recommended to create the ideal environment for ensuring resources were focused on the efficient and cohesive delivery of information and services to the members.

1. Alter management structure to provide clear and consistent leadership
2. Streamline systems and process to reduce resource burn – including outsourcing event coordination
3. Strengthen and broaden communication channels to support unification amongst the team and stronger relationships with the stakeholders
4. Increase support resource to allow Client Delivery team to focus on high value activities
5. Implement a partnership model to improve engagement with members


The recommendations fed into a wider organisational review based on a revised strategy, a redefined value proposition and a clearer understanding of ‘what success looked like’.

  • A clearer understanding was gained into the impact the administration burden was having on the team’s ability to deliver
  • An improved organisation design was implemented focused on successful delivery of services and value proposition to the members

NZ Parole Board Administrative Case Study

The New Zealand Parole Board’s (the Board) main function is to decide whether an offender is considered to no longer be an undue risk to the safety of the community and can therefore be released from prison on parole with conditions before their sentence end date. In addition, the Board sets release conditions for offenders released at the end of their sentence. Also the Board can, on application by the Department of Corrections, recall offenders to prison.

The ability of the Parole Board to make well-informed and robust decisions regarding offenders is due in part to the effective and efficient operations of the NZ Parole Board Administrative Support Service (NZPBASS).

NZPBASS is solely responsible for collating high volumes of highly sensitive information from multiple sources and are also responsible for the release of Board decisions to offenders and victims. The constant pressure of preparing for upcoming hearings as well as completing hearings that have just concluded takes its toll on the team.

In addition to the significant workloads and volumes of information the primary task of NZPBASS is made further complex requirements to adhere to 5 pieces of legislation. The timing and level of detailed personal information released to the Board is governed by the Parole Act (2002) whilst the ‘how, what and when’ of information released to victims and offenders must adhere to the Victims’ Rights Act (2002), the Privacy Act (1993), the Official Information Act (1982) and the Human Rights Act (1993).

Purpose of Project

Since 2013 there have been a small number of privacy breaches. The project arose from those occasions when the associated paper work, which relates to Board hearings (containing personal information relating to offenders) have been inadvertently released to incorrect parties. These incidents raised the issue of whether the systems and processes that were in place for managing and releasing information was indeed sufficiently robust and ‘fit for purpose’.


  • Robust processes with less margin for error and fewer mistakes
  • No ‘front page’ consequences
  • Decrease levels of pressure for staff, improve scope of roles and levels of staff engagement


The application of an impartial perspective in three key phases to determine existing potential problems, stress points and potential solutions:
1. Identify internal and external environmental influences
2. Analyse current state
3. Identify specific actions to work towards proposed solutions

Constraints and solutions

The scope for ‘creative problem solving’ through total process redesign was limited due to a number of elements specific to NZPBASS. These include:

  • Tight guidelines and legislative compliance
  • Collation of information in various formats from multiple sources
  • Hard deadlines
  • Financial constraints
  • Ingrained processes across multiple communication layers

Working with the above considerations in mind, achievement of the objectives would only be possible by engineering efficiencies within the existing framework. Through the three phases of the project significant improvements were identified with simple implementable actions to make them a reality.

1. Dead Zones (places where work sits, gets held up, or gets lost)
• How to keep things moving
2. Rework loops
• How to make workflows linear
3. Checkers checking the checkers – too many approval layers
• Where simplification can be achieved
4. Duplication of effort
• Working smarter not harder
5. Value add vs. non-value added activities
• Where unnecessary work can be removed


There were a number of quick wins that were easily able to be implemented including options for relying less on paper and more on technology, which continue to be worked through.

Process improvements have led to more time being available to the administrators and therefore reducing the risk even further of information going to the wrong party – although it is acknowledged the risk will always be there, as that is human nature.

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