Here are the best four ways for you to advance your career in local government this year with development opportunities from SOLGM.

1. Apply for an award, exchange or scholarship in February

Highlight your exceptional or innovative project through the McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®.

Have your leadership potential recognised and travel to the ICMA Conference in the US with the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award. We're looking for an emerging leader aged 35 or under who is making an impact in their community.

Embed yourself in a local authority in the US, Canada, or Australia through Overseas Manager Exchanges sponsored by Civic Financial Services and JLT. You'll be one step ahead of other applicants if you've contributed to the local government sector.

Receive a scholarship for the LDC's Leadership in Practice Programme, usually reserved for central government leaders. The ideal recipient will be a tier 3 or tier 4 manager able to represent the sector.

Be sponsored by Skills to attend the peerless Mt Eliza Melbourne Business School's Leading for Strategic Success Programme. Open to CEs only.

2. Develop the team around you

Enter a team into the Australasian Management Challenge by February 9. Chief Executives interviewed about the Management Challenge have said it grows individuals and teams, boosts Council pride, and breaks down silos. Generally, teams have a tier 2 ‘mentor’ and are comprised of six tier 3 professionals with diverse skills.

In order to move from good to great, everyone must work together to deliver seamless service to their community. This means creating a culture where everyone feels able to contribute. The Collaborative Leadership: Hardwiring Teamwork and Innovation workshop on February 19 in Wellington with Drs. Susan & Peter Glaser reveals the key ingredients that make meetings great and allow individuals to achieve consensus.

3. Develop yourself with a leadership programme

For those in people leadership roles, including leading project teams, there is the five-month LG Accelerated Leadership Programme for developing authentic leadership.

For those already in senior roles with greater leadership potential, there's the LG Executive Leaders Programme, a 12 month 'leader of leaders' programme applying brain based science.

4. Register for a sector-specific event designed exclusively for New Zealand councils

Be inspired at the 2018 Retreat - register soon as it's happening on 28-30 January in Wanaka.

Risk Managers should attend the 2018 JLT Risk Management Forum to hear the latest on natural hazards, climate change, risk transfer, and the relationship between regulation and risk – 15-16 February in Wellington.

Ensure your projects are well-run and avoid confusion and unnecessary cost by attending a Project Management workshop with Frank Aldridge – 27-28 February in Hamilton and 14-15 June in Palmerston North.

Negotiate, monitor, and manage effective contracts with suppliers after attending a Contract Management workshop – 6-7 March in Wellington.

Attend the Professional Administrators Forum to make an impact at your Council while balancing your busy life and achieving what matters to you – 23 March in Christchurch.

Escape the daily grind of financial statements and systems to focus on the impact of technology, shared capability, infrastructure challenges, audit committees, and developments in the regulatory and policy environment at the Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum – 26-27 March in Christchurch.

Celebrate outstanding projects and see how they can be applied at your Council by attending the Gala Dinner and the Marketplace MC'd by Oscar Kightley – 12 April in Auckland.

The Community Services and Facilities Forum is the best opportunity for community services & facilities managers and professionals to connect on topical matters such as community based funding, enabling communities, multi-sports facilities and hubs, international best practice, and growing services – 18 May in Wellington.