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Helping the Great Barrier Reef’s protector to focus on what matters

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Helping the Great Barrier Reef’s protector to focus on what matters

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is the Australian Government agency responsible for managing the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage-listed natural wonder.

GBRMPA was facing a rapidly changing operating environment

GBRMPA was operating in a high profile and rapidly-changing environment. The health of the Reef was deteriorating, bringing increased attention, and with it an increased focus from other organisations.

The key threats to the Reef – climate change, poor water quality, coastal development and fishing – were mostly outside GBRMPA’s control. GBRMPA was concerned it was being distracted from its core responsibilities and was spreading its resources too thin, so it engaged Nous Group to undertake a strategic review of its work program.

We worked with GBRMPA to develop a detailed plan

Nous took a three-step approach to the project. We:

  1. developed a strategic narrative through interviews, focus groups and a workshop with senior leaders to understand GBRMPA’s strategic context, existing work program, priorities, challenges and opportunities and win the support of staff and stakeholders
  2. used the narrative to develop a work program, which streamlined 76 activities into 17 consistent, comparable and comprehensive programs
  3. led a workshop to engage all agency staff and a second workshop with senior staff to determine the changes required to embed the new strategic focus.

Implementation is now under way

Nous delivered a compelling strategic narrative that inspired 11 detailed recommendations for a new prioritised work program, organisational design improvements and cultural changes. We presented these recommendations as a roadmap, each with an attached timeframe and responsibility.

GBRMPA is implementing these changes with support from Nous. It convened a Reef Summit with diverse stakeholders to agree on a way to increase the resilience of coral reefs. External stakeholders have said GBRMPA’s new direction, focusing on partnership and collaboration, is positive and unprecedented. Nous is continuing to work with GBRMPA to embed these changes, including developing a detailed work program and developing performance measures.

What you can learn from GBRMPA

  • A strategic narrative can build support for change among stakeholders and is particularly useful in rapidly changing and complex operating environments.
  • Involving key staff in creating strategic priorities and a detailed work program can help an organisation focus on what really matters and develop a long-term solution.
  • Engaging all staff at key points and involving them in the decision-making process will build support for strategic shifts and organisational changes.

Key people in this project

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