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Initially LGSS teamed with OPP consultants to create new competency frameworks, looking at what behaviours were required to meet the challenges ahead.
After this, LGSS organised some diagnostic and development sessions using OPP tools.
“It was a case of opening up possibilities, underlining necessities, instilling confidence and looking at the pipeline for future leaders”, commented Barbara. “This had to be done against a background of increased demands and challenges, with less budget to play with. Initially it was a question of asking the leaders ‘Where are you at, where are you going, and what is required to get there?’ It was an opportunity for people to reflect on self, role and strengths, and to look at aspects of effective teamwork too."
Part of the development work involved the FIRO® tool. One-to-one sessions were held, to create development plans for individuals, taking into account personal strengths and potential development areas.
The use of psychometrics has not been part of the culture of the public sector, historically, so there was a certain amount of ice to be broken. Some of the required actions were challenging, taking individuals far from their comfort zones. However, feedback from the sessions was generally positive, notably so in the section involving the FIRO-B instrument. People very much valued the opportunity to examine their own actions and approaches, gaining heightened perspective and insights. There is now a shared language around desired outcomes, and concerning such things as competencies and the mechanics of how good teams work together.
Looking ahead, team-building will be a priority. The original 1-to-1 sessions will be followed up to integrate the learning, and there will be master classes too. There may be more of an emphasis on assessment centres in the next round of development, to make the timescales more concise and to allow speedy follow-up sessions for everyone. This will help to keep development within each council at the same level for the various leaders involved, as one-to-ones can be time-consuming and strung out when carried out on a large scale like this.
“It has been a great learning exercise for everyone”, said Barbara. “Each council we have been working with is at a different stage of its development journey, but real progress is being made in all of them. People have really benefited from the reflection time – something essential in what is a high-change situation.”
Leaders were asked: ‘Where are you at, where are you going, and what is required to get there?’ It was an opportunity for people to reflect on self, role and strengths, and to look at aspects of effective teamwork too.
Barbara Barrett, Head of OWD Service. LGSS