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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Management

Care and Feeding of Your Library Collection Policy

Care and Feeding of Your Library Collection Policy

All libraries, whether they are independent districts or part of a city or town, should have both a sound collection management policy and an understanding of how to implement that policy in a way that furthers the library’s mission while reducing legal risks.

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Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Dealing with people who exhibit difficult behavior can be a challenge, whether they are coworkers, acquaintances, or members of the public. Here are some strategies that can help local government staff and officials make the next encounter less stressful. 

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ADR: Negotiation and Facilitation

ADR: Negotiation and Facilitation

This blog post provides an overview of negotiation and facilitation, two Alternative Dispute Resolution tools. 

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Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

This blog post looks at how agencies can apply risk management strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The Hidden Power of the Government Form Letter

The Hidden Power of the Government Form Letter

Your routine letters and forms may be creating more internal costs and constituent frustration than you realize. This post shows how reducing the jargon, simplifying the message, and talking to the reader can, instead, win over citizens.

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The Importance of Documentation in Risk Management

The Importance of Documentation in Risk Management

This blog explores the importance of documentation as it relates to risk management. 

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How to Talk to the Public When the Heat is On

How to Talk to the Public When the Heat is On

Don't wait until a crisis hits your agency to develop a plan for managing communication with the public. This blog post provides an overview of how to plan ahead—before crisis puts you in the spotlight. 

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Risk Management Strategies

Risk Management Strategies

This blog examines three strategies you can use to manage risks: risk prevention/control, risk reduction, and risk avoidance/ transfer. 

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An Introduction to Risk Management

An Introduction to Risk Management

In this blog, guest author Roger Neal examines the basic elements of local government risk management, including the benefits of risk management, risk assessment, prioritization, and the adoption of risk management response strategies.

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Retaining Institutional Knowledge in the Wake of the Silver Tsunami

Retaining Institutional Knowledge in the Wake of the Silver Tsunami

This blog focuses on the potential loss of institutional knowledge that the silver tsunami may leave in its wake, and some ways your organization may be able to capture and retain this valuable knowledge.

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3 Steps to a More Meaningful Mission Statement

3 Steps to a More Meaningful Mission Statement

In this post, MRSC's Executive Director Tracy Burrows looks at the role of an organization's mission statement and an easy, 3-step process to creating mission statements that will engage employees long after the process is over.

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ADR? What’s That?

ADR? What’s That?

Alternative Dispute Resolution offers methods that are considered “alternatives” to litigation, the traditional — and often expensive — form of dispute resolution. In this post Legal Consultant Linda Gallagher discusses two ADR methods: arbitration and mediation.

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Easy Problem Solving Using the 4-step Method

Easy Problem Solving Using the 4-step Method

Is your worksite suffering from 'change fatigue' and your staff, leery of any new improvements? Guest author Jennifer Haury offers a 4-step problem solving method to help you avoid making new changes that ultimately fail to address old, underlying issues. 

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Succession Planning: Navigating the Incoming Wave

Succession Planning: Navigating the Incoming Wave

The accelerating retirement of public sector workers born between 1946-64 is predicted to hit like a wave. This post looks as what some local governments in Washington are doing to plan for the expected leadership turnover. 

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Better, Faster, Cheaper: Sometimes Front Line Workers Are the Best Problem Solvers

Better, Faster, Cheaper: Sometimes Front Line Workers Are the Best Problem Solvers

Problems that seem intractable at the management level, can often be fixed by those employees that understand the processes the best.

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A Basic Approach to Succession Planning

A Basic Approach to Succession Planning

For those just starting to develop a succession plan, here's some tips and strategies from HR Advisor Marci Wright.

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Municipal Management Model: Leading an Action Agenda

Municipal Management Model: Leading an Action Agenda

Are you frustrated by the seemingly endless studies and discussion, yet no action? Unlike businesses, cities are looking to build community instead of profits. So how can we better put our plans into an action agenda?

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Charting Your Future Part 2: Conducting a Strategic Planning Retreat

Charting Your Future Part 2: Conducting a Strategic Planning Retreat

Stan Finkelstein continues his series on strategic planning by describing the role of retreats along with key strategies for conducting them effectively.

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Communication, Communication, Communication

Communication, Communication, Communication

In real estate or economic development discussions we hear it’s all about location, location, location. When it comes to good governance, whether in Council-Manager or Mayor-Council-Administrator forms of local government, it’s all about communication, communication, communication.

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Public Management Lessons From A Bond Issue Obstacle Course

Public Management Lessons From A Bond Issue Obstacle Course

During my time as a city administrator for Enumclaw, one of the projects I worked on was the development of a new library in the heart of town. With land secured, significant community support, and a bond issue ready for voters, I thought the project would be a cakewalk. However, I soon learned that things aren’t always as easy as they appear; getting the project done required maneuvering through an obstacle course of issues. The experience was challenging, but also taught me a number of important lessons about public management.

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Easy and Effective Common Sense Risk Management

Easy and Effective Common Sense Risk Management

Managing risk for your agency doesn’t always require sophisticated or expensive systems or extra staff resources. Sometimes a few simple, low cost, common sense procedures can be implemented that protect your organization from liability.
 

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Charting a Future Course for Your County or City

The reality is that in this day and age the citizenry, for the most part, desires dynamic local governments. They abhor lethargy and they want to see positive change. They want their elected officials to position their jurisdictions to anticipate future needs. For the past 6 years most Washington counties and cities have been “treading water” ...

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Clark County Joint Lobby Cuts Through Bureaucracy to Better Meet the Needs of Citizens

Clark County Joint Lobby Cuts Through Bureaucracy to Better Meet the Needs of Citizens

Walking into the office of the Assessor, Treasurer, and Auditor in Clark County can be a bit odd: you aren’t entirely sure where one office ends and another begins. That’s because through a...

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The Year the Public Servant Became the Bureaucrat

Cultural shifts are reflected in the language that we use. We can see this over the past 50 years of city planning as we have shifted from "urban renewal," which quickly took on the connotation of a flawed solution...

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The Paralysis of Analysis

“A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George S. Patton
Clearly the General was talking about a battle plan, but I've heard this point paraphrased in regard to just about any activity. What makes this so?

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Why Retreats Don't Work and What to do About it

At a non-profit start-up, the entire staff meet to review their progress and address strategic and tactical challenges. Deep conversations emerge about the value the non-profit creates, people's personal commitment to the mission, and how to continue to grow sustainably, without burning out staff or burning up working capital. After two days, participants leave new clarity and understanding about...

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Be Sure You're Right, Then Go Ahead (Management Lessons from Davy Crockett)

Be Sure You're Right, Then Go Ahead (Management Lessons from Davy Crockett)

In a public policy debate, both sides are usually convinced they are "right." But much of public policy has more to do with the perspective of the policymakers than with right or wrong, which can create challenges for the staff and managers charged with implementing public policies. Lynn Norby provides some real-life examples.

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The Three Envelopes

Lynn Nordby tells a city manager joke and offers some words of wisdom for how to navigate the city manager position successfully.

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How Stories Keep Us in Conflict

One thing I've learned from working in conflict resolution and team building is: People work hard to stay in conflict. The players in any given situation expend extraordinary energy to prevent themselves from approaching someone, broaching a topic, truly listening and understanding—and, ultimately, from finding a resolution.

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Close Enough for Government Work

There are always words or catch phrases that capture people’s imaginations and seem to be just the right shorthand to express a thought or make a point.  After a while though, they simply lose their impact through overuse and are no longer clever...

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Getting What You Want Through Foresight and Creativity

Sometimes foresight and creativity are needed to set up an opportunity; other times they are needed to use an opportunity that is presented to you. Either way, be the facilitator. Great satisfaction in public service comes from seeing what foresight and creativity can do for your community.

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Big Results with a Small Gesture

Sometimes only a small gesture of appreciation can generate lasting benefits. Extending a simple "good job!" to let a person know they and their work are valued is more important than ever.

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Some Tips on Time Commitment and Management for Busy Financial Professionals

I was recently asked to provide some tips on time commitment and management based on my experience as a consultant, and I thought some of the information would be useful for busy finance professionals in these busy economic times. So this is the first tip - use information in multiple forums!

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A Conversation with Fred Jarrett Part 2: Lean Principles

Dow Constantine came into office as the King County Executive in 2010 with an ambitious reform agenda that was quickly set in motion through the county’s new strategic plan and some key...

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King County's New Management: Failing Forward and Other Good Ideas

A Conversation with Fred Jarrett, Part 1
In 2010, newly-elected King County Executive Dow Constantine tapped Fred Jarrett to be his deputy to help carry forward an ambitious reform agenda.  Recently, Lynn Nordby, MRSC management consultant, and I sat down with Fred to capture his ideas on organizational...

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