New Year resolutions for Local Government leaders
What kind of New Year resolution(s) should a chief executive make?
- Go on a diet? (Thin cat instead of fat cat)
- Take up a hobby? (Real job instead of non-job)
- Do a good turn? (Altruist instead of egotist)
Well, obviously all these things should be considered – along, no doubt, with more inane populist nonsense.
But, what should local government chiefs seriously and determinedly resolve?
How about choosing some or all of the following?
- To check everyday whether or not you’ve made any difference to people’s lives.
- To be courageous and talk truth to power (all power, not just the bits that don’t bite).
- To listen when someone else is talking truth to power (ie to you and me).
- To lead by example (preferably good example).
- To encourage.
- To encourage (again).
- To smile and laugh (but not manically).
- To be absolutely clear about values, purpose, vision, priorities and – above all – outcomes.
- To keep a fresh supply of batteries for the bullshit detector.
- To point said detector at oneself regularly.
We all know how easy it is to make commitments and how hard they can be to keep. With local government going through an historic period change, and with the sector only now apparently approaching the halfway mark in its reinvention (thanks Paul Johnson for going with no.2), 2015 seems like as good a year as any to nail our colours to the mast.
Half-heartedness, inconstancy or lack of gumption will leave our communities, colleagues and elected members all thinking that we deserve the bad press we often get. As both president of SOLACE and Birmingham City Council’s chief executive I’m going for broke and signing up to all ten of the above.
See y’all on 31/12/15 for the next reckoning.
This is the latest column Mark Rogers has written for the Local Government Chronicle/Municipal Journal in his capacity as President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE). The views expressed herein should not be assumed to be those of the City Council.
Happy New Year.