09.21.12 Knope of the Week – Steve Wheeler, Laurel Butman, Nancy Newton

Posted on September 21, 2012

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The votes are in and the results have been tabulated: after a week of nominations and voting by our community, ELGL is thrilled to announce the winner of the Knope of the Week! As a reminder, The Knope of the Week honors individuals or groups who have done the most in the past week to advance the mission of ELGL.

Without further ado, the winner of the 41th Knope of the Week is . . . . 

Clackamas County Administrators

Steve Wheeler, County Administrator

Laurel Butman, Deputy County Administrator

Nancy Newton, Deputy County Administrator

It’s no surprise that Laurel Butman, Nancy Newton, and Steve Wheeler are this week’s recipients (see Golf Clap for Clackamas County Administrators.) If we knew every ELGL forum at a county would be this good we would begin a tour of every county in the state.

So what made it Knope-worthy?

Laurel, Nancy, and Steve focused their remarks on practical examples from their careers and use them to improve our careers. For example, if each of us wanted to become mini-Clackamas County administrators, here’s how we could do it:

Remain optimist and positive especially in difficult times (otherwise known as ‘turning your frown upside down’). A tip for doing this is building an inner circle at work for you to “vent” without negative repercussions.

Limit the number of people you copy (cc) on an email. Steve made the valid point that we often unnecessarily cc others on an email just to prove our value. (Although ELGL must admit we are tempted to cc Steve on every email we send from now until ‘death do us apart.’)

Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders. The public sector has the distinct advantage of being able to share information without being accused on insider trading.

Budget skills. If you lack public sector budgeting skills, find a way to get them whether it is volunteering within your organization or with another organizations that you are involved with.

Improve your writing skills. While you may be good at texting and tweeting that doesn’t translate into writing an effective policy memo for an elected official. A way to improve those writing skills is by reading books (minus 50 Shades of Gray and Ten Silly Monkeys).

Learn from meetings. We’ve all suffered through long, drawn out meetings that seemingly have little practical application. Next time you are in one of these meetings pay more attention, try to extract at least a couple of takeaways. It is likely that these takeaways, while they may not pay off immediately, will benefit you down the road. Also, it will keep you from falling asleep and snoring during the meeting.

Maintain and build your credibility. Once you lose your credibility, you lose trust from others which will negatively impact your career. Along these lines, it is important to remember that local government professionals talk with one another and your lack of credibility can quickly spread through these networks.

Follow Through.  Anyone can start a project but become the person who follows through and completes the project.

Develop a running list of good things – Think nothing can go right? Wonder if you are making a difference? Tired of being yelled at by your significant other?  Maintain a running list of accomplishment by your organization. Share the list with others and see if they can add to it.

Our sincere thanks to Steve, Laurel, and Nancy for the professionalism and excellence they bring to local government.

Previous Knope of the Week Recipients


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