Category Archives: Crisis

Own it!

The current fiscal crisis has created a lot of challenges in the workplace. But this brings with it a lot of opportunity for innovation.

Have an idea to streamline a process? You’ll likely find a pretty receptive audience.

So make the most of that by writing up your proposal with clarity. Save your readers the time of wading through the clutter of unnecessary words, and let your idea shine. Own it.

Addressing this issue in his always insightful blog, business writing guru Kenneth W. Davis suggested recently that we try “kicking the props away” in our writing and offers this gem from Patricia T. O’Connor and Stewart Kellerman and their book about online writing:

“Some puffed-up writers use long words, techie talk, trendy terms, and convoluted sentences to cover up or deceive or sound important or go along with the crowd. Most people who inflate their writing, though, are simply insecure, often for no good reason. They don’t feel their ideas are strong enough, and they prop them up with elaborate language.

If your ideas are any good, they can stand on their own. So kick away those unnecessary props. All they do is turn a strong writer into a wuss.”

Read more of Davis’s weekly nuggets of wisdom on his Manage Your Writing blog.

Take Care of Your People

All of us Public Management Center staff delighted in the opportunity to see the Certified Public Manager participants from the three classes (Topeka, Overland Park, and Hays) together at the networking conference this week. And, as always, we can thank Terri for putting together a series of terrific sessions.

One of these sessions was given by Steve Adukaitis, a retired FEMA manager, who offered his thoughts on leadership lessons from times of crisis that can be applied in our everyday. Among the guidance he offered was “take care of your people.” Steve noted that during the eight months he spent in New Orleans helping recovery after Hurricane Katrina, there were times when the most important role he could play was to check in with his staff about the last time they took a break or had something to eat and insist that they do so when necessary.

Is there any more important reminder during this “Great Recession,” when so many public managers and their staffs are absorbing the workloads of their coworkers who have left due to either layoffs or attrition? There’s so much to be done that it can be easy to lose track of this. But are we all truly living the fact that people are our greatest resources?

For a little inspiration along this line, check out this terrific post by Seth Godin who asks what might change if we all reversed our sense of who works for who in the hierarchy. Click here to read his post. And then we invite you to share what this would change for you in the comments below.

Join Us on April 12th for “The Impact of a Catastrophic Disaster on Government Operations: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina”

On Monday, April 12, join us at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park for a presentation by Steve Adukaitis, Retired, Director of Management Operations, FEMA Philadelphia Regional Office.

The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the City of New Orleans is approaching. Mr. Adukaitis was assigned to the City in the weeks following landfall and spent the following 8 months assisting local officials in their initial re-entry and recovery efforts. He will review his personal experiences and offer some lessons learned based on his work with the City of New Orleans and surrounding parishes. His observations are applicable to government and community officials at all levels who will be called upon to respond to a “big one” in the Kansas City area.

The presentation is scheduled for 4:30pm in room 155 Regnier Hall. The Edwards Campus is located at 127th and Quivira in Overland Park.