How Do I Set up a Webinar? Productivity Tools to Help

muniSERV’s professional members know that as part of their membership, we advertise their webinars directly to our municipal members. We know it’s hard to get past municipal gate-keepers so what better way is there to increase your visibility and credibility with municipal decision-makers, than with a webinar?

 

And our municipal members love webinars – particularly the free Lunch & Learn type webinars.  We know this because our open and click-through rates for our newsletters are consistently higher than the industry average rates.   

 

To be successful though your webinar must be educational and address a topic of interest to municipalities.  Municipalities won’t register for your webinar if they think it’s just about “selling” your product or service.  

 

Here’s What Our Members Say

 

“At Emergenetics we are always looking for strong, credible partners as we build our international brand in Canada and I have loved partnering with muniSERV and muniJOBS.  

I am continuously impressed by the outreach opportunities we receive with our muniSERV membership, the response we receive to our webinars and the quality of the audience it attracts.”

Gail Green, President – Emergenetics Ontario  April 2019

 

Ideas for Webinars

 

If you sell risk management software, provide some educational – or even scary statistics and inform municipalities on ways to mitigate online losses.

 

If you sell HR services, speak to the importance of performance reviews and what led you to develop your solution.  You can even provide a sneak peek of your solution with a quick demo – but again, it must be delivered as a solution to the problem you are educating them on and not just a sales pitch for your services.

 

Here’s where I feel a bit hypocritical though. I know the value and the power of providing webinars (that’s why we encourage our members to do so), but I confess, that while I have co-sponsored some webinars, I have never actually set one up myself.  (because shamelessly – I don’t know how to do it!)

 

So, in order for me to help you I had to help myself by learning how to conduct a webinar.  Here are some tricks and tools I learned along the way.

 

Webinar Tools

Your webinar can be as basic as creating PowerPoint slides and delivering a webinar by using remote conferencing services that use cloud computing, such as Zoom or JoinMe.  

 

I use Zoom to share my screen and provide online demos of muniJOBS.  While I pay the annual fee for Zoom, you can use many of their features for free. However, their specific webinar service comes at an additional cost.

 

If you want folks to register for your webinar (and you will so you can gather leads), you will need a way to handle the registrations even if registration is free.  There are many registration tools available, but one I’m familiar with is Eventbrite.

 

To create and deliver webinars you may want to consider using specific webinar software.  Here’s an article by Joe Warnimont for codeinwp, that summarizes and compares the Best Webinar software of 2019.  

 

Once you’re ready to start creating your webinar content, these Six Tips for Success are a great guideline to follow.  Don’t forget to engage your audience with a poll, some direct questions or an icebreaker to make it interactive and fun.  There’s nothing worse than listening to a “talking head”, with no opportunity to provide input or ask questions!

 

Also, be sure you turn off any chat windows and on-screen notifications that could (and will) pop up while sharing your screen.

 

And finally, be prepared with extra batteries for your wireless mouse and a fully charged headset – because we’re all well aware of Murphy’s Law!

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The Biggest Mistake I See New Managers Make

When I became a manager, I made the same mistake myself. It’s the most common mistake that I see many first-time managers make. It’s a mistake that causes so much anxiety and stress in their lives, and it can be avoided. It’s a mistake that’s easy to make, but not so easy to fix.

I call it “The Expert Syndrome”. Let me explain…

In my case, my expertise got me noticed and got me promoted to a management position. I was on cloud nine. I was feeling euphoric. That’s when it hit me. My staff were not as “expert” as me. As a result, I unwittingly communicated to them that I was smarter, more experienced and certainly more effective at their work than they were.

This attitude of mine caused a very interesting dynamic to occur. They would bring me their work, and their problems to solve. I later discovered there was a name for this…upwards delegation! I found my in-tray and inbox overflowing with work that was certainly not managerial. The biggest issue I faced was that I loved the challenge, I loved being the expert!

I had to find a way to let go of the need to solve all their problems. That’s when my mentor showed up. He was an experienced manager, and quite successful too. He asked me to describe my role as a manager. As I reached for the job description that HR had given me, he stopped me in my tracks. “You don’t need that” he proclaimed. “Just tell me in your own words what your role as a manager is, and make it brief!”

I was stuck. You see, I thought that the role of a manager was complex and multi-layered. Too difficult to explain in just a few words. He left me to ponder on it for a few days. When we met again, I was still struggling to come up with a clear definition of the role of a manager. My mentor was not about to let me off the hook. He knew I was struggling, but he felt the struggle was natural and would pay off in the end. He left behind a little booklet titled “Servant Leadership” and suggested I read it.

That little booklet set me off on a journey that continues to this day. At times, it’s been a somewhat crazy yet exhilarating journey. I’ve now reached a point on that journey where I can explain the role of a manager in a few words, here they are:

Your Role As A Manager Is To Help Other People Succeed

Now I know, with all the articles, books, courses, online content on management and leadership out there, that this definition may seem to be overly simplistic to many of you reading this. I understand. It’s my definition, unique to me. It works extremely well for me. It may or may not work for you. I get that.

I learned along the way that all the management and leadership competencies (and there are many!) I needed to master could be summed up in what I call The Management Trilogy:

  • Daily Management – Leading with Values
  • Crisis Management – Leading with Valor
  • Strategic Management – Leading with Vision

You need to help others succeed in these three areas. When they succeed, you succeed.

To learn more about The Management Trilogy, subscribe to our free four-part online course at Management4m.com

 

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Leadership Skills: You Can’t Become a Leader By Attending Courses on Leadership

 

Every successful leader I know learned to be a leader, not by attending classes on leadership, but by “being” a leader. When I look back on the successful leaders I personally know, and examine those larger than life leaders in history and business, a number of striking similarities emerge:

  1. They were hell-bent on achieving an ambitious goal. This was their primary motivation.
  2. They learned primarily, not from leadership models developed by leadership “experts”, but from real-life role models whom they admired.
  3. They sought out trusted mentors who were not afraid to ask them the tough questions when they hit the inevitable roadblocks on the way to achieving their ambitious goal.
  4. They mastered the relational, networking and communication skills needed to attract and retain the resources and talent that would help them achieve their ambitious goal.

I call the above the 4Ms:

  • Motivators
  • Models
  • Mentors
  • Mastery

I know many people who are leadership development professionals. I have the utmost respect for them. Yet every one of them I know will attest to the fact that despite billions of dollars spent annually on leadership development, effective leaders are still in very short supply. And the same leadership development professionals will tell you that the demand for inspiring, transformational leaders in their organizations is huge. I believe that people in organizations are disengaged for this reason alone.

Why is this? My own take on this is that leadership is a decision, not a position. By that I mean, if you really want to be a leader you need to make a decision to go after an ambitious goal. Too many people in leadership positions, especially senior ones, avoid this because their career and pay-check are guaranteed to them regardless of what they achieve. If a CEO decides to play it safe, then that decision has a trickle-down effect in their organization where everyone in a leadership position plays it safe. I’m not advocating reckless goal setting, but I am suggesting setting the bar high to begin with.

You start your journey to becoming a great leader by getting motivated to achieve an AMBITIOUS goal, not by attending more leadership development courses. Leadership skill-building and courses are important only after you make the decision to lead by setting an AMBITIOUS goal. If you are having trouble setting a truly ambitious or big goal, here are some real-world examples (some are missions/visions, some are strategic goals):

  • President John F. Kennedy: This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.
  • Susan G. Komen® for the Cure: A world without breast cancer.
  • Novo Nordisk: To prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes.
  • FedEx: The World on Time.
  • Disney: We Make People Happy
  • Mattel: To be the premier toy brands — today and tomorrow.
  • Amazon: To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  • SpaceX: Enable human exploration and settlement of Mars.
  • AIESEC: Engage and develop every young person in the world.
  • Google: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home.
  • Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.
  • SolarAid: Eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020 through the creation of a sustainable market for solar lights.
  • Zappos: To provide the best customer service possible.

Leadership is a decision, not a position or title. So you first have to make a decision to lead others towards a worthwhile goal.  After that, by all means, attend courses on leadership that will help you develop the skills and insights necessary to lead effectively.

 

About the Author

Brian Ward is co-founder and CEO of Affinity Consulting and Training. Based in Edmonton, Alberta he provides leadership and management development to organizations in the private and public sectors throughout Canada.

Receive a free downloadable copy of his book Lead People…Manage Things: Master The Five Key Facets of High-Performance Leadership when you subscribe to his weekly newsletter Monday Morning Mentor.

 

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The Five Key Facets of High Performance Leadership

What makes a good or even a great leader?
Many people in leadership positions struggle with understanding what makes a good or even great leader. While billions of dollars are spent annually on leadership development, quality leadership is still in short supply.

Organizations have responded to the demand for effective leadership with a steady stream of education and training resources, which seem to be plentiful, (for example, at the time of writing, Amazon.com had over 9,000 references on leadership), yet most attempts at building high-performance leadership are either far too complex or too simplistic to be of any practical use to leaders who need to make things happen. So what does work?

While successful organizations focus on three imperatives: aligning strategy & people; developing world-class leaders; and building world-class teams, when we look at what successful leaders personally do to succeed, we find that they concentrate on building their capacity around what we call five key facets of leadership:

Focus – Authenticity – Courage – Empathy – Timing

Focus

Effective leaders stay focused on the outcomes they wish to create and don’t get too married to the methods used to achieve them. They provide this ‘outcomes focus’ for their organization by emphasizing the mission, vision, values and strategic goals of their organization and at the same time building the capacity of their organizations to achieve them.

This capacity-building emphasizes the need to be flexible, creative and innovative and avoid becoming fossilized through the adoption of bureaucratic structures, policies, and processes. It also means letting go of lines of business, products, and programs that don’t support the focus.

Authenticity

Leaders who are authentic attract followers, even leaders who are viewed as being highly driven and often difficult to work for. Simply put, they are viewed as always being themselves.and therefore followers know what to expect from them and can rely on them, come thick or thin.

Authenticity provides the leader with the currency to obtain ‘buy-in’ from key stakeholders, because it builds and maintains trust. Authenticity is the bedrock upon which the other facets are built.

Courage

The challenges facing leaders today are immense and require great courage to overcome. Leaders are constantly being challenged by others, be it their own team, customers, the public or stakeholders. Standing firm in the face of criticism, yet having the courage to admit when they are wrong, are hallmarks of courageous leaders.

Also, shifting an organization from being introspective to becoming customer-focused requires courage when people pay lip service to the new direction…it means calling people on their bluff.

Empathy

Effective leaders know how to listen empathetically. thus legitimizing others’ input. By doing so, they promote consensus building and build strong teams. They coach others to do the same, and so create a culture of inclusiveness. They tend to be great listeners who capitalize on the ideas of others and provide recognition for these ideas, yet they don’t get bogged down in overly complicated dialogue.

While they create learning organizations that place a high value on dialogue and continuous feedback, they know when to take action, when to ‘fish or cut bait’, which brings us on to the fifth facet…

Timing

The one facet that can make or break a leader is in knowing when to make critical decisions and when not to. All of the other facets must be viewed as subservient to getting the timing of critical decisions and actions right. There is a need to be focused, authentic, courageous and empathetic, but get the timing wrong on critical decisions and everything else stands to be nullified.

Great leaders move with appropriate speed. They don’t believe that everything must be done immediately…they know how to prioritize, and how to get their team to prioritize. As well, they engage in timely follow-through to ensure actions that are committed to happen in a well-coordinated and timely way.

Is that all it takes to be a great leader? These facets of high-performance leadership are not exhaustive. Just as one would look at the facets of a diamond, upon closer observation other facets become observable.

Any person can aspire to be a great leader by starting with these facets. If you are in a leadership role, regardless of your position in your organization, start by asking yourself the following key questions:

Key Questions
1. How focused am I? How much of my time do I spend communicating and inspiring people about our mission, vision and strategic goals? How much focus do I create in my organization? How married am I/my organization to methods that have outlived their usefulness?

2. Am I viewed as authentic? Do people see and hear the real me? Do I wear a mask at work, and remove it when I leave each evening?

3. How courageous am I when my values, vision, and goals are challenged? Do I stand firm and only change my position when I know that I am wrong?

4. How empathetic am I? Too much/too little? Do I create enough opportunities for open and candid dialogue? Do I ever find myself getting bogged down in consensus building, or leading my team to false consensus? Is there a feeling of inclusiveness and engagement amongst the members of my organization, and with other stakeholders, including customers?

5. Do I make and execute decisions in a timely fashion? Do I know when to ‘fish or cut bait?’ – do I demand well-coordinated and timely execution of strategy from others?

What can you do to create a high-performance leadership culture? Asking these questions in a candid way will open up many possibilities for you, your organization or your clients…if you have the courage to do it. Building and sustaining a high-performance leadership culture takes time, patience and a clear focus on the vital few characteristics that leaders can develop naturally and authentically.

Listening to what people expect from you as a leader, and then responding empathically, in a timely fashion, will move you dramatically towards mastering these five key facets of high-performance leadership.

Above all, you need to TAKE ACTION.

 

About the Author

Brian Ward is co-founder and CEO of Affinity Consulting and Training. Based in Edmonton, Alberta he provides leadership and management development to organizations in the private and public sectors throughout Canada.

Receive a free downloadable copy of his book Lead People…Manage Things: Master The Five Key Facets of High-Performance Leadership when you subscribe to his weekly newsletter Monday Morning Mentor.

 

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The Benefits of Digital Training

The manner in which technology has become a part of our daily lives has grown exponentially with each passing day. Working with, and taking advantage of technology has made us capable of reaching new heights of communication and has improved our ease of access to information. Finding new careers has never been easier, and neither has completing the training to go with them. When you’re able to offer online, digital training, the benefits are plentiful for not just the company, but the employees as well. Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of offering digital training.

 

Flexibility

With the on-demand nature of digital training, employees are able to complete their courses on their own time. This can make everyone breathe a little easier. Employers can easily set out learning plans for employees and assign the course work with a deadline for completion, and staff are able to pick out the best time in their day to work on it. The whole training process can successfully accommodate everyone’s schedules, as the employer doesn’t have to dedicate extra resources to setting up a training day, hiring trainers and/or arranging to send employees to a training event on a specific day, and the employees can all work at their own pace.

Affordability

On-site training can be expensive. Having to pay the dedicated trainers to attend the workplace, to train the trainees can cause labour costs to soar quicker than you realize. Not to mention room rentals, catering costs for lunches and snacks, etc. These costs are even much greater if employees need to travel to off-site training courses.  It just makes sense not to disrupt the daily operational activities at work and instead assign the training to a laptop, computer or phone.

 

Versatility

Digital training can encapsulate a whole variety of methods to keep it interesting, engaging, and, most importantly, retentive. Using more than just pages upon pages of text is crucial. Switching things up with videos, graphics and quizzes and even incorporating gamification keeps the pace moving while shaking things up for the trainee so they don’t get bored.  It’s been proven that the more interactive digital training is, the more the learner will retain the information presented.

 

Accessibility 

 

With access to phones, laptops, computers and tablets, training can be done on nearly any type of current device. The streamlined, ease of access to online training ensures that everyone is capable of getting on board. Never requiring more than an internet connection and an internet browser like Edge, Firefox, Opera or Chrome, logging in to an online training profile to complete the training on any and all devices, has never been easier.

 

Keeping municipal operations running smoothly while educating your employees can be stressful. However, be sure you’re setting aside dedicated time for employees during the day to work on their digital courses because squeezing courses in between other daily activities are just too disruptive and employees will view it as another task that has been added to them. You want to be sure they’re given the time to enjoy the courses and receiving the soft skills training they need to be ready for the job at hand.  Taking the leap and investing in a digital training platform can ensure you are getting the best value for your training budget and that you have complete control over the learning and development plans for each individual in your organization. Consistency is key!

 

Course Quality Matters

 

Unfortunately, some digital courses can aptly be described as purely for entertainment value.  If you’re simply wanting to check off a box that says an employee received training to comply with organizational policy, then a 20-minute entertainment-style digital course might fit the bill for you. That doesn’t mean that all 20-minute courses don’t deliver value – just be careful that you are getting value. 

 

However, quality, certified digital courses will ensure your employees not only have taken the course but that they have comprehended and retained what they’ve learned because they will have been tested and graded. It seems to be a waste of time and money, and there’s no real value to the individual or the organization if they didn’t understand or retain important information that can help them to do their job better and better. 

muniSERV is a leader in quality, certified digital training and learning development solutions for municipalities.  Our new PERFORM® leadership soft skills training is used by governments, educational institutions, private enterprises and organizations worldwide to deliver tangible, real-life competency-based skills.  

 

Through the use of free learning assessments to get learners started, PERFORM® is able to identify soft skills gaps and recommend a training solution targeted to key leadership development areas for your team.  Ask us for the links to these free assessments.

Finding the right training organization to help you achieve your learning and development goals takes time. It’s more than just hiring someone who says they have the materials that meet your needs.  Do your homework and go with proven, reputable training organizations and you’ll experience all the benefits of digital learning!

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Employee Retention in the Age of Feedback

When an organization loses a key employee there is often a palpable sense of betrayal. How could she leave after everything the organization had done for her? Where’s the loyalty?

Employee retention is an ever-present concern for most organizations. The tangible costs (i.e. recruiter fees, delays/missed opportunities, higher salaries and benefits) as well as intangible risks (will the new employee work well with existing employeeshow can you be certain the new hire has the skill-sets delineated within her resume) associated with replacing employees have increased exponentially over the years.

What actions can organizations take to keep employees from searching and eventually taking new jobs?  After all, if another organization is willing to pay more, budget constraints often prohibit negotiating with the departing employee. Even if this constraint does not exist, rewarding the threat of leaving with a higher rate of pay sends a horrible message to other, loyal employees, right? Pointing higher pay at other organizations, however, is no longer a viable explanation for the vast majority of people who leave their current employer for a different position. More and more, employees are leaving for non-financial reasons. Gallup studies indicate that 78% of people who leave their job for a new position outside of an organization, do not leave for an increase in salary[i].

Management should place their focus on retention on those 78% of the workforce that leave for greener pastures based on non-financial reasons. There are various reasons why these employees decide to leave; those reasons are generally tied to dissatisfaction with the work environment, lack of appreciation from management for their career goals, and little, if any, exchange of actionable feedback. Simply put, employees want to be appreciated, told how they are performing and what sort of impact they are having on the organization. Typically, any feedback given to an employee is offered during a brief meeting during the employee’s annual evaluation/appraisal/assessment/review (collectively referred to herein as the “annual review”). Twenty-thirty minutes of feedback for an entire year of work. That is simply nonsensical.

Everywhere you turn, there’s another publication confirming the level of disdain both management and employees have for the annual review. To name a few, Wall Street JournalNew York TimesWashington Post, and Forbes have all published articles condemning this traditional approach and begging for a new way of doing things. Harvard Business Review reported that 58% of companies believe their performance evaluation mechanism simply does not work[ii].

By giving your employees feedback, you will help them develop themselves and pursue their career goals. In return, you will have happy, engaged, efficient and even more loyal employees. The encapsulated, once-every-12-months review is a thing of the past. Offer your employees an outlet to exchange on-going, open and honest perceptions and information. Help them become the success stories they really want to be. When employees receive open and honest feedback, they are empowered to take the steps to showcase and share their strengths; and develop solutions to address their weaknesses. The result will be higher rates of retention and avoidance of the on-going headache of replacing key employees for reasons that could (and should) have been avoided altogether. And, oh yeah, the organization will likely perform better as a whole.

Tags: Employee RetentionLeadership and PlanningBusiness ChangeIncorporating Feedback,dataEmployee Engagement IdeasCorporate Culture

Guest Blogger: Noah L. Pusey

Noah L. Pusey is the President and CEO of Ripple Analytics Inc., an anonymous team member assessment technology firm. For over 20 years, Noah has participated in building teams and developing talent at various companies. Creating strong and dynamic culture within any organization is critical. That’s why Noah co-founded Ripple, a company bent on disrupting the way organizations approach employee assessment, development, and appreciation. Email him at: [email protected]; visit https://www.ripplecrew.com/
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The Cumulative Impact of a Departing Employee

When an organization loses a key employee, the bleeding typically does not stop there. What about the teammates that the departing employee leaves behind? How are they impacted?

Simply put, when an employee leaves an organization, you could lose a lot more than the departing employee.

Employee retention is one of the biggest issues currently facing HR. However, when an employee leaves (and some will inevitably leave), there is an impact that is often lost on HR, management and the owners/executives within the organization. The impact is three (3) fold:

Read the whole article

By Noah L. Pusey 

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What is the difference between LEADERSHIP and MANAGEMENT?

In short: leaders create risk, and managers reduce it.

LEADERSHIP ANTICIPATES THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE, AND MANAGEMENT ANTICIPATES THE WORST. While leadership invites others to follow, management ensures the followers are following.

Leadership is the act of inviting others to a new and better future.  A leader inspires and creates change by casting a vision of a destination that is different, better, and achievable.

Management is the ensuring things happen by creating, communicating, and monitoring expectations.  It tracks individual people to see that they perform as expected, as opposed to inspiring a number of them. 

Leadership skills can be summarized as those skills relevant to interacting with large groups of people, and to inspiring and creating vision. Conversely, management skills are those which are relevant to interacting with individual people, and to specifying and monitoring performance.

Many of the skills required to lead people are also the ones used to manage people. However, the expression of these skills can be significantly different.  For instance, a leader needs to effectively communicate to be compelling and inspirational, and a manager needs to effectively communicate to be precise and personal.

Because of the skillset overlaps between management and leadership, it is quite possible that a single person assumes either of these roles.

 

Want to learn more about leadership?  Check out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEADERSHIP.

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5 Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

Dealing with a bad boss

Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used!

If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might be right. A British study found that stress induced by a bad boss lowers immune response, and participants were more susceptible to a cold virus.

As with much in life, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about it. A bad boss might victimize you, but you choose whether to be a victim. Strong leaders don’t wait, they initiate. If you have a bad boss, you can decide that he or she’s not unbearable and live with your situation, fire your boss by leaving, or practice upward leadership with some boss management.

Boss management or leading upward is one of the most popular topics on our website. Recently The Globe & Mail published my column on Five Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss in their Leadership Labs section. I condensed years of writing and coaching on this topic into five steps:

  1. Strengthen your credibility and relationship
  2. Check your timing and approach
  3. Don’t wait, initiate
  4. Speak up
  5. Fire a bully boss

Click here to read the column for a brief description of each step.

A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama why he didn’t hate the Chinese Communists. Now they have some bad bosses! The Dalai Lama replied, “They have taken over Tibet, destroyed our temples, burned our sacred texts, ruined our communities, and taken away our freedom. They have taken so much. Why should I let them also take my peace of mind?”

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Applying Good to Great in the municipal sector

Full confession – I am a huge fan of the now old book (published in 2001), Good to Great by Jim Collins. The book is a study on how companies distinguished themselves as being great, when they started out as good. It included examining the 40-year performance of 1,435 good companies to find only 11 that became what Jim Collins would define as “great.”

In this day and age of big data, the results are even more relevant and compelling than they were then, and the increasing expectations of municipalities to re-invent the way they do business begs a long look at this book.

Now you’re probably saying, “That book talks about private companies and the public environment is much different.”

In many ways, I agree with this sentiment. But, in the desire to continuously improve and perform better, the concepts translate very nicely – a fact Collins addressed in 2005 in a follow-up book, Good to Great and the Social Sectors.

Upon reading both of these books, I was motivated to share my thoughts on how one might apply the learnings to the municipal sector.

Learn about the Six Elements to Achieving Greatness by reading the full article.

Kelly Rudyk was previously the Director – Corporate Planning for Strathcona County. His current work with It’s Logical Strategic Planning Services includes corporate strategic planning, business planning, and budgeting, and he is driven by continuous improvement.

He can be reached at [email protected] or 780-893-5635.

 

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