About Northland Regional Council

Northland Regional Council manage the air, land, freshwater and coastal resources of the Northland region.

Rich in culture and history, the Northland region boasts a stunning natural environment that stretches from south-east of Mangawhai across to the Kaipara Harbour and all the way up to New Zealand’s northernmost tip, Cape Rēinga. As the northernmost and warmest of New Zealand’s 16 regions, Northland is known as the ‘winterless North’. Today, it is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand and home to more than 190,000 people.

Northland Regional Council (NRC) manages the air, land, freshwater and coastal resources of the Northland region and coordinates its civil defence, transport and economic development. Their vision and mission are to work with their people and partners to create a healthy environment, strong economy and resilient communities. This vision underpins everything they do. It’s ultimately about working together to care for the region’s incredible environment and many communities, matching skills and resources with the vision and aspirations of their people.

The regional council is made up of nine elected Councillors, including a Chairman, an appointed Chief Executive Officer and around 320 full-time and part-time staff.

Their Challenge

NRC first approached the Institute of Managers and Leaders ANZ (the Institute) at a time when they were about to embark on a significant change to a software package that would affect the entire organisation. NRC required a leadership program with a change management lens that could be applied practically.

At that time, experience across the executive leadership team varied – some were new to leadership, others had been doing it for years. NRC required a leadership program that they could

apply practically and that had a change management lens.

The Results

NRC regularly provide feedback that the Institute’s ongoing work with them has created greater cohesion amongst their leadership team. Their Executive Leaders, Deputy Group Managers and Managers now all have a common language and set of tools and skills. Consistency in their management and leadership approach is an ongoing benefit. The 1:1 coaching session provided stood out as one of the major benefits of the Institute’s programs. 

In terms of skills, NRC have seen a general uplift of capability in the areas of critical conversations and spending the time needed to target accountability. NRC’s managers and leaders now give much more focus to these critical components of managing and leading. 

NRC continues to benefit from the Institute’s services and member benefits after joining as a corporate member. Their team are active in attending Short Courses, Webinars and Development Days.

Feedback from NRC participants has been consistently positive, in terms of content and delivery. Participants find the Institute’s programs to have immediate and practical application, equipping them with tools that they can use the very next day. 

Working with the Institute of Managers and Leaders and our dedicated Account Manager is so easy. They are just so responsive.

We’re really happy with the service that we receive from the Institute and the people that we deal with regularly. Our work with the Institute is something we will continue for the foreseeable future, and we will continue to actively tap into what the Institute is offering.

For anyone considering working with the Institute of Managers and Leaders: Jump in and make the most of it without hesitation. 


Key Areas of Need

Our Solution

After conducting their own skill self-assessment and creating a development framework, NRC identified that their main areas for development were:

  • Greater self-awareness amongst their leaders.
  • Understanding the impact of change on their staff and the role of a leader during change.
  • A shift in mindset to enterprise leadership (leading the organisation, rather than just their business unit).
  • Creating a culture of accountability so that better expectations are set and follow up occurs.

By working with the Institute, NRC wanted to see improvement in the following areas:

  • Increased collaboration.
  • Sharing the same story and speaking from the same playbook.
  • Leaders acting for the whole organisation, rather than for their business unit.
  • Leaders leading by example, especially in relation to accountability.

The NRC Leading Change Program cohort consisted of 8 participants including the CEO and Executive Leadership Team. The Program ran across three months and included eight half-day virtually facilitated workshop days, two 1:1 coaching sessions, and two analytic tools. 

The unique Leading Change Program was created specifically for NRC, based on several key objectives provided by their project team. The program was designed to support the Executive Leaders to:

Develop a deeper understanding of self: background, behavioral styles, emotional intelligence, strengths and potential development areas; 

Understand the human impacts of change and develop strategies to align people with a change strategy and process; and 

Understand leadership styles and application and how to collaborate and work collectively for the greater good. 

Upon completion of the Leading Change Program, NRC engaged the Institute to deliver a further four customised workshops for the Executive Team, along with a comprehensive program for the middle managers. 

As these were bespoke programs, the Institute worked with NRC to understand their unique challenges and customise a program and schedule suited to their purpose, needs and people. Based on the 70:20:10 learning methodology, program design focused on integration into the workplace, line manager involvement and the support of coaching and mentoring.