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Building an XYZ Culture at ICMA


Speaking about the key factors in building an XYZ Culture in Local Government

ICMA was held last week in Kansas City and I was honored to lead a session on building an XYZ Culture in Local Goverrnment along with Doug Matthews, Communications Director in Austin, TX and Josh Smith, City Manager in Hamilton, OH.  Too often the conversation in local government is around recruiting and retaining millennials but are we missing the point?  Here are the top 10 take-a-aways from the session.

#1 Turn Your Local Government into Summer Camp

  • Celebrate wins
  • Develop cool non-traditional awards
  • Develop a hangout space for employees
  • Have employees design their office space

#2:  Turn Your Interns into your Biggest Asset

  • Would your former interns brag about their experience with you?
  • Do you have interns or an intern program?

#3:  Build a Pitch Culture

  • Hold innovation meetings instead of staff meetings
  • Celebrate failure, not just successes
  • Hire employees by having them pitch you on their ideas to improve the organization

#4:  Reconnect to your own workforce expectations when entering the workforce regardless of generation

#5:  Generation X is the bridge generation to the millennials.  Check out the CEOs of the companies that have "innovative cultures" like Twitter, Google...they are all Generation X.  Generation X can be the "institutional interpreters for both millennials and boomers.

#6  The millennial culture doesn’t exist. "We’re simply at a tipping point of an evolution that began in the 1980s. Don’t lose the opportunity to create the workplace you always wanted (even if you forgot you wanted it)."

#7:  An XYZ culture is driven through values and communicated horizontally and vertically 

#8:  Instead of hiring an intern, hire an intern class and build brand ambassadors

#9:   Identify your employees' strengths and interests and encourage them to become leaders in their community

#10:  Bottom Line on what building an XYZ culture is about:

  • Reach millennials authentically
  • Increase intergenerational productivity
  • End traditional generation barriers

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