We are so excited here at RuralScope. We turn 20 years old in 2020. We are celebrating by sharing 20 stories across 20 months. These will include highlights, lowlights and learnings. A unique insight into our development - personal and business for you. Our aim is to share learnings to support others who live and work across rural Australia.
This is our fifth story in the series and it’s all about remaining open to opportunities, how trust drives consultation and effective facilitation ensures long term outcomes.
And suddenly, I found myself working on projects with the Gold Coast Council. All had an economic development focus and ranged from small to whole of region projects. They included health, environment, regional growth and development, education, sport and adventure tourism. This wasn’t in the business plan (that I didn’t have!) but I loved every minute of it. And a bonus was I got to work with some of the brightest and most innovative thinkers going. I guess you could say cows got me to the coast!
So how did this happen? It all started with the Investigating Diversification Options for the Numinbah Valley for the Gold Coast City Council. The valley is in the Gold Coast City Council and local government was keen to help business and residents affected by dairy de-regulation. Yes, it was a very contentious project at the time. Community forums, enterprise case studies, public meetings and the sharing of outcomes direct to Council. The project was built around TRUST. Trust allowed for a process of ensuring people’s voices were heard in local government and we delivered.
We went on to facilitate more projects for the Gold Coast City Council. It started my thinking around influence and impact and how everything we did in these projects, no matter the budget, could influence policy and create future change. Other projects included;
- · A Strategic Plan for the Gold Coast Food Forum
- · Advance Burleigh
- · Gold Coast - A Regional Economic Development Strategy
- · Gold Coast Education Plan
- · Gold Coast Adventure Tourism Plan
- · Facilitation of the Gold Coast Surfing Forum
- · Gold Coast Business Breakfasts
It was during this work that I further and fully developed my facilitation style – one that is authentic and process driven. I also developed our engagement process that we still use today – stages that build trust in people and processes for positive outcomes, influence and change. And I learned that – consultation, both face to face and by survey are integral in any trusted change process.
Gold Coast City Council was the second largest council in Australia. Combined, our projects worked with thousands of residents and businesses and influenced tens of thousands. It’s where I learned and shared with others the difference between outputs and outcomes. We are in the business of outcomes. I became known as a facilitator of real change and transformation and not transaction. I cared for the long term not just the short-term project at hand. And importantly I knew that people are at the centre of any change process. All as relevant today as it was then. If you’re going to do something make sure it counts, especially when the impacts can be felt across an entire region or industry.
Leaders remain open to opportunities – even if they are from left field.
TRUST is essential to effective consultation, without it people won’t participate.
Leaders facilitate processes that result in outcomes for all.