Hot Management Info for 2002

December – Politics

November – Photosynthesis For Planners

October – Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?

September – Be Careful With Your Values

August – Multiple Permits – Multiple Jurisdictions

July – Workplace Of The Future

June – Turnover

May – Getting Your Department From Good To Great

April – What Are You Reading?

March – Wisdom Of Jack Welch

January – Productivity And Pride


December 2002 – Politics

The Complete Management Course for Planning Directors
has just completed courses in Kansas City, New Orleans and Raleigh,
with eight more cities to go in the current series. What struck me
so far is a reminder that planning and planners must have good political
instincts and political skills. I’m currently focusing on the following
10 key ideas:

  1. Don’t try to change your elected officials-it doesn’t
    work. Instead see what you can do to adjust your style or approach
    to each elected official.
  2. Timing may not be everything-but it is close. Keep
    your list of ideas or initiatives on the ready and be prepared when
    the timing is right.
  3. Don’t try any major initiatives during an election.
    This is a time to lay low. It is not a good time to try to adopt
    a new General Plan.
  4. Focus your efforts on products and services with high visibility
    and support. This will also give you the support you need to slip
    in the other things.
  5. Be both a leader and a follower. Help articulate
    the vision of the elected officials and the community. Be careful;
    don’t stand between the elected official and the camera.
  6. Do a political analysis of your community and situation.
    • Find out the goals of each elected official.
    • Figure out the personality type of each elected
      official and use it to adjust your approach or style.
    • Use the boss interpreter concept. You may not
      always know what the elected official is up to but their interpreters
      often do. Also, you can get messages to or influence the elected
      official through their interpreters.
  7. Help your staff understand the political realities.
    They don’t teach this stuff in planning school.
  8. Monitor any contact between your staff and the
    elected officials. You don’t want to stifle this contact but you
    do need to stay in the loop.
  9. As a director, decide early in your career if you
    are going to fold your opinion when the word comes down from the
    majority on an issue. I suggest you be politically sensitive but
    in the final analysis give your best judgment. Be aware, once you
    go down the other road you can’t easily go back.
  10. Build personal relations with the elected officials. This doesn’t
    mean playing golf with them. It does mean finding ways for them to
    see you as a person and you to see them the same way.

Reader Responses

Great resource with this tip. I have some discomfort
with #10 on occasion (Build personal relations with the elected
officials. This doesn’t mean playing golf with them. It does mean
finding ways for them to see you as a person and you to see them the
same way.)
as I don’t want to compromise my neutral/non-political
role. Needless to say, your point is well taken. I enjoyed your Complete
Management Course for Planning Directors in Raleigh, though unable
to attend the second day given the sudden death of a co-worker’s wife.
Day one was helpful as you offered ideas that were different than
mine, and some affirmation of practices and attitudes. I was most
impressed with your bibliography and sources. I’d welcome any more
recent employee surveys that you may come across.

Steven Finn
Johnston, North Carolina


The hot topic message on political skills was GREAT. Well done! It should
be published somewhere. I believe you captured a top 10 list to be an
effective planning professional. It also helps you maintain job longevity
and program success. I think you did a good service to planners in the
trenches in circulating the list. If it is characteristic of the information
in your Management Course, the training should be very powerful.K.L. Cubic
Douglas County, Oregon


If Not Golf, What??

It’s a reality of life that many of those in power do
play golf, and that a shared game or two builds valuable personal
relationships. If I were younger, I’d learn. I realize that it’s never
too late to learn, but if you’re not at or near the beginning of your
career, it’s difficult to learn to play well enough so you’re not
a drag on the golf course. I think that would be worse than not playing
at all.

So what’s the alternative? If you’re a different gender
from your boss, it may not be that easy to “do lunch,” which may be
a good alternative in some situations. What about involvement in civic
projects that may be of interest to the official(s)? Or joining a
club/organization with the movers and shakers? Any merit to those
or other suggestions?

Have a great holiday season, and keep the advice coming!

Nancy Brown

Zucker’s Additional Comments

Nancy,

In one of my jobs I had a person running for City Council
on the campaign to fire me. After he was elected, I invited him to
lunch and made certain we went to the restaurant where all the politicos
and movers and shakers hung out. This created quite a stir and everyone
who saw us wondered what we were talking about. This lunch had the
desired effect and it cooled off the firing idea.It may not always
work, but that time it did.

Paul Zucker


Thank you for the latest Hot Info of the month. I thought you might
be interested in something I keep on my bulletin board on this topic.
It’s called “political values” and is attributed to John Nalbandian
with the Department of Public Administration at the University of Kansas.
It also seems to have been written with planners in mind. Respecting
these values helps to keep me out of trouble.

Frequently when we think of values, qualities like honesty,
reliability, love and sincerity come to mind. These are values, deep-seated
beliefs that lead to judgments about right and wrong, but they have
to do with individuals and how we lead our lives individually.

Political values influence public policy development
as opposed to the lives of the individuals who make policy. The primary
political value in our culture is responsiveness of governmental
officials to public wants and needs. The value of responsiveness is
reflected in demands for representation, efficiency, individual
rights
, and social equity.

Representation – This is the deep-seated belief
that government answers to the will of the people through elected
representatives. The wishes of citizens should be represented in governing
bodies. If a public policy is going to have an impact on a group of
citizens, that group should have the opportunity to be heard.

Efficiency – Citizens expect government to be
run prudently. This is achieved through cost-consciousness and rational,
analytical decision-making and an emphasis on expertise and professionalism,
planning and merit.

Individual Rights – Citizens are granted legal
rights that protect them from arbitrary decisions by those who govern
– both elected and appointed officials. These rights may be expressed
in ordinances, statutes and laws, and the constitution. Property rights
and civil rights fall into the broader category of individual rights.

Social Equity – Frequently, citizens are treated
as members of groups rather than individuals. Sometimes we classify
people as veterans, disabled, African American, female and senior
citizens rather than as Jose, Mary, Rita and Jacob. As group members
they expect treatment equal to members of other groups. And they compare
their treatment with that given to members of other groups. For example,
people living in one neighborhood expect to receive a level of government
services similar to that received in other neighborhoods; older neighborhoods
might expect more service.

K. Cannady
Hampton

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November 2002 – Photosynthesis For Planners

From
Training, May 2002

The
workplace is showing signs of experiencing a collective “nervous breakdown,”
according to research done by Integra Realty Services, New York, and
Opinion Research Corp, International, Princeton, N.J.

American workers are stressing over security uncertainties and current
economic environment. This is translating into greater rates of turnover,
absenteeism and lower productivity – the last things America needs
while it is slowly begins to recover from the events of recent months.

So why not fill your offices with plants? HR experts are encouraging
employers to provide their workers with an environment that is comfortable
and will inspire workers on their “off” time. Apparently, this environment
is one filled with plants.

Studies from Texas A&M University and Washington State University confirmed
that visual exposure to plant settings produced significant recovery
from stress within five minutes while enhancing productivity by 12
percent. Another Washington State University study said people exposed
to plants demonstrated more positive emotions such as happiness, friendliness
and assertiveness. Negative emotions such as sadness and fear decreased.

Green thumb or not, maybe what your office needs is a little photosynthesis
within its walls to reduce stress, pump up morale and increase productivity.


Reader Response

I have just returned to work after six weeks of stress
leave. I have a 10-foot tall plant in my office,.and there are plants
throughout our floor. Maybe it helps, but it isn’t enough to cope
with masters who expect instant response all day and all night when
termination is the result of not meeting their expectations.

Anonymous

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October 2002 – Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?
From Sept/Oct 2000 Harvard Business Review by Robert Gaffee
and Gareth Jones.

Everyone agrees that leaders need vision, energy, authority and strategic
directions. But, the authors found that inspirational leaders share
4 unexpected qualities:

  1. They selectively show their weaknesses. By exposing some
    vulnerability, they reveal their approachability and humanity.
  2. They rely heavily on intuition to gauge the appropriate timing
    and course of their actions.
    Their ability to collect and interpret
    soft data helps them know just when and how to act.
  3. They manage employees with something we call tough empathy.
    Inspirational leaders empathize passionately – and realistically
    – with people, and they care intensely about the work employees
    do.
  4. They reveal their differences. They capitalize on what’s
    unique about themselves.

The authors also discuss 4 popular myths of leadership:

  1. Everyone can be a leader. Not true. Many executives
    don’t have the self-knowledge or the authenticity necessary for
    leadership. Individuals must also want to be leaders, and many talented
    employees are not interested in shouldering that responsibility.
  2. Leaders deliver business results. Not always. If
    results were always a matter of good leadership, picking leaders
    would be easy. Businesses in quasi-monopolistic industries can often
    do very well with competent management rather than great leadership.
  3. People who get to the top are leaders. Not necessarily.
    One of the most persistent misperceptions is that people in leadership
    positions are leaders. But people who make it to the top may have
    done so because of political acumen, not necessarily because of
    true leadership quality. What’s more, real leaders are found all
    over the organization, from the executive suite to the shop floor.
    By definition, leaders are simply people who have followers, and
    rank doesn’t have much to do with that.
  4. Leaders are great coaches. Rarely. A whole cottage
    industry has grown up around the teaching that good leaders ought
    to be good coaches. But that thinking assumes that a single person
    can both inspire the troops and impart technical skills. Of course,
    it’s possible that great leaders may also be great coaches, but
    we see that only occasionally. More typical are leaders like Steve
    Jobs whose distinctive strengths lie in their ability to excite
    others through their vision rather than through their coaching talent.

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September 2002 – Be Careful With Your Values
“Take a look at this list of corporate values: Communication, Respect,
Integrity, Excellence. They sound pretty good, don’t they? Strong,
concise, meaningful. Maybe they even resemble your own departments
values, the ones you spent so much time writing, debating, and revising.
If so, you should be nervous. These are the corporate values of Enron,
as stated in the company’s 2000 annual report. And as events have
shown, they’re not meaningful; they’re meaningless.”

In our experience, most government value statements are bland, toothless,
or just plain dishonest. “Empty values statements create cynical and
dispirited employees, alienate customers, and undermine managerial
credibility.” Cookie-cutter values don’t set a department apart from
others; they make it fade into the crowd.

“Values can set your department or city apart from the others
by clarifying your identity and serving as a rallying point for employees.
But coming up with strong values- and sticking to them- requires real
guts. Indeed, an organization considering a values initiative must
first come to terms with the fact that, when properly practiced, values
inflict pain. They make some employees feel like outcasts. They limit
an organization’s strategic and operational freedom and constrain
the behavior of its people. They leave executives open to heavy criticism
for even minor violations. And they demand constant vigilance.”

What’s the first thing many directors do after they decide to embark
on a values initiative? They either hand off the effort to the HR
people or have a staff retreat. They use the initiative as a feel-good
effort. They roll out surveys and hold lots of meetings to gather
input and build consensus. “That’s precisely the wrong approach. Values
initiatives have nothing to do with building consensus-they’re about
imposing a set of fundamental, strategically sound beliefs on a broad
group of people.” Surveying all employees about what values they believe
the company should adopt is a bad idea for two reasons. First, it
integrates suggestions from many employees who probably don’t belong
at the company in the first place. And second, it creates the false
impression that all input it equally valuable.

The best value efforts are driven by the department head and a handful
of key employees. Managers also need to understand that a good values
program is like a fine wine; it’s never rushed.

The above is extracted from the Harvard Business Review, July 2002,
“Make Your Values Mean Something” by Patrick M. Lencioni. The
entire article is worth your reading.

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August 2002 ­ Multiple Permits – Multiple JurisdictionsYou may find this hard to believe, but four Washington State communities
have combined part of their permitting functions.

On July 22, the ePermits online application for Kirkland, Mercer
Island, Issaquah and Bellevue went live. For the first time, that
we’re aware of, citizens and contractors can apply for multiple permits
from multiple jurisdictions, make a single payment and receive the
permits online. A truly cutting edge business application.

Individually, the cities could have each launched their own ePermits
application. While this would have been a great customer service enhancement
for each city, the eGov Alliance is taking customer service to a new,
much higher level. In addition to serving its customers better, it
has established the ground work for other online services and are
significantly lowering the cost of online services.

The group hopes to bring our other partner cities on board. Sammamish
has already put together much of their content and is beginning to
work on business processes. The Building Officials from eight cities
are scheduled to meet in August to formalize plans to move forward.

To see the application, click
here
. Select the “Application” tab at the top of the page, then
select Apply Now!

To run through some of the application process, select “Apply for
Permit Now” under Property Owner Options. Since property owners do
not need to pre-register, it is possible to run through the application
process all the way up to payment.

For more information, contact:

John Backman
Administrative Services Director
Planning & Community Development
PO Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009-9012
425-452-7821

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July 2002 ­ Workplace Of The FutureAbstracted from Management Review, January 2000

What will the workplace of the future be like? The following scenarios
offer some clues. They come from three business visionaries: Leif
Edvinson, director of the Skandia Future Center in Vaxholm, Sweden;
Caela Farren, CEO of MasteryWorks Inc. in Annandale, Virginia; and
Jim O’Connell, a workforce economist and vice president at Ceridian
Corp., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Knowledge workers will not have a traditional contractual relationship
    with employees. Instead, They will rent their professional skills
    and knowledge on a “freelance” basis to different companies at different
    times.
  • The corporate headquarters will evolve into “heart centers,” where
    emotional intelligence fuels creativity, innovation and an enterprising
    spirit.
  • Downsizing, upsizing, rightsizing, growth and stabilization all
    will be welcome forms of “sizing” companies. People will have coping
    mechanisms that prepare them for any shift.
  • In the 24/7 global environment, productivity will be driven by
    speed and efficiency rather than the number of staff hours dedicated
    to a project.
  • Internet-speed workplaces will radically transform the world of
    work, making work across multiple time zones and irregular schedules
    more and more common.
  • People won’t work for organizations where they don’t get a share
    of the profits and where work/life balance is not given.
  • Companies will no longer decide which benefits an employee needs.
    Instead, employees will log on to their company’s web site to customize
    their benefits programs.
  • People will feel an increasing ownership of their destinies, lives
    and careers. “Living skills” will be just as important as “professional
    skills.”
  • The boundaries between work and school will blur. Learning will
    be centered more around professions and trades, and there will be
    more mentor/apprentice relationships, with internet-based coaching
    provided by people one has never met.
  • A digital divide will emerge, separating employees who are tech-savvy
    and those who aren’t. Smart companies will invest more in human
    capital and become virtual universities to narrow that gap.
  • The Fortune list of companies will become less of an economic
    force. There will be new forms of stock trading, where businesses
    will be valued according to their contributions to the local and
    global communities.

A note from Paul Zucker to Planners: Since we are supposed to be
leaders and futurists, let’s see who among you can translate the above
into planner specifics. We’ll share it with our e-mailers.


Reader Response

I challenged our readers to translate the July information.
Mike Percy did a good job of it below:
  1. Communities that have or foster development of mixed-use
    campuses, at least involving housing, convenience shopping and educational
    facilities in combination with work place/office-like environments,
    will have a competitive edge for this new work place.
  2. Traffic patterns will become more chaotic, but much
    less “peaked.” This will make mass transit more difficult to schedule
    and roadway systems will have to be actively managed rather than
    set on fixed time-of-day schedules. There may be less need for large
    capital roadway improvements (necessitated by need to accommodate
    peak traffic flows but under-utilized for much of the day), but
    more need to retro-fit roadways to be “smart” with active traffic
    control measures that are based on real-time use of the road. Mass
    transit may be more difficult to adjust real-time due to the need
    to coordinate schedules on fixed rail or guide ways and to coordinate
    schedules of drivers/operators (unless, of course, system can be
    totally automated, which I think is unlikely in the foreseeable
    future).
  3. Density will become important to provide nexus of
    various services, which will run into the traditional oppositions
    to density and height. It will also run into real difficulties of
    short term impacts of that density overwhelming localized infrastructure
    until a broader pattern of land use nodes becomes more broadly used
    and the lifestyles of the occupants adjust to having services provided
    in a high density “village” rather than in a widely spread-out,
    car-oriented community.
  4. Sound insulation, light control, and a balanced
    set of indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities will become very
    important to accommodate people’s varying work and home schedules.
  5. Transit will be more difficult to organize since
    people’s destinations will continually change. This may emphasize
    more flexible forms of mass transit like buses rather than fixed
    systems like rail.
  6. The gap between haves and have-nots may get much
    worse, but may shift from traditional racial or economic background
    lines to degree-of-technical savvy lines. On the Internet, you can’t
    tell a person’s racial or economic history, only their published
    technical training and their ability to solve problems quickly (“at
    Internet speed”). Because of the ever-increasing speed of the new
    workplace, there will be less and less time forgiveness for someone
    to learn to solve a problem, to learn to compete in this economy.
  7. There will also be less time (and with constantly
    shifting staffing, less human opportunity) to develop and maintain
    a corporate culture. People may become committed to the task and
    to those on the “task force,” but not to the organization. With
    shifting schedules, and no long-term loyalties to organization or
    work team (your partner today may well be your competitor tomorrow),
    it will also be more difficult to form other types of communities,
    whether organized around home life activities, school organizations,
    or the home/work place village. It will be harder for planners and
    other community organizers to find times, or a consistent group
    of people, for public hearings, community boards and commissions,
    or other civic duties/activities. On the other hand, short-term,
    ad hoc committees or task forces may become much easier to set up
    as employees insist on a better balance of work and non-work activities.
  8. Long range planning of either physical facilities
    or organizational activities becomes much more difficult due both
    to the rapidly increasing rate of change, and to the decreased availability
    of people and organizations with long-time frame points of view.
    Long range planning will need to focus on creating long-life bare
    bones infrastructure facilities that have a tremendous amount of
    built-in flexibility. For example, land use planning will need to
    focus on identifying sets of mutually compatible uses that have
    compatible infrastructure needs, and one of which can go into a
    given spot at any time.

Just a few thoughts from a practicing long range planner.

Michael Percy
City of Mountain View

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June 2002 ­ TurnoverEvery planning client we have is complaining about staff turnover.
Check out these six myths of turnover.

  1. People stay because they are loyal to the organization.

    Workers today are loyal to their careers. Don’t expect retention
    based on loyalty alone.

  2. Every worker will leave if the price is right.

    In fact, money is seldom the deal breaker.

  3. Demographics drive the decision to leave.

    Not every Generation Xer will leave.

  4. The departure of key people is a surprise.

    It seldom is, and the signs are there all along.
  5. Turnovers are a series of isolated cases.
    In fact, resignations tend to run in bunches. Be prepared.
  6. Your overall turnover rate is a measure of
    success.

    The important statistic isn’t how many have left. What is important
    is whether you are experiencing flight at the top.

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May 2002 – Getting Your Department From Good To Great I’ve been a proponent of the need to set a clear Mission for your
department as a key to your success. Although I continue to believe
a clear Mission is needed, a new book on the market has raised a number
of intriguing additional thoughts. The book is Good To Great
by Jim Collins, Harper Business, 2001. In this book Collins suggests
First Who…Then What. He suggests that the great companies first
got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off) and then
figured out where to drive it. The rational for this approach is:

  • If you begin with the who, rather than the what, you can more
    easily adapt to a changing world.
  • If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to
    motivate and manage people largely goes away.
  • If you have the wrong people, it doesn’t matter whether you discover
    the right direction-you still won’t have a great company.

To accomplish this he suggests:

  • When in doubt, don’t hire; keep looking.
  • When you know you need to make a people change, act.
  • Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest
    problems.
  • Most companies build their bureaucratic rules to manage a small
    percentage of the wrong people, which in turn drives away the right
    people.
  • Fill your culture with self-disciplined people who are willing
    to go to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibilities.

Reader ResponsesI didn’t take the opportunity to get into the first round of this
issue, but welcome the opportunity now. I believe the key to moving
from good to great is having the guts and self confidence to hire
people better than you are who do not agree with you but are willing
to respectfully disagree. To go from good to great, everyone in the
organization, especially the titular leader, has to grow, recognize
their own limits and shortcomings, test their limits, and constantly
risk failure.

Larry Gerckens, FAICP


Thanks for your message. When I was in private practice, I use to interview
professionals who did not necessarily fit the job I had open because
I would rather mold the job to fit the good person that had applied.
In public service, our hiring rules have gotten so restrictive that
I have lost some of the flexibility I had in the past. Keep up the good
work. We need these insights from others.Stanley L. Klemetson, Ph.D.
Pleasant Grove City, UT


I like these! Problem is that senior management has to understand them,
embrace them and then allow the right people to get the job done without
micromanaging them.Michael A. Harper, AICP Planning Manager
Washoe County, NV


Hello Paul. Thanks again for your timely contributions to relevant thought.
I have not had the benefit of reading the book you referenced. However,
the philosophy is being tried. We are using a form of the “Who then
What” concept. When we have hired people with good skills, knowledge
and abilities, they are performing well having then to learn about where
we are going. We are shaping our organization around our personnel,
our strategic mission that targets the customer base according to the
demand for services and products. The rationale for the “Who then What”
concept and the methods to accomplish it have been tried, more or less.
We would need to make adjustments to more consciously consider our culture,
hiring practices, changed staff (eliminations), and especially, putting
our best people on the “biggest opportunities” not “biggest problems.”
How does one test for “self-disciplined people” as a matter of the interview
process, aside from checking references? Overall, these suggestions
are well received by me.Thanks.

Raymond White
Dekalb County, GA


Old Saying “The biggest enemy of Great is Good.”

Al Solis


I agree with this completely. No matter how good a manager you are,
if you don’t surround yourself with good people (subordinates, peers
AND superiors!) your organization will fail. If you do manage to attract
and keep good people, you can hardly help but succeed. After almost
20 years of management experience, I really believe it is that simple.Robert Atallo, AICP Planning Director
Madison, Alabama

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April 2002- What Are You Reading?In my consulting practice I am working with hundreds of Planning
Directors and other government managers. Almost without exception,
I find these managers are not reading management material. Are you
one of them? I believe you should be reading at least several management
books a year along with several management-related periodicals.

Start with two of my current favorites, First Break All The Rules
and How To Be A Star At Work. If you feel either of these is
a waste of your time, send me the book and I’ll pay you for it. For
periodicals, I suggest The Harvard Business Review, Business Week,
Training, Governing and Government Technology.

I’ll also continue to share some of my reading with you in this space
each month. For example, Spring 2002 Business Week has an article,
“What Makes A Boffo Brand.” This article talks about the popular
topic of product branding. The topic has even made it to APA that
is studying how to use branding to help planning. The article is based
on a new book, A New Brand World, which I’ve not yet read.
However, I was struck by the author’s interview with Starbucks’ branding
expert when asked, “What was it that was most important to Starbucks’
success?” His answer, “Everything matters.” Seems to me there is a
lesson here for Planners.


Reader ResponsesI like the idea of hearing more about what others are reading. Speaking
for myself (although I suspect many share this trait), I find it very
difficult to keep up with all the books, articles, journals and magazines
an excellent planning director should keep up with! There’s just too
much stuff out there! For the longest time, I’ve worked to keep an
hour of my day for reading some of this. But as we all know, sometimes
the day just escapes our reach (wouldn’t Stephen Covey be disappointed?!).

The other thing is that the successful planning director has to read
a tremendous variety of materials. I agree, we need to read more management
materials. But we have to keep up on technology, demography, public
policy, emerging economic trends, and nine-thousand other topics!
Being a planning director is one of the last great “generalist” jobs
– it requires a real “renaissance (wo)man” to do the job well!

[Sidebar: Ever wonder why more graduate planning programs don’t have
at least one course on how to be a planning manager/director? Nothing
that deals with HR, or political reality orientation! When I was in
grad school I was fortunate enough to have Bruce McClendon and Ray
Quay as adjuncts, and they used us to “test” the Mastering Change
book. I use that along with “What Your Planning Professors Forgot
to Tell You
” in my own adjunct “reality orientation” courses!]

I’d love to see readers contribute short reviews of books they’ve
read. Maybe I’d be inspired to pick it up – or maybe I’d have to be
satisfied with reading vicariously!

The Alliance for Regional Stewardship has done this on occasion, and I find
the results interesting.

Me? I’m currently reading Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men,
have started The Leader’s Companion by J. Thomas Wren, Place
Matters
by Deier, Mollenkopf & Swanstrom, City Making
by Gerald Frug, and When Faster Harder Smarter is Not Enough
by Kathryn D. Cramer… Maybe I should slow down?!

David S. Boyd, AICP
FOCUS St. Louis


I am reading Dante’s Inferno, as are many other staffers in
the Chicago office of the American Planning Association as part of a
reading group.Stuart Meck, FAICP Principal Investigator
Growing Smart Project


I have just finished reading a wonderful book that sort of fits into
the “management” category, although I would recommend it to anyone.
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in
Corporate America
by David Whyte. Although I don’t work in corporate
America, working in a city government isn’t that different. One of
the things I have noticed about planners is that many of us love what
we do, our work has a greater purpose than providing a paycheck, and
we try to bring ourselves (our souls) into the work that we do. This
book is a wonderful way to explore these thoughts with yourself. The
author uses poetry to tell us lessons about ourselves and the work
that we can do.

Sarah More
Tucson, AZ

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March 2002 – Wisdom Of Jack WelchNow that Jack Welch has left GE and his book is out, it seems like
he’s continually in the business news. This is a good time to revisit
his six rules. Paul Zucker’s comments for planning are in paranthesis.

  1. Control your destiny or someone else will. (Know
    when it’s time to move on.)
  2. Face reality as it is, not as it was or you wish
    it were. (You work for government-get over it.)
  3. Be candid with everyone. (Be particularly candid
    with employees.)
  4. Change before you have to. (Don’t wait for the
    City Manager or City Council.)
  5. If you don’t have advantage, don’t compete. (The
    field of planning gives us the advantage-use it.)
  6. Don’t manage, lead. (Most of us need to do both-but
    there is a difference.)

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January 2002 – Productivity And Pride Based on Employee Insights 2000 survey of 1,300 people. Click
here for survey.

What would boost productivity?

44% – Being able to do my work without having to deal
with workplace bureaucracy.
29% – Knowing that my job has a large purpose.
18% – Having clear work-related goals.
9% – Seeing with my own eyes the results of my efforts.

Contributing to pride:

72% – The work I do is very important or important.

23% – My work is a mix – half is important, half is busywork.
5% – My work is mostly or entirely busywork.