My last posting was about “Who am I inspired to serve?” This article is my personal answer.
I have been a member of the Federal Government workforce (20 year Coast Guard career) and a consultant to them (first-ever Executive Capstone Program for the Department of Homeland Security; FY 2024-28 Strategic Plan for the US Marshals Service) for many years.
My heart, though, is with local governments. With exceptions, their work is more often the direct delivery of services rather than policy creation and implementation. A City or County Manager is responsible for everything in that jurisdiction (Public Safety; Economic Development; Parks and Recreation; Public Works; Family Services; Courts; Permitting; and more). Interestingly, I feel that they are more easily accountable as you may run into them at the grocery store.
Therefore, I feel my investment of time and expertise is more impactful and rewarding with this group.
In short, I help them take “the journey to excellence”.
WIIFM: What results can come from their committing to the journey?
- The organization retains its’ “all stars” and they feel valued/equipped for excellence
- The employees bring energy, commitment, and “their whole self” to the organization
- Clients feel delighted (with the outcome and the experience) and they bring the organization new opportunities and partnerships
- The organization has/uses a vision and strategic plan to guide its’ management and budgeting philosophy and decisions
- The Core Values drive the behavioral/social norms to achieving the desired culture
- The organization’s reputation and financial standing are solid and enduring
Since 2005, I have worked with most of the northern Virginia local governments (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Herndon, Manassas Park, Prince William, and Vienna) and College Park, Maryland. The topics have included Executive Coaching/Leadership, Strategic Planning, Core Values, Employee Engagement and Performance, Customer Delight, Measurement, Leading Change, and training for all the above). The umbrella starting point for this is our 8 piece puzzle framework that describes Organizational Excellence.
In 2016, I started partnering with the International City and County Managers Association (ICMA). Presenting at their International and Regional/State conferences has helped me broaden my impact – across many local governments in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. I do interactive and applied four hour workshops on Strategy (“Delivering Great Results from your Vision and Strategic Plan”) and Culture (“Shaping the Culture of Your Organization”) at these events. I’m pleased to say that my upcoming Strategy workshop at the Austin conference is completely full with 50 City Managers and senior staff.
It’s taken me awhile to laser focus here, but this is my calling. It’s not easy, though. There are many issues to navigate. I have a proven approach and deep experience in applying it that can help any local government whose leadership (that includes Councils, Boards of Supervisors, etc.) wants to improve and is committed to putting forth the resources and energy to take the journey and reap the rewards.
I’m happy to share more about the Organizational Excellence framework. Please let me know if you or anyone you know needs, wants, or is curious about this journey.