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The art of listening

Friday, 5 July 2018

I’m a really proud boss this week as we connected to our members in every corner of the state - big time.

President Mayor Mark Jamieson and I spent three days in the Gulf of Carpentaria, while our General Manager of Advocacy Sarah Buckler travelled to Charleville for the South West Queensland Local Government Association meeting.

Today our executive leadership will jump in the car and venture out to Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba councils. That’s not to forget the good efforts of half a dozen other LGAQ staff who criss-crossed the state this week. I literally ran into a few of them at various airports.

Much like it was in 2017, I will spend 90 nights away from home this year, as will several of my team mates. Your organisation will spend aggregate multiple years and millions of dollars in 2018 meeting members on their patch for one-to-one discussions. That’s the gig.

I love travelling with Mayor Mark because he teaches me stuff - the very difficult art of listening. This comes from a life time of seeking to understand clients and meet their needs. It is a skill drawn from a career in sales in the newspaper game that saw him rise to the top of the Australian Provincial Newspapers network, so he has it down pat.

He genuinely listens, takes it in and comprehends. He isn’t going through the motions but genuinely trying to understand people and their perspectives.

I’ve never known anyone in my life to remember people and names like Mark. He makes a very personal connection to everyone he meets. After every council meeting, when we climbed back on to our light aircraft he debriefed in wonderful perspicacity. It’s an art that few genuinely master. He gets you and your unique challenges.

The good thing is that all that insight and intelligence goes into the LGAQ’s customer relationship management system. It blends in with the twice a year Member Loyalty surveys of 1000 people, the four times a year Member Services Centres elected member contact and every other contact we have with councils or individuals to come up with a comprehensive Single Member View.

That is the LGAQ’s biggest asset - your aggregated wisdom.

Each year we try to get that little bit better in understanding the needs and aspirations of each member council. It’s a journey and not a destination but one we are absolutely committed to pursuing.

Of course, one of the ways in which we gain that better understanding is through the policy motions member councils put forward for debate at the LGAQ annual conference.

Well, we are now inviting members to submit a motion to be debated at the upcoming conference in Brisbane on 29-31 October, and we’re excited to officially launch the new online submission portal.

Have a look at LG Online for more details.

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006

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