cartoon showing support, challenge and growth graph

Facilitation - Change Leadership - Organisational Development

Support and challenge

Isobel Garner told us...

I had always prided myself on the excellent relationships and understanding between the Elected Members and the Officers. But as I was embarking on significant change to management structures, the business operating model and Council Priorities (all in a climate of financial cutbacks), I thought it a wise investment to bring some challenge into our thinking and our relationships.

I had worked with equalta before. Not necessarily a comfortable experience, but one that yielded long term added value. I knew what they could do, but wanted to ensure that my team and senior politicians would buy into the commission in terms of fit and proper procurement.

equalta were appointed and then the hard work started. Because Steve and Amanda generated trust across us all, they could be harder and more challenging than any other consultants I have worked with. They basically pulled us all apart and put us back together as a team. They made us explore our preconceptions about each other, stopped us generalising, made us be positive, and pushed us in a way many of us had not been pushed for some time.

They did this by utilising many different techniques that they had to hand, but always sensitively and ensuring they were appropriate to the situation.

I was absolutely delighted that the work with politicians has opened up the ability to have different conversations with them about the things that matter.

They say...

My top team and I learnt to appreciate our mutual strengths and support each other and to work effectively with our political leaders.

Sounds great and it does translate into the bottom line: the ability to make savings through change whilst sustaining performance, ability to stop doing stuff, ability to broker more quickly policy options, building a reputation.

Isobel Garner
Chief Executive, 2003 - 2011
Wrexham County Borough Council