This year, as with every one of the last eight of that twenty, the chance to be part of our conference, catch up with old friends and meet new ones, is one of the highlights of the work year. Added to the warm welcome you always know you’ll enjoy on the Gold Coast, it’s a chance to share stories of projects completed, ideas put into practice, and open our minds to new viewpoints across the world of customer service. The theme of Driving Change to Embrace a Dynamic Future was surely a worthy aim for the event.

It was a great thrill to be able to introduce, and then learn so much from, our keynote speaker and Australian icon, the amazing Lisa Curry. How about that terrific ‘How to Create Champions’ video? Her assertion that: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together’ was truly thought provoking, as well as one of the best reasons I’ve ever heard for holding conferences like this one! It’s surely true that a clear focus on teamwork makes goal achievement so much easier. Enjoying such a collaborative atmosphere in the workplace surely makes you feel so much better as you walk through the door to start each working day. I guess any sports coach would quickly tell you that teams should never compete internally against themselves. This idea also came through in the presentation by Carol Lewis from The Human Equation as she talked about key ways to build vital alliances to help champion change.

There were so many other highlights that I feel I could simply reprint the event programme here! To choose just a few, let’s start with Cliff Booth’s thought-provoking discussion on the challenges for local government concerning workplace mobility in the years ahead. Change was also a clear theme of Janelle Nisbet’s premise that it’s about engagement with our own communities, as well as our own people, so we can quickly recognise, and work to meet, changing needs. It was also inspiring to see how Lockyer Valley’s Customer Service Team, and the joint project between Library Services and Customer Service in Huntsville, were able to share superb examples of innovative practice.

Back at work after such a high-octane conference, I always take time to reflect on what has been said, the ideas presented, and how I can take these and share them with my team to enhance our own performance. Naturally, they were also pretty hyper about the fact that all their efforts were recognised when they won a couple of our treasured awards. Serious congrats to all the other winners – and to those mentioned in dispatches. So many great examples of the efforts all our NLGCSN members make.

Now, it’s back to the day job, but with much about communication and collaboration that I could consider when preparing the 2016/2017 budgets and plans. I guess reality always does bite back!

You’ll be able to revisit the conference and its ideas at csnetwork.livepro.com.au. Thanks goes to so many people, within our own organisation, plus guest speakers, and of course the everyone that was involved in making it happen. Everyone, not forgetting all our great delegates, put so much effort into making our time at the Crowne Plaza so memorable and rewarding.

Diary reminder: 26-28 October 2016 for our next Conference. It’s our 21st birthday. Does this mean this is our coming-of-age event? Goodness, some of us are stretching memories to remember our own. Just as well we’re all customer-focused and young-at-heart!