This article was written by Kristie Weaver, Parks Director, City of Hurst, Texas. Kristie wrote this article as part of the Crisis Management Cohort with Drucker Institute. Read all the articles from the cohort here. Connect with Kristie on Email or LinkedIn.
Hi! I’m Kristie Weaver, Parks Director for the City of Hurst, Texas. After 20 years in athletic/aquatic programming, I made the move to the maintenance side of the profession. These last four years have been filled with learning, new experiences, and now, COVID-19. For the most part, the crises I’ve faced are all created internally by a lack of planning and follow through at a higher level. Whatever strategic planning is taking place on 3rd floor, doesn’t always make its way down to the people implementing said plan.
When COVID-19 hit, I looked at our operation and my first thought was how to protect it. I knew maintenance would be deemed essential, but what happens if a staff member tests positive, or worse, contracted symptoms. I quickly realized that no one was going to provide guidance, so I made the decision to split the staff into two shifts, covering all 7 days. This reduced overtime, allowed for a longer day to complete projects, and we took over some mowing from our contractor. “Keep your head down and stay busy!” Thankfully, we didn’t have to maintain this too long, as we slowly merged staff back into a Monday-Friday schedule.
Things I’ve learned in the Crisis Management Cohort: 1) Change your reaction to a “perceived crisis.” As public servants, we will always have fires to put out. How you react to those fires is what keeps them from spreading. With the example above, I did panic as there was no guidance or direction given from 3rd floor. I knew it was my decision and I would live with it. 2) Really look at the intention behind your actions/decisions – are they focused on the future or trying to make up for the past? I can say my focus was solely on the future – what do we do now that ensures we will still be here on the other side of this. But, it was a reactionary decision and I should have brought staff further into the conversation.
What I will carry forward is a focus on intention. I’m a fixer – let me help you, sure I have time, what deadline?! Really listening, taking a deep breath, and waiting for more information, and then taking time before deciding. And knowing it’s okay to say no