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Recap: Strategic Government Resources Conference

Posted on February 6, 2020


Michael headshot

ELGL was proud to sponsor the 2020 Strategic Government Resources Conference in Hurst, Texas. Michael Montgomery shares his conference experience below. Michael currently serves as the Town Administrator for the Town of Bartonville, Texas. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and Masters of Public Administration from the University of North Texas.  In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, discovering new pizzerias, and making pizza at home.


Strategic Government Resources (SGR) recently held its annual Servant Leadership Conference in Hurst, Texas.  I left the conference feeling recharged and inspired to improve the community I serve. Over a day and a half, each presenter shared their story of how they are applying Servant Leadership principles into their organization.  Below is a summary of a few of the speakers.

As a first-time attendee, this was my first time being exposed to Servant Leadership.  The concept of Servant Leadership was introduced by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970. In the simplest terms, servant leadership is putting the needs of others in front of your own while empowering and uplifting those that we lead.  Greenleaf lays out twelve principles to help guide the Servant Leader. These principles include listening, empathy, and stewardship.

The City of Carrollton was facing a 20% vacancy rate in its Public Works Department.  In efforts to overcome this talent shortage, City Manager Erin Rinehart implemented an eight-week summer apprentice program.  Each apprentice was paired with a mentor to teach them the job, and more importantly, the culture of Carrollton. Of the six apprentices that completed the program, five were offered full-time employment.  This helped reduce the City’s vacancies by 25%.

Defining a Servant Leadership culture is an ongoing process for every organization.  Matt Mueller, Town Manager of Little Elm, Texas, shared the four core values (integrity, customer service, efficiency, and innovation) that define their culture.  Matt and his team took the time to define why each of these values is important to their organization and what they look like in the workplace. These values are integrated every day to ensure they are not just a poster on the wall.

Once a Servant Leadership culture is implemented, potential employees will be lining up to work for your organization.  City of Celina, Texas, Assistant Fire Chief Shain Hunn shared that when the City was hiring to staff a new fire station, the City received 300 applications for 18 vacancies.  To put this in context, it was double the amount of applications received by a neighboring municipality that also had vacancies and paid $10K more annually in salary. This illustrates that people want to be apart of a team and something that is bigger than themselves.

The Servant Leadership principles allow for organizations to take greater risks by being more resilient.  As the Chief Administrative Officer with Willis Knighton Health System, Brain Crawford stressed that we gain our greatest successes from our failures.  As leaders, it is important to be uncomfortable. There is no growth with stagnation.

While this was a brief overview, there was so much more excellent information and ideas shared.  I highly recommend adding this conference into your annual rotation (along with #ELGL20 sign up here!!).  During the closing session, the CEO of SGR, Ron Holifield shared this impactful quote regarding how to handle difficult situations we face as local government leaders, “It is not about me, it is not about now.”

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