The Importance of Inclusivity in a Town Council
Transformation ConsultantAnup Ravi
With a wealth of global experience and cross-cultural understanding, Anup has worked around the world dissolving conflict in the most extreme settings: natural disasters, armed robberies and flooding ships at sea. His ability to manage teams is unparalleled, helping to develop positive and collaborative cultures in all areas of work, regardless of the setting.
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"The programme used Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious (DISC) profiling to categorise behaviour and emotions. This information was used to allow delegates to adapt to be more effective in work and life by recognising high and low points of their personalities."
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Implementing the Resolution Framework
London Ambulance Service became the first organisation of its kind to use the Resolution Framework™ to manage conduct-related issues. Due to the success of the framework, it has since rid itself of all formal grievance procedures.
Living in the pastSometimes, it’s the small things that have the biggest impacts. A gesture of good will can be the difference between friend or foe. The strength in taking the time to reach out with an email, or to participate in a team-building exercise, or quite simply to just show up should never be underestimated. It’s no small feat. The team facilitation programme delivered to a team within a large Town Council stripped back and simplified human interaction. Something which we all use every day – with colleagues, family or strangers on the street – but is rarely regulated. Interaction, when left to its own devices, can foster negativity, misunderstanding and, in its worst eventuality, conflict. If we’re not communicating effectively, then we aren’t including. And if we’re not inclusive, we aren’t diverse. Without diversity, how can a Council represent everyone’s interests? One small choice – failing to wish someone a happy birthday or attending a group meeting – can act as a catalyst for total disruption. It’s the domino effect. The sum of all three – negativity, misunderstanding, conflict – was the picture at the Town Council, formulated in 2017 with little accountability since. The council was split by a great divide: Councillors were elected for the position on a volunteer basis versus Officers that received a salary for their roles. Varying levels of vested interest, commitment and political alliances led to simmering contention. One female Councillor was not re-elected, who then blamed antiquated ideologies and a Council riddled with gender bias. A rift already causing cracks in the Council’s foundations had begun to separate entirely. This led to Resolution Consultants Anup Ravi and Stephen Adams’ intervention.
Moving against the tideThe first step was to talk to each individual within the Council. A theme would emerge throughout the case: the avenue of dialogue to connect, embrace and include. Stephen interviewed each member of the Council, from volunteer Councillors to paid Officers, and gained a full perspective of the divide. Each conversation was consumed with complaining and pointing fingers, stuck on how the Council was lingering far in the past. From this initial contact and discovery, a programme surrounding inclusion, positivity and communication was designed. A first meeting held at the end of July had no attendees. This spoke volumes to the Consultants about the current position of members on inclusion; no one was showing up for diversity. The meeting was pushed back to September – there were still no attendants. Stephen and Anup realised that they needed to stop being so flexible and start making demands. They set fixed dates for the programme and stated that there would be no further amendments. The programme was held over two half-day sessions with four main actions in mind:
- Allow and encourage the Councillors and Officers time to meet prior to Town Council meetings to get to know each other.
- Celebrate Councillor and Officer Birthdays to practise positive interaction that feels good.
- Councillors and Officers to own one action each to bring their ideas for the future alive.
- Councillors and Officers to use their unique behaviour profiling and training to interact and communicate with each other.