This little scenario was knocked up for a group exercise I ran for the Local Government Association leadership course. A good laugh!
Standard disclaimer! The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred!
Your name is Alex and you work in the Marketing Team at the City of Radelaide.
It’s February. Festival season is nigh and you’re super busy putting together marketing materials for the busiest time of the year in Radelaide.
You’re sitting at your desk responding to emails on your computer when you sense a presence looming up behind you. You turn your head – it’s Laura from the Off-street Parking Team.
‘Hi Alex. I was hoping you might be able to help me out. As you know we’ve just launched a new ‘smart parking app’ which people can use to find and pay for on-street parking.’
‘Yeah, I saw that – it’s pretty nifty’, you reply. Here we go, what does Laura want from me…?
‘The problem is, not many people are using it. I was hoping you might be able to come up with a plan to get the word out there about the app, and encourage more people to park in our off-street car parks’.
‘It’s such a great app – you can search for empty parking spaces, get directions to the nearest space, pay for your parking on your phone, get notified when your parking is about to expire, and you can even top-up your parking remotely. What’s not to love about that?’
You do some quick rearranging of priorities in your mind. Hmm, I’m flat-strap, but I suppose I can find the time – family, sleep, kid’s sport, they can wait…
‘Sure, I can help out. When do you need it by?’
‘Leave it with me’.
You turn back towards your computer, and no sooner have you directed your gaze back to your monitor screen, when the phone begins to ring. You reluctantly pick up the receiver.
‘Hello, this is Alex’, you answer in a sheepish voice.
‘Hi Alex, it’s Michaela from the Environment Team. How are you today?’
‘OK, thanks’, you reply guardedly. Hmm, Environment only ever call when they want something done at short notice.
‘I was hoping you could help us out. The Strategic Plan says that we have to reduce the city’s carbon emissions to zero by 2025. We thought that we’d run a campaign to convince people to stop driving their cars into the city’.
‘I knew you’d be keen to help! Are you able to knock up a draft marketing plan that we can discuss further? We’re meeting with the big boss next week, so it would be great to get something on paper by Friday’.
‘OK, I’ll see what I can do’.
‘Brilliant, thanks. You’re a star, Alex. Speak soon.’
Gosh, you think to yourself, how am I going to get all of this done in time?
But bad luck comes in threes! There’s a new email waiting in your inbox from Shona, from the R-Park Team. R-Park is a subsidiary car parking business that’s operated by the City of Radelaide.
The email reads:
We’re having terrible trouble filling R-Park Grout Street. Nobody wants to park there, it seems. It’s probably got something to do with the ‘first hour free parking’ that we offer across the road at R-Park Big Market. The Milson Car Park around the corner is also offering a $14 Early Bird rate which seems to be working for them (we charge $16). Anyway, hoping you can knock together a plan to sort this situation out? No rush, close of business Friday will be fine’.
Golly! Three separate plans to write! How am I going to get this all done?
So I have to write three plans…
- Plan #1 – increase the use of the ‘smart parking’ app and encourage more on-street car parking
- Plan #2 – reduce car traffic in the city to minimise carbon emissions
- Plan #3 – increase car parking revenue at R-Park Grout Street
You reflect momentarily on the irony of all this, and then put your head in your hands as you begin to understand the enormity of the task ahead of you…