This module looks in more detail at some of the trends
that are out there and identifies what inferences can be drawn
from those. Participative with the Governing Body.
What are the top ten items you’d like as an individual to see
in your obituary? What are the important things to you? Perfect
attendance at Rotary for 30 years. Musician, played the fiddle. Committed
Bachelor, just like to fiddle around.
This gets them thinking of what they really value, on a more
If they are comfortable sharing the information,
that can build a bridge between them, letting them each know
what’s really important
to each other. If they’re not comfortable with that sharing,
then it’s still useful in making them think.
About a fifteen minute paper and pencil exercise.
Lesson from the Constitution
The founders put off the slavery question until 1808. 20 years. The
length of a lifetime at that time. The most intractable problem
of the time was postponed, so the country could move ahead on
the biggest change possible—uniting the country. Had they fought
the battle out at the time of the writing, the Constitution could
not have passed.
A Year to Live
Basic Services are those that
are in the judgment of the Governing Body the most essential
to provide for the health,
safety, and general welfare of the City. Usually those are seen
as Police, Fire, Streets, Water, Sewage Treatment. But more
and more this list is being expanded.
Maintenance of Effort are those
services that the City provides to protect its investment in
to keep its commitments, and to provide support to other
service, Financial services, street maintenance, building
maintenance are some of those that would be in this category.
Quality of Life are those amenities
that add to the life style of our people and the quality of
our communities. Usually
people think of parks, trails, pools, art as items for this category. Many
of the outside agencies that seek funds fall into these categories
Discussion usually follows
on whether a pool, say, is a basic service to help youth stay
out of trouble,
so could be
a police support program, the value of arts, and so on. It
usually allows the governing body to engage each other in
way about the underlying philosophy behind each service the
This allows the Governing Body to look at services and develop
a feeling for priorities.
This is about a one to two
hour exercise working from a list of all current services that
the City Manager
prepare. The Governing Body will discuss each service and decide
which category it is. From there, the background has been
laid on where the City is as the Governing Body sees it and
look at the future.
This is a module about how to be a successful governing body
of any entity, private, public, or third sector. Based loosely
on John Carver’s book, Boards that Make a Difference,
it emphasizes how a Commission can get the most out of its staff,
how to strengthen the Commission and its members, and how to
strengthen the organization over all.
The key point is that it is not difficult to be a successful
Governing Body, but it takes a mindset that is
different from most other endeavors the members have
for the Commission is a lonely, stick-your-neck-out effort. Being
successful is through hard work. Being successful on the
Commission is dependent on the ability to work with others,
and to let others do the work. That’s not the same skill
set. So it’s counter-intuitive and needs discussion
on how to perform to be successful and make the others
One of the points is not to have too many goals. Six
to ten is a workable number for a year. Many groups try to have
75 goals but too much on the plate creates paralysis. The
way the Governing Body can move the city the fastest is to
the organization to accomplish the first five goals and then
come back for new priorities.
Another key point is to have Goals that are sufficiently
defined so that the Objectives necessary to accomplish
the Goals are measurable and measure what is important: outputs. If
they want to get to a goal of a particular service delivery
parameter—such as Stronger Public Safety, they need objectives
that reach that Goal—such as faster police response, say. They
need to phrase that in a way that emphasizes the output desired. My
favorite approach ties outputs into all the factors of Total
Quality Management: number of events, speed, customer satisfaction,
and cost. So it says it like this: “Police will respond
to 3,452 emergency calls for service within 4 minutes
on average with a satisfaction level of 80% of the callers
of the time at a cost of $37.52 per call.”
That is the ultimate output-based performance
measure and it allows the Commission the ability to monitor
speed of response,
citizen satisfaction, number of calls, cost per call, and
percentage of successful performance annually. Each year one or more
of those elements can be improved, providing Continuous Improvement
on the part of staff, and easy monitoring on the part of the
Formal Goal-setting begins with a three-minute
example of what leadership is, from Michael Hart’s book The 100. The
Most Influential People in History. Conclusion is that
successful leadership is a combination of Vision and Action.
First, the Governing Body is asked to visualize the community
in 20 years. Take 15 minutes and think about it and
then share what is developed with the group, another 5 minutes
At this point the Governing Body is ready to set the course
for the community for the next five years and then next year,
the first year of the five.
Doing it in that order keeps the Governing Body thinking strategically,
looking to the 5 Year Goals Plan. The period is beyond
anyone’s term in office and so will need to have the force
of public support to be implemented.
The 5 Year Goals are where the community wants
to be at that time. What the Governing Body wants to see happening
in the community, happening in the organization, and happening
The First Year Goals are Action Steps
that move the City toward the vision of the 5 Year Goals. If the agenda of
one member doesn’t fit in the five-year goals, it’s not likely
to be the focus of the First Year.
The end products you will have will be: