t s e w our
Laura Langman scores her second century, for the Northern Mystics!
Having already played 100 tests for the Silver Ferns, Northern Mystics mid-courter Laura Langman became the first Australasian player to pass the same milestone in the ANZ TransTasman netball series. Laura signed with the Mystics this year after previously playing for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. The Mystics narrowly lost in her 100th ANZ Competition match, going down 50 56 to her old side. Laura's test â€œtonâ€? is an incredible achievement as she has played 100 consecutive tests.
Congratulations Laura! brought to you by
The Trusts Arena VIP Club
Community Waitakere Empowering People's Aspirations
Icon of the West - Lucy M Cranwell
People and Culture at The Trusts
Wine for All Occasions
For more information on The Trusts, visit our website www.thetrusts.co.nz Feedback on www.ourwest.co.nz or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Amazing Place, Massey, Treasure Hunt and Picnic They were asked to bring a friend, make up a team, collect their map and discover the hidden treasures of the Massey community “People, places, business and services”. And they came in their droves on a gloriously sunny Saturday, for the second ‘Our Amazing Place, Massey, Treasure Hunt and Picnic', organised by Massey Matters in conjunction with Lincoln Heights Primary School. The first event last year had been great and organisers were expecting ahead of this year's event, that it would be successful even beyond their hopes. They weren't disappointed as 99 teams turned up to hunt treasures and celebrate. The hidden treasures that had to be identified and found were 23 Community Service Organisations, Sports Clubs and Churches serving the Massey community. To find all these treasures, participants with their “passports”, had to traverse Keegan Drive, Waimumu Road, Hewlett Road, Lincoln Park Avenue, Triangle Road and Doone Road to meet and engage with the various organisations. It was stunningly successful and the organisations were “blown away” by the positive feedback they received and are confident that the participants made real connections with the services available. The water donated by Pure Living Water and Bonita Bananas donated by Turners and Growers were very welcome by the time the teams had negotiated the undulating Massey terrain and reached the
picnic at Lincoln Heights Primary. There they were entertained with performances by Lincoln Heights students and Crescendo Trust. The generosity of local businesses, meanwhile, ensured that there were so many prizes that the last of them weren't given away until the following Monday! The event, another resounding success for the Massey community, was sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson, Royal Heights, and supported by Massey Community Constables, the staff from BNZ Henderson, the Pacific Wardens and the Quality Team from Waitemata DHB who lent their assistance on the day. Massey Matters was another initiative of the famed “Waitakere Way” in which Waitakere City Council sought to encourage communities to define and resolve their own issues by working together. They were then supported by the Council, agencies and local organisations providing expertise, resources, influence and funding to help. “Local people know their own community best; what's working, what's not and how to build on the first and change the second”, was an unofficial motto. Massey Matters began in mid 2006 and was originally co-ordinated by that indefatigable community champion, Megan Courtney. It's a 10 year project about local residents, community groups and businesses the Council and government agencies making Massey an even better place to live.
Update on Pearse Plane Last year we reported that Ivan Mudlovcich of Kelston and his faithful “wingman” Glendene's Wayne Johnson, had built what they believe is a close copy if not an exact replica of the monoplane designed and allegedly flown by Richard Pearse in 1903. It is a decade long project for Ivan who built both the plane and the Pearse designed engine. Sadly the engine didn't develop enough reliable power and the West Auckland attempt to prove that the Southland farmer was the first to fly a powered and controlled aeroplane, will have to remain in the hangar for now. The two men will work on rectifying engine power over the coming winter.
Become a VIP Club Member and enjoy the exclusive benefits Each year The Trusts Arena plays host to over 690,000 visitors from across New Zealand and in many cases around the world at a stunning array of concerts, sporting and community events. To allow you to take advantage of this activity, we have launched a new premium product offering, The Trusts Arena VIP Members Club. This exclusive member club enables access to a range of premium experiences and products not available to regular ticket holders. From a meet and greet with performing artists, to meeting Mystics, Super8 fighters, Waitakere United Players and more. The VIP Members Club is aimed at those who want to “fly business class” within The Trusts Arena. Each VIP Members Club event includes a private members lounge and exclusive opportunities to meet those who are participating in the event along with discounted tickets and a range of other benefits. The club is generously supported by Carlsberg and Babich Wines, we couldn’t do it without them. So why a members club? We know that the public love coming to The Trusts Arena, and they do it in their droves every year. We are also aware that increasingly events are happening on work nights meaning a rush from work to collect kids and get to the event. The VIP Members Club is an opportunity to provide a relaxed and casual space with people you know prior to the show or event. It’s important that our patrons have a fantastic time at our events and by providing this time and space we can help enhance your experience.
UPCOMING EVENTS WORLD VETERAN TABLE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS - Sunday 11 - Sunday 18th May WAITAKERE HOME AND GARDEN SHOW - Friday 23 - Sunday 25 May NORTHERN MYSTICS VS WEST COAST FEVER - Monday 26 May JAMES BLOND SUPER CITY RANGERS VS OCEANAGOLD NUGGETS - Saturday 31 May NORTHERN MYSTICS VS NSW SWIFTS - Sunday 1 June
We also know that in many cases we have people who come to a vast array of events we run each year and we wanted to reward these people for their loyalty. In being a VIP Club Member you will be eligible for discounts of up to 25% on your event tickets as well as dedicated onsite parking spaces, members lounges and gym membership. We’ve worked hard to make this a valuable product for our most loyal guests, the membership is even transferrable, if you don’t want to see a particular event you can lend your member card to family or a friend and they can enjoy your benefits. Of course delivery of the third busiest recreation facility in Auckland is also about prudent financial management. All revenue from the VIP Members Club will be redirected to assist with the delivery of more community sport and recreation. Since 2006 The Trusts Arena has not increased our court hire costs once and we are proud of being able to maintain our community commitment. This is made possible by introducing new opportunities each year to offset the growing demands of both our community and facility. As a facility outside of Council we try wherever possible to ensure that the ratepayer is not the answer if we can possibly avoid it. So if you’re interested in becoming a VIP Club member please go to the The Trusts Arena website and apply. Lounges will be available throughout the year starting with the Super8 Prize Fighter event on June 4th! Available now at: www.thetrustsarena.co.nz/vip
SUPER 8 LAST MAN STANDING - Wednesday 4 June JAMES BLOND SUPER CITY RANGERS VS IMS PAYROLL HAWKS - Saturday 7 June JAMES BLOND SUPER CITY RANGERS VS TARANAKI MOUNTAIN AIRS - Wednesday 11 June JAMES BLOND SUPER CITY RANGERS VS ZERO FEES SOUTHLAND SHARKS - Saturday 14 June KELVIN CRUICKSHANK PRESENTS SOULFOOD - Saturday 14 June
JAMES BLOND SUPER CITY RANGERS VS BREAKERS MANAWATU JETS - Sunday 29 June
Sue Russell - Head of Community Waitakere committed to empowering people to realise their aspirations Community Waitakere succeeds when the people of West Auckland have the tools and the information that enable and empower them to build the community they want and meets the needs of everyone.
This all adds value to the city, builds civic pride, friendships, a sense of political empowerment and ownership. The full benefits will still be emerging years from now.
That is the basic philosophy of Sue Russell, the (relatively) new CEO of Community Waitakere, who through living in different communities throughout the world has experienced what can make strong and resilient communities in various contexts.
Sue believes the true value of community engagement and participation can only be accurately measured using the quadruple bottom line approach of measuring environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes. These four spheres are intrinsically linked and when working well together they lead to connected, thriving and sustainable communities.
She has brought this experience from Dunedin to Community Waitakere, an organisation that she admired while working in the community sector in Dunedin. Community Waitakere, she says, embodies much of what was good about the â€˜Waitakere Way' and principally about the way democracy was fostered at the grass roots and where community faces challenges â€˜head-on' together. Community Waitakere has been embedded in West Auckland for 31 years (originally as West Auckland District's Council of Social Services). It has a long history of working collaboratively with communities through a social justice lens. Sue saw Community Waitakere as a community organisation that was nationally recognised for encouraging and supporting residents and organisations to shape the community they wanted by identifying issues and finding their own solutions. The Ranui Action Plan and Massey Matters are good examples of community initiatives that work in this way. Another example of collaborative engagement with the community can be seen in Community Waitakere's involvement in Project Twin Streams. Project Twin Streams is a dynamic and successful example of community collaboration thanks to the commitment and buy-in from local residents and diverse interest groups like Scouts, churches, Rotaries, schools and businesses. These groups have committed to replanting, maintaining and cleaning-up the stream banks in their neighbourhoods. The knock-on effect is a partnership with the council to create community green spaces, clean up waterways, encourage wildlife and clear the way for an incomparable network of path and cycle ways.
This is only a small part of what Community Waitakere does. Many people in West Auckland will have used the Waitakere Community Resource Centre in Henderson: whether to attend an antenatal class, yoga, a community gathering or to attend the many training sessions that Community Waitakere provide for those that work in the community sector. This facility is managed by Community Waitakere as a community facility available for groups to use. Along with the Resource Centre, Community Waitakere acts as a conduit of information and a connector â€“ running network meetings, providing information on various services, events and activities that are happening in the West. Other services include raising awareness of community challenges and facilitating action, mentoring community groups and organisations in governance and administration, keeping abreast of legislation and policy that could affect them. Under Sue's leadership the core of fostering grassroots democracy by assisting communities to work for their goals will continue to be key to Community Waitakere. This is a practical expression of what Sue learned living in various communities around the world: that community is what you make of it by connecting with the people, becoming involved and leveraging its assets. And Waitakere has many assets.
For further information visit www.communitywaitakere.org.nz or call 09 838 7904.
This month in history 100 years ago:
As the world slides into war, New Zealand meets a fateful general With hindsight it is obvious that the world was sliding towards war 100 years ago and the month of May 1914 was packed with incidents that can, with hindsight, be seen as milestones on the road. For months, if not years, Europe had been sitting on a powder keg of tensions between nations. The Austro Hungarian Empire was entering its last days and Russia was supporting Bosnian Serbs who wanted to leave the empire and join Serbia. Germany was siding with the Austro Hungarians. There had been a vast arms race and Germany, Russia and France felt very threatened. Britain didn't like the thought of the German Navy being a rival to the Royal Navy. All in all, it was like five gamblers all pointing guns at each other under the table. The first one to make a mistake would spark war, and none knew what the mistake would be. That was the very simplified background to the events that were slowly unfolding during the month of May 1914. As we wrote last month, an article in the Berlin Post said that Germany should take the first excuse to go on the attack as soon as possible against its enemies, notably France, Russia and Britain, before they were ready to go to war themselves. Russia it said was too afraid of revolutionaries to want war, Britain was preoccupied with troubles in Ireland and elsewhere and France wasn't ready. So the time was right. That report summed up the situation with extraordinary precision. Our newspapers kept a running commentary about Britain's dilemma in Ireland. Britain was preparing to give independence to the country we now call Ireland (not including Northern Ireland) and taking advantage of that situation, the IRA of the day pulled off a spectacular gun running operation. Irish Republicans staged distractions in many different places to keep the police and army occupied and using a small fleet of ships, ran at least 17,000 German rifles into the country. Even more spectacularly, the newspapers were able to print full details of how it was done. No doubt the Republicans were letting the British know they had a fight on their hands if they didn't do the deal. The Russians were building a very large navy again; on 1 May 1914 under the heading of “Another War Cloud”, the Auckland Star repeated a British article that said Germany was ramping up fears about the Russian Navy in order to ensure that the German people would continue to pay the cost of ever more ships and guns: “…at the present time it is vastly improbable that either Russia or France is looking for an excuse to squabble,” the article said, “and these gloomy prognostications about Russia's future policy are in all likelihood intended to keep alive the apprehensions of the German people and give the Imperial Government some excuse for maintaining its policy of armament expansion while avoiding any step that could be regarded as menacing or unfriendly to England.” Both Britain and Germany announced plans to increase the size of their navies and Germany unveiled to the world the Schutte Lans Airship, with a speed of 83 kilometres an hour and machine gun armament.
Schutte Lans Airship
If the airship was intended to be the 1914 equivalent of shock and awe, the French had gone one better. Not only had they created a fleet of 400 military aeroplanes, some of them having armour plate, but the ace in the pack was the plane that already packed a machine gun. Even by the standards of the times, the newspaper report of its existence was laconic in the extreme: “A shell crashed through a window of a flat in the city, filled the room with smoke and dust and broke the mantelpiece. It was discovered that the missile had been fired from a gun that was being secretly tested from a military aeroplane. “The inventor claims that the piercing of an iron shutter and the destroying of a room at a range of 1,000 yards (about a kilometre) is a splendid demonstration of the efficiency of the gun.” Presumably that was a huge relief to the flat's occupants whose room had just been destroyed with such efficiency! Despite this technological wonder, France was certainly not ready for war, in fact with its public debt standing at a colossal 1.3 billion English pounds, France was going bankrupt. Germany, meanwhile had a war levy in its tax structure and made it clear that it was every German's patriotic duty to pay up. Just to add to the tensions, during May papers reported that France, Britain and Germany had been catching each other's spies. The most hair raising incident being the French discovery that a German cutlery firm had acquired land in several strategic areas in France. At one, Rheims, a hugely important military centre, it was building a winery to make champagne. It just so happened that the cellars extended right under the railway line that would have been used to move large parts of the French Army. The other development was being built alongside the city's waterworks. And while all this was going on, in a bizarre foreword to history, Sir Ian Hamilton, Britain's Inspector General of the Overseas Forces had been on an extended tour of New Zealand and its military preparations. The newspapers reported almost daily on what he was doing, where he had been and what he had said. Clearly he made a big impression. He was to do again on 25 April 1915, when as the commander of the forces landing at Gallipoli, he led into battle the New Zealanders and Australians who created the ANZAC legend.
Sir Ian Hamilton
icons west of the
Lucy M Cranwell On 8 June 2000, Dr Lucy May Cranwell Smith MA, DSc, DSc (hon). FLS, FRSNZ died in Tucson, Arizona, aged 93, bringing down the curtain on the glittering career of one of New Zealand's pioneering women scientists. Lucy Cranwell, who was born and grew up in Henderson and attended Henderson Primary School, was one of those people who were connected to history. Her father and others created the area in Henderson today known as Pomaria and close relatives at one time owned the historic Falls Hotel. Her mother was one of the first students enrolled at the Elam School of Art. Lucy went on to Epsom Girls' Grammar where she excelled at sports, and then to Auckland University graduating with a BA with an odd mixture of English, Botany, French and Economics, with additional studies in Journalism and Geology. Odd it may have been, but it combined to underpin a lifetime's work in branches of botany, about which she was able to write with style and flair. Drawing upon the encouragement that she had received from Henry Swan, she went on to complete an MA in Botany. At the same time she became a keen tramper who could probably outwalk anyone else in the University Tramping Club. She and her lifelong friend Dr Lucy Moore (the two Lucys), were even the subject of a poem, “Tramping Girls of Auckland “ by Professor Arnold Wall, after they had traversed the Waitakeres from the Anawhata Hut (that the two Lucys helped to build) to the Swanson rail station, in pouring rain. Within days of her graduation in 1929, Lucy (again with the support of Henry Swan) was hired as the first woman Head of Botany at the Auckland Museum, a post she held until 1944 when she departed to live in America with the American serviceman she had married the year before. Her first task as head botanist was to set up a 10,000 plant herbarium using specimens already on hand. During her tenure, however, she personally added 4,000 plant species to the herbarium. In 1937 she was a founder of the Auckland Botanical Society. The two Lucys often worked and tramped in tandem. They tramped into some our toughest terrain to study the ecology and greatly expand New Zealand's knowledge of its botany and bio-diversity. Less well known is that Lucy Cranwell also made a significant contribution to knowledge of our marine biology. In 1930 she obtained a grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand to study marine algae and according to Dr Wendy Nelson in giving the 1993 Lucy Cranwell Lecture to the Auckland Botanical Society: “Lucy Cranwell's pioneering expeditions and collections constitute a significant legacy.” But Lucy Cranwell's greatest work was still to come. One of her developing interests was the study of swamps and bogs and endeavouring to accurately date them. This led her to the developing science of palynology. Literally translated this means the study of dust, but in the scientific world it generally relates to
the study of microfossils to help to understand our botanical and geological history. Typically, Lucy was an apt student and during a visit to Scandinavia was quick to adapt to the new discipline, under the tutelage of one of the founders of the science; Lennart von Post. A Swedish naturalist and geologist, von Post was the first to publish quantitative analysis of pollen. In 1937, in recognition of her pioneering work in the field both in New Zealand and in Sweden, Lucy Cranwell was made a Fellow of the Linnaean Society in London. What Lucy learned about pollen analysis from von Post was later put to use in understanding the age and history of New Zealand's bogs helping, in the process, to also get a better understanding of our geology. In 1993 Lucy began a series of imaginative articles about native plants, for the Auckland Star newspaper. The articles were compelling works of literature rather than scientific dissertations. By the time the series finished four years later, it had run to 150 articles and inspired many Aucklanders, including hundreds of children,to get involved with New Zealand plants. With the advent of war, she turned her talents to another pioneering effort,the production of a booklet called “Food Is Where You Find It: A Guide To Emergency Foods Of The Western Pacific”. This guide to living off the land became standard issue for British, Commonwealth and American forces operating in the Pacific and Burma campaigns. It ran to six editions, four during the war and incredibly one in 1992 and the sixth in 1993 to help mark the 50th anniversary reunion of US Marines who served on Guadalcanal. Said John Reid, then First Secretary of the New Zealand Legation in Washington in 1945, “I suppose you have been very satisfied with the extensive use that has been made by the American and British Armies of this booklet; possibly you were not aware of the fact that about two months ago the British Army staff here pointed out that there was nothing comparable available and asked permission to reprint 5,000 copies for their use.” In 1943 Lucy married Watson Smith, then a captain of the US Army Airforce, and previously a lawyer who had turned to archaeology. He was to later become an outstanding researcher and expert in classifying ceramics. The couple went to live in America where, in time, Lucy discovered Richard Howard using her “Food Is Where You Find It” booklet in jungle survival classes. Howard went on to become a professor at Harvard.
Lucy Cranwell's fame and reputation as one of the world's outstanding microbiologists continued to grow throughout the remainder of her long career and she was heaped with honours. She won the Loder Cup (New Zealand's premier conservation award) early in her career in 1937; she was also made a member of the Board of the Auckland Institute and Museum. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1944 and received the Hector Medal from the Royal Society in 1957. In 1992, Auckland University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Science and seven years later the Auckland Museum bestowed the Lucy M Cranwell Honorary Fellowship. The Auckland Botanical Society memorialises her with the Lucy M Cranwell Lecture. She was appointed a fellow of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science in 1983 and in 1989, an Honorary Member of the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists. She and Watson, who lived in their desert home called Casa Gondwana, created the Cranwell Award in Palynology for Graduate Students.
Lucy M Cranwell, Icon of the West
Swan's Arch - The extraordinary myths and legends A strange brick arch stands to the side of Central Park Drive in Henderson, half buried in the earth, and bears mute witness to one of West Auckland's most bizarre legends, that of the “mysterious hermit lawyer” Henry Swan and his wife, the incredibly forgiving Edith Swan. In the enduringly popular legend, Henry Swan was an English born and trained solicitor who, by the late 1890s was a prosperous Auckland lawyer, living at Devonport with Edith, his Canadian wife. He was a pillar of Auckland society being a member of the prestigious Northern Club and Auckland Institute Museum. Then, suddenly and mysteriously, Swan pretended to embark on a round the world voyage in his 30 foot (9m) yacht, the Awatea. But, having waved goodbye and sailing out to sea until dark he went about and sneaked Awatea up a tributary of the Henderson Creek, where it ran through land he had bought several years earlier. Here, hidden from sight, he lived on Awatea for the next 30 years, a recluse developing a successful orchard, digging several caves to act as cool-store cellars for his fruit and to store personal possessions. He also dug a pool for the Awatea and for himself, friends and local children to swim in and finally, in 1925, he began building what is today known as Swan's Arch. Meanwhile, after seven years and presuming him lost at sea, Edith Swan had him declared dead only to discover in 1910 that he had been found alive and well in Henderson. Somehow, Edith reconciled these various shocks and for the rest of his life was a regular visitor to his strange home, even keeping a swimming costume there. Except, according to Waitakere historian Robyn Mason, the story is probably mostly urban legend that does no justice to a cultured man who gave generously to his community. In fact, Henry and Edith Swan's unconventional lifestyle may well have been a practical, if not legal, divorce that suited them both, he being an outdoorsman who yearned for a simple life and she a sophisticated city girl. Edith and Henry remained friends for life. She loved him from the start, of that her father bore witness, and her obituary to him was loving. It is possible that the marriage was a loving marriage of convenience. Certainly Edith was a young woman who knew her own mind and was prepared to defy convention. Perhaps in an age that demanded that lovers be married and divorce was a scandal, they married in order to be together and then found a way that suited them both, to live apart. As for the story he went to sea and then sneaked back, Robyn Mason's research suggests that he and Edith were both overseas when this was supposed to have happened.
There's no hard evidence that Henry Swan practised law in Auckland or that he was a member of the Northern Club. He was a member of the Auckland Institute Museum but not until 1912, and a life member from 1928. He was also chairman of the Plumer Domain Board. These high profile positions contradict the idea of a skulking hermit keeping himself aloof from the world. In short, the story of the deceitful hermit and his betrayed but forgiving wife, may have been a fiction invented by idle tongues and embellished by the rumour mill. What is missing, is the full story of the scholarly, gentlemanly, free spirit; the story of yet another West Auckland character who added value to the community. Swan, says Robyn Mason, had no need to work. It seems it simply suited him to live on his yacht, experiment with growing fruit, study his books and the natural world, take an active part in local life, and mentor local children including young Lucy Cranwell whose botanical interests he first encouraged when she was a child. He also sponsored Lucy to membership of the Auckland Institute Museum when she was just 21. It launched a stellar career. Lucy became the Museum's botanist and founder of the Auckland Botanical Society on her way to gaining an international reputation. While Swan's Arch may have been no more than a hobby, it did span the saltwater swimming pool he constructed and in which, concerned about the number of deaths by drowning in New Zealand, he taught local children to swim. It was also an observation post on which he placed telescopes to teach children about the night sky. Nearly a century on, the Awatea is still around, the pool and the cellars are gone and the top half of Swan's Arch stands above the grass beside Central Park Drive in silent memorial to a man described as being: “Quintessentially Westie… practical, selfsufficient and outside the mainstream….cultured and generous… a man of comfortable means and leisure living in a sylvan spot beside a winding waterway”. With thanks to Vivien Burgess, Robyn Mason and the West Auckland Historical Society. This story has drawn upon: ‘A Man of Comfortable Means and Leisure' by Robyn Mason, published in ‘West of Eden', Journal of the West Auckland Historical Society, Issue 3.
The Trusts take another in people and culture The Trusts are setting a high standard in the recruitment and retention of staff in retail and hospitality in New Zealand by discarding conventional recruitment methods and starting again with an (almost) unique approach that is designed specifically for this organisation. Instead of a general system that virtually any organisation can use The Trusts' Manager of People and Culture Martha Gibbons and Leesa Irving (founder of employment innovators Above and Beyond) are implementing a system designed to find an exact match between applicants and the specific values of the organisation. The long term aim is to find the people whose personality will enable them to adopt The Trusts' social and commercial values, and then contribute at any level, while growing through the organisation, to the very top of their field if that is their goal. Such people are very likely to pursue their careers, or a very large part of them, at The Trusts becoming the “engineers in the engine room of success.” They are people who will not need an external reason to live the values, because they will align with their own. While some in the hospitality industry have adopted a similar approach, Leesa says The Trusts are the first retailer of any type that she knows of in New Zealand who are going down this route. But, isn't that what The Trusts have been doing for some time already? “That was our intention,” says Martha. “We have come a long way in recent years but when we looked critically at our systems, we realised there was much more we could do and more we could do better,” says Martha. “So we 'peeled the onion' right back and looked at what we were doing, layer by layer; from the accuracy of the position descriptions, our interviewing techniques, our 'on-boarding' processes, induction, training, matching people to the tasks, and so on. What we saw was that we simply weren't set up to attract the right people nor able to provide them with the best tools to reach their full potential, and when people can't reach their potential, nor can The Trusts,” she says.
What is emerging is one seamless package that will recruit the right people and nurture their own ambition and desire to succeed within the one organisation, leveraging their own skills and aptitude and engagement with The Trusts' values. Position descriptions are now being very closely defined and a skills matrix has been specially designed to guide the process of interviewing candidates. It will enable interviewers to ask exactly the right questions to bring them to an accurate understanding of how well an applicant aligns with The Trusts “three pillars for success”. These are: profitability, acceptability to the public of West Auckland, and staff engagement with what the organisation is trying to achieve and being committed to play their part. The new system Leesa and Martha are creating looks first and very precisely at the nature of the positions that are to be filled and then at identifying the personality profile of the applicant most likely to succeed in the position. They will be looking initially at the person behind the skill-set. This is because a person with a skill-set but not the personality, will always be a square peg in a round hole. Conversely, the person with the attitude and aptitude who aligns with The Trusts' values, will always be 'right for the job'. To complement that they can add any skills they don't already have. Bringing personality and skill together creates fully-rounded, fully-engaged employees, committed to being customer focussed and able to move anywhere in the company, taking and spreading their positive attitudes with them as they move through the company. “In the retail shops for example, we don't want order takers,” says Martha. “We want people who can connect with the customer and use their personality and product knowledge to assist the customer to leave the store feeling that they've had a rewarding experience. We want people who will take pride in creating that. If creating that experience makes them feel good
Traditionally organisations either 'make' the staff they need or 'buy' them ready-made from school, tertiary or another employer. The objective of the new cutting edge systems at The Trusts, says Leesa, is to 'make' all the people the organisation needs by growing their people from within.
"If we get that right we may never, for example, have to hire another duty manager from outside because we will have a ready supply of people with the personality, potential and skills ready to step up. Of course, when people realise the company is going to look after them and foster their career long term, they in turn, commit themselves to the organisation," Martha says.
Martha Gibbons and Leesa Irving discuss the new cutting edge approach to recruiting and nurturing people at The Trusts
major step-up about themselves they will feel good about the organisation that trains, encourages and empowers them.
Martha and Leesa also see The Trusts as being sufficiently large and diverse that it can offer almost endless opportunities for staff to grow as individuals and experts in their field. For example, a Retail Assistant could realistically expect to be able to run their own site one day, learning all the necessary skills whilst working with The Trusts.
Identifying “Aces in places” can also be defined another way; finding people with a particular skill and attitude that is ideal for training others. Leesa cites one staff member who would not ordinarily be seen as a likely leader, but who had developed exactly the right attitude and skills to serve a particular area of business and as a result was ideal for training other people in that area. The potential negative could be turned into a highly successful positive.
Along the way, these staff will acquire nationally recognised qualifications that will win them jobs anywhere. That is assuming they ever want to leave The Trusts.
Engagement is probably the fundamental for success and the slogan that dominates the white board in Martha's office as this cutting edge process unrolls is 'Educate, engage, empower'.
“Order takers can't deliver that and will have limited opportunities to rise in the company. The person with a customer focussed personality will.”
As a further refinement, says Leesa, they are seeking the people who will become the 'champions of change', or as Leesa calls them, 'Aces in places'. These are people who by their own example will encourage the staff around them to see that 'they are the company'. They have a valuable place in the organisation and what they do makes a difference and contributes to their own success and that of everyone around them and ultimately the organisation as a whole.
The Trusts are already recognised internationally by the Dale Carnegie organisation as an organisation committed to the development of their staff. This is another huge step up and once again, the West Auckland community, which owns The Trusts, will reap the benefits.
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