City of Casey
The City of Casey is Victoria’s most populous municipality. At the 2011 census the population was estimated at 252,400 people, or 80,500 households.
Casey covers about 410 square kilometres, and is approximately 45 km to the South-East from the Melbourne CBD. From the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges in the north, to Westernport in the south, Casey’s established suburbs that make up the residential and commercial centre are Berwick, Cranbourne, Doveton, Eumemmerring, Endeavour Hills, Hallam, Hampton Park and Narre Warren.
Though the City of Casey’s Executive Management Team usually performed well, there were inconsistencies and often when the team was under pressure. HR Manager Richard Frazer hoped that by focusing on the executive managers he could build a culture with increased expectations and greater trust, building more commitment and accountability.
A visible and positive shift in the behaviour of executive managers led to the Leading Teams model being rolled out to senior managers and their direct reports. The model empowered individuals and provided a method by which they could ‘own’ their behaviour.
Richard said, “This was a significant moment in the evolution of the executive team. The process provided
the whole organisation with a language to help hold each other accountable and a framework within which it could conduct crucial conversations.”
The City of Casey Executive Management Team (EMT) performed well as team when everything was performing on target to the plan and on budget. However HR Manager, Richard Frazer, noticed that when the team was under pressure, they had a tendency to adopt a silo approach and as individuals, became competitive and subsequently disconnected.
Richard had a real desire to create a high performance team and culture for the City of Casey and said that he realised the starting point needed to be with the most senior managers.
“The team knew there was substantial room for improvement, both for the managers personally and for the team as a whole. The journey began with a comprehensive market scan of the various organisations that could help me to establish and nurture a high performance culture within the EMT and City of Casey.”
Richard said that as an organisation, you really need to be clear about the outcomes you want to achieve, and you must know your people, in order tochoose the best approach to achieve sustainable results.
What attracted me to Leading Teams was their model and how it effectively combines accountability, transparency and feedback. To me, this approach would help to deliver long term and sustainable change as it would lead to the empowerment of the individual, and provide a method whereby they could ‘own” their behaviour.”
Taking the recommendation from Leading Teams Facilitator, Justin Peckett, Richard agreed that that initial attention should befocused on the EMT. This focus resulted in the senior management group (and thus key centres of influence), developing their own behavioural framework.
Justin said that the commitment to the Leading Teams model by the City of Casey was absolute.
“Each EMT member, starting with the CEO, received a peer assessment against this framework. This is absolutely the level of commitment organisations need to make, if they truly want to establish a high performing team and company culture.”
As a result of a visible and positive shift in the behaviour of each Executive Manager, the model was then rolled out to the Senior Managers and their direct reports.
Richard said, “It became evident very quickly that the Trademark developed by the EMT became pretty much “the way we do things around here”. In fact the process provided the whole organisation with a language to help hold each other accountable and a framework within which it could conduct crucial conversations.”
A very clear example of this was at an EMT budget review meeting. An impasse was reached with regard to who received what, with the limited funding available.
There would have been a time when the solution would have been as simple as “the area that can slash the most out of their budgets will get the funding for their own projects!” However, with the personal behaviour changes the team had agreed, and the positive shift in culture the Leading Teams model had created, a very different outcome was reached.
Each Executive Manager agreed to identify where savings could be made from their respective areas, and to bring that back to the group to form a ‘pool’. The group would then decide the organisational priorities and allocate the funds accordingly.
Richard said, “This was a significant moment in the evolution of the Executive Team.”
A number of teams at the City of Casey have extended the reach of the Leading Teams model, applying it to the needs of their group. For example Corporate Services Manager, Steve Dalton, has taken the model to the point where feedback, both informal and formal, is embedded in the teams’ typical operational process.
As front line staff became more familiar with the language and have greater clarity on the expected behaviours, a joint training initiative saw the development of a number of internal facilitators who have built a Casey set of tools which has enabled the introduction of the peer assessment process as a key personal development component for all managers and their direct reports (over 100 employees).
“We are now at the point where we have team leaders giving and receiving feedback up, down and across the organisation. And as we continue to grow and change, there are lots of “keeps” and “starts” but significantly less “stops” in the feedback!”
Where to from here?
The managers and staff at the City of Casey don’t feel that their journey is over.
There are some practical issues they need to embed, such as making sure personal action plans are acted upon and supported, and equally importantly there are broader organisational issues that require greater focus, such as integrating the Leading Teams journey with other personal development initiatives.
For the City of Casey the end game remains the same – the creation of a high performance culture within which individuals feel valued, respected and supported, and in turn take full responsibility for their own outcomes.