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Ensuring consistent and coherent service excellence

8 November 2011- East Lecture Theatre (from 8.45am)

University of Waikato general staff are tasked with achieving "operational excellence in support of teaching, learning, postgraduate supervision and research" (Strategy Goal 5).

The 2011 General Staff Professional Development Day was aimed specifically at Strategy Goal 5.2 to "apply a consistent approach to service delivery across the University". Wherever you work (central, academic Faculty/School/Institute or Centre, commercial and any combination of these) you are key to ensuring an excellent experience for your service users through your approach to your job.

The aim of the day was to get ideas from across the organisation to help build a culture in which service quality, co-operation, collaboration, continuous improvement and sustainability are more than just words and are really understood and owned by staff. We also needed to work out how we support each other to develop the skills to deliver on these important values.

The day started by looking at the excellent service we already provide and then attempted to define and agree the principles, attitudes, behaviours and systems which underpin an excellence approach. We utilised the collective capacity, wisdom and experience which participants brought to the event. This was kotahitanga in action!  kotahitanga = unity, participation, consensus 

8.45 Coffee on arrival
9.00 Introduction: The Importance of service excellence - Lisa Finucane, Head Communications and External Relations

Our approach to service excellence: Short presentation from each Division, Faculty and other service units outlining their core services, how they are evaluated and their underlying service philosophy to provide an overview of the variety of service activities and approaches we currently undertake as an organisation.

10.15 Morning tea

Our approach to service excellence (continued) Click here to view a PDF version of the PowerPoint presentations.

12.00 Lunch
12.45 Service leadership: MJ Waddington, recipient of a Vice-Chancellor's Medal for Staff Excellence, talked about her service philosophy and commitment to excellence. (Click to view presentation)
1.30 Delivering service excellence: How do we ensure the delivery of a consistent and coherent One University service experience for users of our services? (Facilitated session)
3.00 Summary from Chair
3.30 Afternoon tea and networking

Outcomes from the Day

Brainstorming Ideas for Developing Service Excellence

  • Induction (both local and organisational) - espouse simple values
  • Faculty/Division Staff Excellence Awards
  • Administrators' Forum
  • Improve evaluation of service excellence - develop good systems
  • Cross-unit co-operation
  • Open Homes
  • Wife/Husband Administrator Swapping
  • Visits & work experience in other areas
  • Quality Assurance Framework


Developing a culture of:

  • Common sense
  • Do unto others
  • Value each step in the process (For want of a nail . . . the kingdom was lost)
  • Goodwill - What can I do to help you achieve your goals so I can achieve mine?
  • Excellence in the student and staff experience


  • Resistance
  • Interdivision competition
  • Thinking of someone as the "alien" or "other"


  • Build understanding of why things are important
  • Sharing information - what is important
  • Creating common processes and systems - how we do things
  • Measuring and monitoring for continuous improvement/evaluation/quality assurance
  • What services are customers requesting?


  • Right people - ensure you know what you are looking for
  • Willing to be the mortar between the bricks
  • Recognise and celebrate

Personal leadership:

  • Personal responsibility for exploration, self direction and becoming confident and agile
  • Self help and triage models
  • Connectedness - Māori (aroha, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga)
  • Ask, analyse, evaluate, consult, change
  • Respect each others' skills
  • Make the next pathway better.