If your role includes staff management responsibilities you're likely to have been challenged by some difficult and often trust destroying conversations. If that sounds familiar our Managing Performance Masterclass: Having Difficult Conversations is for you.

Led by international authors, university professors and researchers, the Glasers, it's on in Wellington on 24 February. The Glasers are also former actors and use their dramatic skills to create compelling performance management scenarios so this promises to be a highly engaging day. The content of the Masterclass has evolved from three decades of their own published, field-tested research and will introduce you to concrete, tangible skills so you can:

> DECODE the hidden world of non-verbal communication to understand what people are really saying.

> TEACH people how their behaviour is a problem without making them feel defensive.

> CONVERT criticism from defensiveness and blame to insight and agreement.

> RAISE difficult issues that simultaneously solve problems and strengthen relationships.

> TRANSFORM the organization’s culture from avoidance to positive engagement.

> CLARIFY perceptions before making assumptions.

> CREATE trust through conflict.

You can learn more and register here.

If you've not yet stepped into a people management role and you're considering it, the above Masterclass may have alerted you to one of the challenges. This three day immersion Programme is designed to prepare you for that step. It's being held in Palmerston North on 6 - 8 March and is being led by Mark Richardson. Mark headed up the Christchurch City Council for 10 years and continues to work as a consultant in the sector so this Programme is very local government focussed. Participants can expect to learn how to:

> Challenge personal mental frameworks and consciously develop their personal style, within the body of good practice.

> Develop personal action plans in a number of key areas.

> Provide a networking opportunity primarily within their own council but also beyond it.

Find out more about what this Programme can offer you or, if you already manage people, some of your staff, here. I'd recommend early registration as numbers are limited.

Now is a great time to plan what SOLGM events you'll be adding to your calendar. All those currently scheduled for 2017 are already open for registration in our Event Calendar. Information on what's happening the first few months of 2017 is below.

LGOIMA Webinar on 25 January

Senior Associate at Simpson Grierson, Kathryn McLean will cover how to effectively manage LGOIMA requests. It's priced at $250+GST per council and you and your colleagues can register here.

JLT Risk Management Forum on 16 & 17 February in Wellington

The programme contains a mix of sessions that address hot topics in the important area of risk management. This year’s Forum also looks at the governance of risk management activities. With a focus on sharing experiences there will be table-top discussions and plenty of opportunity to network and swap information with other local government risk management practitioners. You can find the full programme and register here.

Free Webinar: Building Consent Authority Accreditation Scheme on 2 March

In conjunction with MBIE this free webinar is for everyone with an interest in the Building Consent Authority Accreditation Scheme. MBIE's Pete Laureson, Manager – Building System Control and Stephanie Coutts, Building System Performance will outline the changes to the existing Scheme and take you through the new relationship with the accreditation body, IANZ, changes to the regulations and the development of regulatory guidance. You can register here and please feel free to pass this along to any colleagues involved in building accreditation.

SOLGM Annual Gala Dinner on 12 April in Auckland

This is a very special event in our annual calendar where we celebrate the very best in local government management. We'll be announcing the winning entries in our 2017 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards, the winning team in the New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge, the recipients of our Leadership Scholarships and Overseas Manager Exchanges and last but certainly not least, the winner of the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award which comes with an amazing opportunity to travel to Texas for the 2017 International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) annual conference. You can purchase your dinner tickets here.

You can also find more information about entering or applying for all of the above through the links provided. I'd particularly encourage our members (and those considering becoming members) to look into the Scholarships and Exchanges - these fantastic career development opportunities are a key member benefit with most costs covered by our sponsors, LDC and The Skills Organisation (the Scholarships) and JLT and Civic Assurance (the Overseas Manager Exchanges). Applications are open till 1 February.