The first Series in reflecting on leadership in the park sector came about through recent leadership and governance challenges the sector has struggled through over the last five years, especially in Australia.
In 1995, I completed a Thesis on Leadership of the Parks Sector, titled “A Review of Managerialism in Park Organisations in Australia”. The Thesis explored the changing paradigm in leaderships that were emerging and the responses that were needed. It was very much during the nexus in public management change of moving from “administration” to “management”. The Thesis was awarded the Directors Award from Monash University.
In this century, we are now seeing the emergence of leadership and the defining of “New Public Sector Leadership” and thus the following reflections are designed to kick start the sectors thinking about leadership for the future and thus the concept of “parks”.
The issue of Leadership, can’t be separated from the product, the context and the society, and for “parks” this has become a challenge to Rethink the future. However, history shows that “parks” was and always has been about leaders who rethought the concept.
These seven articles I have reproduced here are a cascading reflections:
A philosophical look at retrospective accountability – Management theory has for a long time avoided the question of post-employment responsibility apart from the direct legal implications, but when does a retrospective accountability exist and should it exist?
An examination of Visioning Leadership – it is only when you (can) step away from the intensity of a role, may you see what is evolving and what maybe the future. The “lag” time of new concepts (public policy) being developed and being embraced is generally in the decades. And even then when it is adopted, it can be seen as a brave move. An example is the simple concept of connecting “people to nature”, a concept embedded in science through the likes of E.O. Wilson that was further evolved in 1999 as “Healthy Parks Healthy People”.
An examination of when to change – for many organisations and their loyalty to their own product brands, when do you know if it is time to renovate or demolish and rebuild or subdivide? This is probably even more complex in the Government system.
An examination of focus and understanding – for many organisations they can easily lose their way when they fail to understand the the fabric of their business and society.
An examination of who to turn too? – When an organisation is in crisis, the new leadership should seek out and understand those that day in day out “make” the difference and more importantly may know what to do to make an organisation great again..
An examination of when to celebrate – So why wouldn’t an organisation celebrate its 20th Anniversary? Why won’t it recognise its achievements and outline a sense of the future? Why won’t it thank its staff – present and former? Why won’t it say thanks to its customers, supporters and stakeholders? Why won’t it take time out to reflect, tell the stories and celebrate?
An examination of when to lead – So often you hear the retort that we are able to do the things that matter as we “never have enough funds”. Leadership required for the park sector isn’t about funding but a vision with leadership that fits the context of a society and a very deep belief.