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Set the Target, Minister. The Case for a Suicide Reduction Target.

**warning: this article contains reference to suicide, which may be distressing for some readers**Following the news back in May that Mike King had quit the expert panel on suicide prevention, the refreshed Suicide Prevention Strategy has been dealt another blow. The NZ media has today revealed that the government refused to commit to a target for reducing suicide rates in New Zealand.The proposed metric would have targeted a 20% reduction over the next ten years, but the government al...

July 20, 2017

Digging deeper - are performance frameworks about more than KPIs?

The ramp-up to the 2018 - 28 Long Term Plans means that Councils around New Zealand are about to take a look at their performance frameworks. This is your chance to throw out all those KPIs that have been doing your head in for the last few years ! Except it might not be that easy... Councils across the country are about to get stuck in - if they haven't already - to figuring out how they're going to tell their performance story. I'm working with a South Island Council on exactly this, and it st...

July 11, 2017

Why your Workshops are a Waste of Time

I can't speak to the quality of your ideas and innovation, but I can hazard a guess why your content never had any impact - the right people may have been missing from the room.In the past, I have made the same mistake. This usually happens when I'm engaged by someone in middle management, to do a job mandated by senior management. My scope and approach gets a quick glance and approval, and away we go, solving the world's problems. Only to face significant hurdles when it comes to sign-off.If yo...

July 6, 2017

The Secret to Scaling Complex Methods for Smaller Organisations and Projects

As you will have noticed from my other posts, I am a vocal advocate for bringing best practice to local government in New Zealand. Resource constraints and a series of high-stakes, low-budget projects and initiatives are commonly cited as reasons why best-practice tools such as Better Business Cases and ILM workshops are out of reach. However, these reasons also happen to be exactly why organisations like Councils need a strong methodology for understanding problems and targeting investment. I...

June 28, 2017

But Why? So What? Problem Definition using the Annoying Question Method.

Problem definition is the first and most vital step in any change process, investment proposal, business case or initiative planning. Despite this, it is often rushed or missed out entirely. Organisations who are considering a new project tend to think they understand their issues - in fact, they usually think they have the answer too! However, experience tells us that problems are not always what they seem. The Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) process is one highly effective tool for having a s...

June 14, 2017

Why Councils need Business Cases

As a sector, local government in New Zealand owns over $120 billion in assets. Every year, Councils spend $4 billion on new and renewed capital, and over $8 billion delivering services. This is forecast to hit $12 billion in the next 10 years. The stakes are high. In places like Auckland, Tauranga and Queenstown, this expenditure needs to be targeted in ways that can accommodate burgeoning growth and stress on infrastructure. In many other places in New Zealand, this spending needs to deliver ...

June 6, 2017

What is a Structured Conversation?

Put simply, a structured conversation is a powerful communication tool that fosters understanding and provides direction. It can take many forms, from an interactive facilitated workshop, to a lengthy and complex report. But how will you know one when you see one? Well, regardless of the shape it takes, there are four defining characteristics of a structured conversation. ...

May 29, 2017

5 mistakes to Avoid in your Business Case

You've got a great idea for a new venture or project. Now all you need to do is put together a strong business case or feasibility study to get funding or sign-off. Avoid these five common mistakes to greatly improve your odds of success....

July 21, 2016

How to write in Plain English

We want to bring our audience along on our mission, not impress them with our intelligence. ...

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