Hot Dish: ELGL Travels to Minnesota (Updated: 5/5)

Posted on May 5, 2016

By Kirsten Wyatt, Executive Director & Co-Founder, ELGL

May 5, 2016: Here’s a copy of today’s presentation. #MCMA16 was awesome – such a great group of people very motivated by public service. Except… for one guy.

He took serious issue with the #13Percent concept, and the idea that women and people of color were underrepresented in local government.  After the presentation, he approached me and wanted to know why I felt it necessary to pick on him.  He wanted me to acknowledge his challenges and setbacks that made success difficult. He felt like we were (and this is truly a quote): “discriminating against white men.”

But other than that challenge, the presentation was fun and there were amazing examples shared by audience members about the ways they engage a changing workforce.

May 5, 2016: I’d like to say that I didn’t get a chance to update this blog yesterday because I was so busy eating hot dish and drinking Caribou. But the truth is that the wifi on Delta failed me, and then I was having so much fun driving to Nisswa, MN that I didn’t get a chance to update. And then we arrived at the Grand View Lodge, and the conference began with a tasty dinner and an opening session featuring Sen. David Landis. So it a busy day, but not without a few observations:

  • biggieMinnesota’s weather is sunny and clear in May (I have learned this is an anomaly)
  • MCMA membership is much younger and diverse than I anticipated
  • Everyone here knows each other, greets each other kindly, and there’s a true cameraderie
  • Former Junction City, Oregon city manager Kevin Watson is the #MCMA16 conference planning co-chair
  • This is the only local government conference I’ve ever attended that has Biggie Smalls on afterparty playlists

Rebecca and I are excited for our presentation later this morning (at 10:30 CDT). We’ll be live on @ELGL50 Periscope and we’re asking the audience to live tweet using #MCMA16. Please tune in and share your questions and observations.

Later today, I’ll share the presentation, videos as well as a cool new blog feature we’ll be launching to supplement the learning from today’s session.

Also, don’t forget that we’re on Snapchat, and we’d love to have you follow along. We’re not doing face swap pics (yet) but we’re trying to capture the essence of #MCMA16 so you can participate too.



May 3, 2016: Today, I’m finalizing presentation materials, pulling together ELGL swag, and working on some surprises that Rebecca Olson and I will unveil after our presentation on Thursday. To preview our presentation, I wanted to share a few of coaching and leadership metaphors that we’ll be talking about at the Minnesota City/County Manager’s Association conference on May 5 in Nisswa, Minnesota.

Rebecca got things rolling by asking this question on Twitter:

Need help on this Q for a presentation: besides the 3-pointer, what has changed the game of basketball the most in last 20 years?

As I noted yesterday, we’re shamelessly using basketball analogies to talk about workforce development. Rebecca’s Twitter question got the following responses:

  • Three pointers
  • Deeper benches
  • Decline of offensive rebounding
  • Player athleticism
  • The “run & gun” style of play
  • Introduction of the shot clock
  • WNBA
  • Evolution of coaching styles

We’re matching up these basketball changes with real, practical things that local governments need to be aware of and prepared for as our workplaces evolve.

For all of you basketball fans out there – what’s missing from this list of changes to the game of basketball over the last 20 years?

And for extra credit – how do you predict we’re going to match up these basketball concepts with local government human resources concepts to make for a compelling presentation?

Share your ideas with us using #MCMA16. Rebecca and I will share the full presentation online on Thursday afternoon.


2683May 2, 2016: It’s an exciting week – ELGL makes its first visit to the Minnesota City/County Manager’s Association conference May 4-6 in Nisswa, Minnesota! I’m a huge fan of hot dish and Caribou coffee, and so a solid Minnesota experience has always been on my to-do list. The chance to team up with my good friend and ELGL leader Rebecca Olson to talk about Manager as Coach: Engaging Employees to Develop Government Leaders during the conference is an added bonus for this trip.

poster_dunkRebecca and I are spending the majority of our presentation talking about basketball, and then drawing a comparison back to building strong local government teams. I’ll be honest with you: this approach is a shameless ploy to use sports to get people who normally don’t like to talk about organizational development to pay attention. Yes, we’ll use Steph Curry GIFs and we may even drop in a few videos of the best slam dunks of all time. But we’re also going to jump into the deep end of succession planning, recruitment, and workplace culture.

I’m also really excited to participate in a creative conference concept where MCMA has planned facilitated round tables on a variety of topics. I’ll be talking about “Communication Pivoting,” which is just a catchy way to talk about how local government organizations can most effectively build out a multi-dimensional communications plan that takes advantage of traditional and online communications tools to reach citizens of all ages.  I also really want to show my favorite video that uses the word “pivot,” but I don’t think there will be time, so I’m leaving it here for your enjoyment.

I’ll continue to update this blog as I prepare for my trip and during my time in Minnesota. We’ll also be using the ELGL twitter account, the hashtag #MCMA16, and the ELGL Snapchat account (username is ELGL50) to document this interesting trip.

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