This post is from ELGL member Bert Lowry, self-described as “the world’s biggest #localgov fanboy.” When he’s not writing for ELGL, Bert helps tech companies that “get it” reach local governments that “need it.”
REMEMBER HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE?
As an ELGL member, it’s a safe bet you entered local government to make a difference. You spend your day helping residents and making your community a better place to live, work and play.
That’s the dream anyway.
Cue reality: an ever-growing workload that bounces between painstaking tedium and mind-boggling complexity. You ping-pong from one task to another and there’s never enough time to tackle the important stuff.
As you move up the ladder, things don’t get better. You spend your days attending meetings and helping coworkers, which leaves evenings and weekends for your real work. Sound familiar?
GIT ‘ER DONE
If you ever completed a project and thought, “if I could do it again, I’d be done in half the time and it would be 10 times better,” you were probably right. It’s called expertise, and it’s the key to high performance.
The reason Carol bangs out a forecast in two hours when it takes Jeff a week is Carol has done it dozens of times before. She knows what she needs and she knows what to do. She has a system.
But repetition isn’t enough. Organizations, like people, develop habits. They do things the way they’ve always done them, but not necessarily the best way. It takes an outside perspective with broad experience to see through those habits.
HERE’S SOME OUTSIDE EXPERTISE
The “small city” experts at Accela work with hundreds of cities (stick with me, I promise I’m not selling anything). They know the ins and outs of local government operations – everything from budget prep and council meetings to year–end processing – and have tools to automate those processes.
It turns out that they’re also really cool people who want to share their expertise, even if you’re not a customer. So they created a 6-pack of uber-handy checklists to walk you through six complex local government processes. Think of it as efficiency-in-a-box.