Cul­ture change a fo­cus


A ‘‘re­fresh­ing’’ change in lead­er­ship and fo­cus on ‘‘fos­ter­ing cul­tural change’’ is help­ing re­build the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil, the chief ex­ec­u­tive says.

It was re­vealed at a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing the ORC has paid out $236,750 in per­sonal griev­ance cases since 2014, amid claims of a ‘‘bul­ly­ing cul­ture’’ and ‘‘lack of lead­er­ship’’ by the ex­ec­u­tive team.

The ma­jor­ity, $180,500, was paid to four staff with in­di­vid­ual claims of $55,000, $50,000, $45,500 and $30,000 in the fi­nan­cial year to June 30, 2016.

Anony­mous let­ters were sent to coun­cil­lors in 2015 claim­ing there was a lack of lead­er­ship and bul­ly­ing cul­ture, and a staff sur­vey con­ducted in 2015 re­vealed wide­spread staff dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Bodeker said the coun­cil had made ‘‘pro­gres­sive and con­struc­tive im­prove­ments’’ fol­low­ing the sur­vey.

‘‘I think it is im­por­tant to note that the make-up of our ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment team is dif­fer­ent to when the sur­vey was car­ried out and this in it­self has brought about dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, ap­proaches and styles to the ORC lead­er­ship team, I be­lieve this has been re­fresh­ing.

‘‘In any or­gan­i­sa­tion, there will in­vari­ably be a mi­nor­ity who strug­gle to em­brace change, and al­though it can be dif­fi­cult to see long serv­ing staff mem­bers leave the or­gan­i­sa­tion, change in per­son­nel over time is not un­com­mon to any work place.’’

Bodeker, who was ap­pointed chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2012, said it was ’’nat­u­ral and ex­pected’’ a new chief ex­ec­u­tive in any or­gan­i­sa­tion would bring a fresh per­spec­tive, new ap­proach and their own lead­er­ship style. Fos­ter­ing cul­tural change had been a pri­or­ity of his, he said.

‘‘But this is not some­thing which hap­pens overnight. ORC is for­tu­nate to have a high cal­i­bre and pro­fes­sional staff, who I be­lieve en­joy work­ing for ORC.’’

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