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Polco News & Knowledge

The Powerful Question All Local Government Leaders Should Be Asking

– Guest Article By Nick Kittle, Sustainovation –

What If?

It’s a powerful question and now more than ever we need the space to explore this big question in a way that empowers us to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing COVID-19 environment. 

That’s where the idea for “What-If Wednesdays” came from: a desire to provide a weekly virtual mindshare and training around a topic for today. Best part, the registration is free and it’s only 30 minutes each week.

As a local government innovator for more than a dozen years, I’m used to helping people learn to deal with change, adapt proactively, and move ahead in a way that sets them up for progress, not just change. This pandemic is no different. It requires extraordinary vision, empathetic leadership and unprecedented flexibility to protect and support our communities right now. 

So far, more than 200 participants have explored timely “What If?” topics such as, “What if we could see one ripple ahead?”, “What if we led with empathy?” and “What if we embrace pockets of positivity?” Topics also include change management, local government COVID-19 innovations, thriving (not surviving) and lessons for the new workplace on tap for April and May. 

‘A Once-In-A-Generation Chance’

The truth is that government has been the number one fear in America five years in a row, according to the annual Champman University study on American fears. This means that for those who can see it and take advantage, this is a once-in-a-generation chance to restore faith and trust in government. 

That opportunity is happening right now across the country, albeit in a way that none of us wanted and most of us didn’t expect. The silver lining is that as federal response has been pushed increasingly into the state and local levels, the opportunity exists to change the way the public views what role we play in their lives on a community-by-community basis. This gives us as local government leaders the opportunity to step up and shine.

This may not be the moment you wanted, but this is the moment you get. It has been thrust upon you. And if you joined government to make a difference, this is it. So, if you’re like us, the moment is here for us to take a little time, connect virtually with our peers across the nation and the world, and find best practices we can use to shape the response and bend the curve. 

Working Together As One

This is about all of us working together and from what I’ve seen already, there are a lot of amazing minds willing to be a part of sharing what they know. That which unites us is greater than that which divides us, and nowhere are we more capable of showing that than through our communities’ pandemic responses.

But if you’re still on the fence about joining, here are a few anonymous quotes from your peers to hopefully help you take the leap with us:

  • “Super-focused and perfectly timed. Nick’s presentation style and thoughtful questions make you think critically.”
  •  “It is a great opportunity to learn from each other and see different perspectives.” 
  • “So helpful being guided in reframing how to think about this situation and how to guide coworkers in doing the same so that everyone feels like they are more prepared in the future.”

For now, I’ll just say that I am impressed with the response by creative leaders in communities across the country who are making their mark, for this generation—and the next. Thank you for what you do for the communities you serve and let’s explore “What If?” together.

If you’d like to register free for the series, please click here.

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