A team from Hauraki District Council, Hiko Hauraki, has won the New Zealand leg of the JLT Australasian Management Challenge and will go on to compete in the Australian final in October.

This year’s Management Challenge looked quite different from previous years with six teams competing virtually from their own locations.

Hiko Hauraki team member Grace Davies, a Planner, said that she was really proud of all the teams for pushing through, despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Resilience is an important skill to have, and all the teams involved demonstrated this.”

All teams were required to complete a pre-challenge task as they prepared to participate in the Challenge Day.  This year the pre-challenge task was to develop and evaluate ideas for new or improved service delivery though the innovative use of high-value volunteering. This required consulting with council senior management, community engagement and preparation of a business case.

Hiko Hauraki’s innovative idea was a food-sharing service and social initiative, powered by volunteers.

The team put months into preparing for the Challenge and didn’t want all the effort to go to waste.

Team mentor, Charan Mischewski, said that the team started preparation eight months before the challenge date.

“We did targeted training including brainstorming techniques, presentation skills, debating, media skills, report writing, and mediation tactics. All these skills are transferrable to the workplace whether it be working with colleagues, the public or elected members.”

Grace rated the team aspect the most valuable part of the experience.

“I now know more about who does what in council, and the role of local government. This has helped me immensely in my day to day role.

“I’m so glad I took the opportunity when it was offered to me. I wanted to push myself and learn some new skills. To anyone thinking of entering the 2021 Management Challenge, I’d say just go for it! It’s a really great experience.”

Hauraki District Council Chief Executive, Langley Cavers, is a fan of the Management Challenge as a valuable professional development opportunity for his staff.

“This is the fifth time that we have entered a team and each and every time I have really noticed the benefits that are gained by having a team from across the organisation working as one.

“The Challenge highlights the importance of combining and seeking the diverse opinions across our organisation if we want to be successful. It’s something that we don’t do enough of.”

Every year without fail, teams involved in the Management Challenge tell us it is one of the best personal development opportunities they’ve undertaken. The Challenge provides a hands-on and real-life approach to leadership development. Participants come away with new and practical insights into excellence in leadership and management.

With the final of the Australasian Management Challenge fast approaching in October, how are team Hiko Hauraki preparing?

“We are going over our Challenge results to see where we did well and what areas we can improve on. We will continue to keep meeting and preparing in the lead up to the Australasian final” says Grace.

We wish them all the best! Applications for the 2021 NZ leg of the Australasian Management Challenge open in November.