Committee For Geelong
Encouraged by the success of the Committee for Melbourne in achieving key strategic objectives that have benefited Melbourne, a group of Geelong leaders came together in 2001 to make their contribution to the long-term interests of the Geelong community by forming the Committee for Geelong.
They saw an opportunity to collaborate to build a better Geelong and are driven by what they believe is the great potential for a community leadership program to serve as an important link to the future aspirations of the Geelong region.
The Committee for Geelong recognises the need to equip a new generation of business and community leaders with the skills, knowledge and networks to manage the City’s future responsibly and sustainably; it achieves this through the Leaders for Geelong program.
The Leaders for Geelong program needed to incorporate leadership skills development and provide a framework for participants to help them form their individual leadership style.
Leading Teams Australia works with the group to create their own unique trademark and define their expected behaviours. They deliver four sessions over the two-year program with the entire group in addition to working with project teams as required.
Because each group defines what is acceptable for them, they own it and manage it themselves. They exit the program with a really good understanding of what leadership in action is.
The Leaders for Geelong program was established in 2006. It is a two-year program that develops participants’ skills through exposure to business and community leaders, interaction with other participants, and discussion of case studies.
The program is designed to expose emerging leaders to the challenges and opportunities that will shape the region, and prepare them to take the helm.
Each month participants meet business and community leaders and experts in their fields who share their knowledge on the issues, opportunities and challenges that impact the Geelong Region, from a local, national and global perspective.
The Committee for Geelong was first introduced to Leading Teams when former director Gerard Murphy and former Geelong FC Captain, Tom Harley, presented at the Committee for Geelong 2007 Annual Dinner.
Jean Paul, Program Director, Leaders for Geelong said that the presentation on the impact of Leading Teams and their process with the Geelong Football Club was impressive. “I thought their leadership message was very relevant to the Leaders for Geelong program and that it would be great to get Leading Teams to present at our closing residential for the first graduating group.”
“The residential presentation was a great success and participant feedback was excellent. It really helped the program graduates think about how they wanted to be seen going forward as leaders, both from an individual and professional point of view.”
Because of the success of the initial presentation, Leading Teams has been introduced at the opening and closing residentials with each new intake.
The Committee for Geelong uses Leading Teams in the opening residential to help participants establish their own unique ‘trademark’, which defines what sort of team they would prefer to be.
They also define the behaviours they feel are important for each participant to display to enable them to get the most from themselves and from the Leaders for Geelong program in general.
“This is incredibly useful for me as program director, as it means I do not need to drive the group, or guide their behaviour. They define it, so they own the behaviours and ultimately, with Leading Teams’ assistance from time to time, manage themselves,” said Jean.
Leading Teams works with the group as a whole, conducting four half-day leadership skills sessions over the two years.
The half-day sessions focus on the importance of creating strong team dynamics within teams.
“We provide the leaders with the tools and confidence to go ahead and develop a really strong performance culture with their own teams.”
“We also work with the project teams where necessary, to help them with their own team dynamics. These are very busy people who regularly have conflicting priorities. The participants are often under extreme pressure, which can surface in various forms. We help them through this so they get to experience and practice using the Leading Teams tools to keep on track.”
In particular, participants get to experience the importance of developing an agreed behavioural framework, investing time in developing and strengthening professional relationships and being open and honest with each other.
“We make sure we invest time in developing relationships and agree on our expected behaviours first. All of this has to be in place in order to build trust and ensure success. We then invest time in reviewing our team and individual performance openly and honestly with each other,”
The Leading Teams Leaders for Geelong sessions were specifically designed for this program. The sessions have developed organically and Jean said that Leading Teams has taken a highly flexible approach to the rollout of the program. “We reviewed the program together and they made recommendations about where the Leading Teams sessions could fit. After every session the participants provided feedback, and this complementary approach has been a critical success factor for us. Working with what is already being done, rather than replacing it or bringing Leading Teams in over the top of everything else has delivered the best result.”
“We live our own model, which means getting constant feedback about what we are doing and how we are performing and we adapt to best fit the requirements and the needs of each particular group.”
The Leaders for Geelong program is gaining measurably in status with each intake and program event. Deakin University’s Business School has recognised the program and the Gordon TAFE recognises graduates with a Diploma of Management.
“Over the past six years we have had over 150 emerging leaders gain great networks and forge fantastic effective partnerships across the region,” said Jean. “The feedback from participants in the first six programs has been exceptionally positive.”
Working with Leading Teams has helped specifically with the management of a group of passionate and driven emerging business and community leaders. It asks them to look at how they, as a team should operate, how as an individual they should act and how their behaviour would impact on that team, both in smaller project-based groups and in the larger group as a whole.
“My brief to Leading Teams was to ensure that participants had a good understanding of what leadership actually is in action and that is what they are provided with. You can read all the theory you like about leadership, it doesn’t compare with experiencing it.
Leading Teams asks participants to experience in action what leadership is as individuals and in their teams.”
“The Leaders for Geelong program has turned out high-calibre graduates with great networks who are empowered and encouraged to maintain a lifelong commitment to community leadership,” concluded Jean.