Recently I was invited to meet with an elected Board because, as one member said, they “needed a little team-building.”
After some preliminary discussions, I arrived at City Hall ready for the first session, which was scheduled for two hours. I expected this would be a multi-session team-building process.
My contact greeted me and said, in an apologetic tone, “We’ve had an emergency and you have 45 minutes.”
That’s how much time the Board had allotted for team-building.
The session was a flop for several reasons — the same reasons many team-building processes fail.
If you want stronger teams, if you want to disaster-proof your team-building process, here are three principles to embrace:
Local Governments & Energy Efficiency
How can you save money, invest more resources in your community, fight climate change, and offset rising energy prices?
Sounds like a trick question, but it’s not! Energy efficiency is the answer to achieving all those goals.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, government agencies spend more than $10 billion a year on energy to provide public services and meet constituent needs. While local governments struggle with tightening budgets, 30% of the energy used to run a typical building – including government buildings – is wasted by inefficiency.
A number of cities across the country, including St. Louis and Kansas City, have participated in the City Energy Project, taking advantage of EPA’s ENERGY STAR program to save energy, lower utility bills, free up additional funds for public services, and demonstrate their environmental leadership.
Five Key Issues That Can Make or Break Your Plans
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
For those of us in the change management business, 2017 provided us many opportunities and challenges. As we look forward into 2018, here are five important topics that need to be on your leadership planning “radar screen”.
- The importance of grassroots efforts
Grassroots organizing isn’t just for issues in the political sphere. While public organizations will always have an opportunity to flourish and grow from the efforts of engaged citizens, these same strategies can be leveraged to great effect in both the corporate and non-profit arenas.
- Generational inclusion
It’s an inevitable fact – as sure as the tides change, so does the generational makeup of any organization. As Baby Boomers continue to age out, retire, and slow down in order to enjoy their golden years, Gen X’ers and Millennials rise to take their place. Each generation has its own unique needs and desires, and this means that change management is all about being cognizant of these differences. Recruitment, retention, and interpersonal relationships all need to be adjusted and viewed through this generational lens.
Why Your Board, Team, or Business Needs a Vision Statement and Action Plan
Nothing is going to be handed to you — you have to make things happen.”
~Florence Griffith Joyner “Flo-Jo”
Have you ever felt that regardless of how hard you and your team work, you just go in circles? The problem may be that you haven’t decided where you want to go and have not created a roadmap showing how to get there. Whether it’s a board, team or business, organizations that thrive have a clear vision and a plan to achieve their goals.
Inspirational Quotes & Lessons from Legendary Leaders
Great leaders never stop growing, and what better way is there to learn than through the insight and advice of others?
Here are five of my favorite leadership quotes. These “bite-size nuggets of wisdom” stand on their own merit and don’t need much commentary from me.
LESSON #1: Planning is essential to achieving your goals
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else”
~ Yogi Berra
LESSON #2: Build a strong and loyal team; every leader needs one
“My model for business is The Beatles. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
~ Steve Jobs
LESSON #3: Focus relentlessly on achieving your goals
“If I stop (for) every barking dog, I’m not going to get to the places I need to go.”
~ Florence Griffith-Joyner
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers”
Staying informed, inspired, and up to date on best practices is essential for effective leadership. There are so many inspirational and educational leadership books out there but, if you’re like me, you have some books that you read over and over again.
Here are the top five most-read books in my leadership library:
“Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success” by Chris Matthews
Political commentator Chris Matthews does a great job of identifying the “tactics, tricks, and truths that help people get ahead” in politics and life. He draws on his years of interviewing the people who lead our country and shares their stories to teach us about leadership, teamwork, and the importance of understanding human nature. Truly an interesting, entertaining, and enlightening book…and definitely one of my very favorites.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams
Let me start out by saying that I’m a very big fan of local government.
Serving as an alderman and then as my community’s first woman mayor, I came to appreciate how local government touches our lives every single day. Local government is about our quality of life, our safety, and the education and future of our children. And, whether you’re a politician, government employee or grassroots organizer, local government is where you can actually get things done.
Although I valued my role as an elected official, I wasn’t a career politician. I juggled public service with running a multi-million dollar business in the commercial construction industry. My schedule was crazy as I tried to balance work, politics, and my personal life, but I loved every minute of it!
I’m grateful for my experience in both the government and corporate sectors because it made me a better leader in each of those worlds.
Here are the top five leadership lessons I learned from the intersection of business and politics…
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
John F. Kennedy
Change is inevitable and that’s especially true when it comes to local government. Public policy revisions are necessary for growth, staff members retire or leave for other opportunities, and elected officials rotate off the board and new members are sworn into office. Leading change is necessary for successful growth and progress.