It’s been almost a month since the Emerging Local Government Leaders Network (ELGL) attended the first annual SGR Conference on Organizational Development. Since then, ELGL has provided a recap of our conference experience, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the conference video. But I also wanted to take a minute to reflect on the lessons learned, now that the conference is in my rearview and I am back in my job as the Assistant City Manager for West Linn, Oregon. There are three main takeaways from the conference that are worth repeating here:
CREATE A LEARNING ORGANIZATION
On day two of the conference, SGR CEO Ron Holifield spoke convincingly of the value of “creating a learning organization.” Holifield shared that continual learning, and sharing what you’ve learned with your leadership team can be a powerful way to create a culture of continual improvement, where everyone is striving to learn more and contribute more to the conversation.
In West Linn, we put this idea into action, and had both our Youth Leadership Academy and Adult Leadership Academy participate in a book club discussion. Then, last week, the participants posted their responses to their selected books (“Who Moved My Cheese” for the kids; and “Start With Why” for the adults) on our Leadership Academy Blog. Check it out online here.
THE POWER OF CONVERSATIONS
Also on day two, ELGL had the chance to interview Grapevine City Manager Bruno Rumbelow about his research and perspectives on the local government management guideposts, originally developed by L.P. Cookingham in 1956. The format of the interview was casual and conversational.
Admittedly, ELGL was a bit nervous to interview someone with Bruno’s career arc and stature in the local government community. But after just a few minutes, we realized that ELGL and Bruno shared the same passion for and interest in local government management. The power of a conversation helped us better understand those important guideposts, which will now result in a new ELGL original content column titled “Cookingham Connection,” where we will showcase a Cookingham guidepost, and a “real-world” local government conversation about how that guidepost is still relevant today.
EVERYTHING’S BETTER WITH BOWLING
The SGR conference social event at Main Event was a reminder that sometimes, the best work can be done – when we’re having fun. Tim Clark is an MPA student at UNT. Previously, we had only communicated with Tim over email and social media. But the chance to really hang out with him – to learn more about him – gave ELGL the confidence to make Tim our primary point person for ELGL Southwest. We are placing a lot of confidence in Tim’s communications and organization skills (which is much more than we can say about his bowling skills).
What were the takeaways from the SGR conference that have remained with you? Special thanks to Ron Holifield and his exceptional team for including ELGL in the conference experience.