It’s been a whole year since Jenny joined the council. Her anniversary was recognised at the monthly team meeting (Rochelle made cupcakes); however, Jenny didn’t feel like celebrating.

Over the year, some progress was made regarding the new Contract Management Policy. Still, most of the time, Jenny was being pulled in too many directions (including acting in the role of CFO for ten weeks during Terry’s long service leave) to be able to focus effectively. These additional duties and side projects were exceedingly demanding and often distracted Jenny from delivering on the initial vision she had described during her interview.

Pushing for change

Jenny didn’t feel that the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) was giving enough focus (or allocating enough resources) to mitigate the risks highlighted by the contract dispute that led to her role being created a year ago.

Jenny had been asked to present to the SLT how changes to contract management had improved over the past 12 months. She decided that she wasn’t going to sugarcoat it but tell it like it is; not much had changed at all. Council MUST make a cultural shift regarding contract management.

Jenny’s presentation highlighted that:

  • Contracts were still being managed inconsistently or not at all.
  • Audit recommendations were still not addressed.
  • The Contract Management Framework was seen as an unnecessary red tape by staff.
  • Staff were taking the ‘path of least resistance’ to establish contracts.
  • Her role had little or no authority, so many simply ignored her advice.
  • The SLT was unwilling to ‘see this through’ and support her strategy.
The SLT thanked Jenny for her informative presentation and that they would ‘look into’ her recommendations. As Jenny left the meeting, she overheard the Infrastructure Director comment that “Jenny just doesn’t understand the pressures we have to deliver projects. I’m not going to waste the teams’ time on this. We hired a Contract Manager; she should be managing contracts – not us.” Others in the room were heard quietly laughing at these remarks.


Getting frustrated and losing hope
Jenny became despondent and quietly thought, “What’s the point of trying? If management doesn’t care, then why should I?”
Jenny hated feeling like this but struggled to stay motivated when no one else seemed to care. She wondered how long she could keep banging her head against the wall to make change happen…