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Collaboration is key to overcoming the challenges that lie ahead. That was the overriding message Kenneth Lawrie gave to everyone that attended the Employee Listening Event on 12 July.

In his opening address, the Chief Executive expressed his pride in the Council's response to COVID-19 and explained why our collective response to problem solving that saw us through the pandemic had to continue.

"We all work for Falkirk Council, for the communities of Falkirk. We are team Falkirk. That means we must continue to work together to break down silos and hierarchies and do the right thing for customers, service users, communities, and employees.

"To do that, we need to keep using the policies and procedures that we have in place as positive means of creating change rather than using the same policies as a straitjacket that prevents us from responding in the best possible way to individual and community needs.

"We need to create the conditions in which you, our employees, can excel. That's about empowerment, enabling innovation, and being less risk averse. It's about having that positive approach to change and seeking to develop the wealth of talent, energy, and capability within this organisation.

"Collaboration is key. That is why it is the topic of today. Only by working collaboratively, by supporting and engaging with colleagues across all services, will we be able to support communities and each other in the best possible way and transform and improve the Council."

Organic collaboration

Following the breakout sessions, Kenneth said he understood a need for clarity of vision, shared goals, process improvement, and greater honesty and trust. He also appreciated people needed space to collaborate.

"We are all so busy working on the day-to-day that often it is hard to take the time to stand back and consider how we could work better together and learn from good examples. That is something we probably all struggle with.

"There was also a point made in my group - you don't get collaboration because someone more senior says you must collaborate. You get collaboration when people realise it makes work better and more effective, so there is an organic element to it that we need to embrace."

He also accepted senior leaders needed to communicate how they were using outputs from the event because "the conversation today is not an endpoint; it is just the start of positive change."

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