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'managers minute'

Aug 18

Managers Minute - August 2023

Posted to City of Pilot Point News on August 18, 2023 at 2:03 PM by Wendy Haun

I’ve said it many times as I have written my Manager Minutes over the past several years, they are met for me and are often a reminder for myself regarding leadership lessons I have learned over my career.

Earlier today I received an email from my friends at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service asking me to invite my colleagues to their programs. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend both LEAD (Leading, Educating, and Developing) and SEI (Senior Executive Institute). As I reminisced being on the campus in Charlottesville and the lessons learned from the programs, the overarching theme is challenging traditional leadership.

Traditional leadership models represent a hierarchy where the boss is at the top of the pyramid and each level below represent diminishing responsibility. With a traditional leadership approach, the leader encourages people to do their jobs by providing them with guidance, direction and motivation. The main focus of a traditional leader is to improve the business position of the company or the organization. The leadership models that are discussed at SCI and LEAD are the Networked Talent Model and Leadership At All Levels model. In this model they flip the pyramid upside down with top management at the bottom and the customer at the top.

Another Concept they often refer to is the study on leadership by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander in the book The Art of Possibility. Within this model they compare the work of a leader with that of an orchestra conductor. Some of the Key Concepts of their study include:

  • The Art of Leadership is about a new way of being, both individually and together - a new Change Culture dedicated to excellence
  • Lead by making others powerful (remember that the orchestra conductor doesn’t make a sound)
  • Each person has a signature leadership style, gifts, and role - like the orchestra’s diverse in-struments
  • Leadership is teamwork, not solo work – we are a symphony “sounding together”
  • Speak possibility: By recognizing downward spirals and identifying what you could “play” that would make the most difference in your professional and personal life
  • Quiet the inner voice that says “I can’t”
  • Look for shining eyes – is your presence enlivening & engaging others?
  • Include others in the journey of possibility
  • Enroll every voice in the vision
  • Everyone gets an “A” to live in to, not a standard to live up to
  • First Rule of Leadership - Rule #6: Don’t take yourself so @#!*#! seriously!
  • The most profound lesson from Zander for me was to lead by making others powerful. In a symphony “we” are all in it together.

These are the lessons from the conductor on making others powerful:

  • Conductor doesn’t make a sound – only musician who doesn’t make a sound - Depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful by enlivening possibility in them. This was a phenomenal realization for me.
  • Ask myself ‘Am I being effective?’ Only way to tell if I am doing my job of making others powerful is to look into their eyes. Shining eyes is a place of awe.
  • So If people’s eyes are not shining, I have to ask myself “who am I being that the eyes of my players are not lit up?”
  • Disciplined Practice of Invitation - Ask for suggestions from every group I work with. One feedback – ‘You are not doing enough crescendo, so that night at the concert I did a huge crescendo.’ I hope everyone will feel “You did my crescendo!”
  • A leader never doubts the capacity of his or her people to realize whatever he or she is dreaming. Imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr. had said, “I have a dream! But I wonder if they will be up to it?”

I am thankful for my email today because it encouraged me to reach into my vault of lessons learned. I keep a flash drive plugged into my docking station that has the HPO material at the ready, and it doesn’t hurt me to occasionally click on the files and refresh and recharge my memory.

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” — David Marquet
References to the above material is from work produced by SEI and LEAD.

Jul 19

Manager's Minute - July 13, 2023

Posted to City of Pilot Point News on July 19, 2023 at 11:03 AM by Wendy Haun

One of the most looked over leadership quality is humor. Often times when we think of leader-ship qualities we think of honesty, integrity, and etc. etc.… “Leaders with humor can build stronger cultures, unleash more creativity, and even negotiate better deals,” says Jennifer Aaker a profes-sor at Stanford who teaches a course called humor in business. For humor to be effective it must not offend and joking at the expense of others or crazy rants that make people wonder what you put in your coffee is another story.

Here are a five reasons humor can be an effective tool at work:

  • Laughter is good for your health.
  • Humor increases productivity.
  • Comedy is good for the bottom line.
  • Jokes bring us together.
  • Funny leaders appear more competent.

Humor has the ability to influence circumstances and can cause a change in one’s state of mind. Humor when used in the right way helps to cause people to release hormones that are so im-pactful on the rest of the body. (https://bermudabob.com/?page_id=207)

Here are 5 tips for good workplace humor, courtesy of Harvard Business Review:

  • It’s not whether or not you’re funny, it’s what kind of funny you are. Be honest and authentic.
  • If you can’t be “ha-ha” funny, at least be “aha!” funny. Cleverness can be good enough.
  • Good comedy is a conspiracy. Create an in-group.
  • Don’t be afraid to chuckle at yourself. It signals everything is okay.
  • Laughter is disarming. Poke fun at the stuff everyone’s worried about.

This week’s challenge: Laugh, it’s good for you, and can have a positive impact on your work.

"A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done" –Dwight D. Eisenhower
"When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you." — Walter Payton

Jan 26

Manager's Minute - January 26, 2023

Posted to City of Pilot Point News on January 26, 2023 at 2:27 PM by Wendy Haun

As I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have parents that took us to watch the Texas Rangers at the ballpark. We would pick games based on the pitching rotation because we always wanted the opportunity to watch Nolan Ryan. A couple of nights ago I was scrolling through things to watch, I flipped through the cable channels, nada, so I went to Netflix, and they have a documentary called “Facing Nolan”.

"(Nolan) Ryan's the only guy who puts fear in me. Not because he could get me out, but because he could kill me. You just hoped to mix in a walk so you could have a good night and go 0-for-3." - Reggie Jackson 

Nolan Ryan played 27 years in Major League Baseball and is one of the best pitchers of all time.  On historical radar’s his fastball was clocked at 101 mph, which would equal 108 mph on modern more accurate devices.  Nolan has many, 51, MLB records most of which will never be touched.  They include: 

  • Most no-hitters: 7
  • Most one-hitters: 12
  • Most two-hitters: 18
  • Most three-hitters: 31
  • Most career 300 strikeout seasons: 6
  • Most career 200 strikeout seasons: 15
  • Lowest Career batting average against: .203
  • Most stolen bases allowed: 757
  • Most grand slams allowed:
  • Most wild pitches thrown: 277
  • Oldest to ever throw a no-hitter: 44
  • Oldest to ever lead the league in strikeouts: 43
  • Most seasons ever played: 27


“Ultimately in life, you can have success on the field, but really what matters in the long term is a good set of values and that’s what Nolan Ryan exemplifies.” -George W. Bush

A 1999 article in Texas Monthly states “Ryan holds 51 records, more than anyone else in major league history, and he will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this summer, but he will always be remembered as much for the kind of person he was as for the kind of player he was” and credits Nolan with the values of “old-time Texas.”

Nolan Ryan is an inspirational leader. Kelly Gruber of the Toronto Blue Jays, the team victimized by Ryan’s seventh no-hitter at age 44, told the Boston Globe, “I hate to lose, but my respect and feelings for Nolan Ryan are so great that I’m actually happy to have been there. That may be the wrong feeling, I don’t know, but he’s more than a marvel. He’s the model for what we all should be. When I’m not facing him, I’m always rooting for him. It’s the same with a lot of players. [I]f we had to lose this game, I’m glad he got the no-hitter, and I’m glad I got to see it. He’s a great man.” 

What made Nolan Ryan respected by so many?

  • Humble – Nolan Ryan shared his success with his team.  In his fifth no-hitter, teammate Terry Puhl snagged a well hit ball out of left center field.  In recounting the story, he tells about the minutes after the game.  “I’m sitting in front of my locker and Nolan shows up, and I’m looking at him and he says, TP, nice catch.  He’s got all this stuff going on with him and he had the reserve in him to come over to my locker ten minutes after the ball game.  I mean,..I was like, that’s pretty special.”  Nolan Ryan is also rumored to have signed more autographs than any other active players at the time.   
  • Dedicated – Nolan had a rigorous work out and spent much of his time ensuring he was in the right shape for what he was doing.  In his 40’s at the end of his career.  He would ride a bicycle for two hours, he would then workout, then he would run, and then he would lift weights every day except for the day he was scheduled to pitch.  His goal was to recover as fast as he could from the last start so he would be at his peak for the next start.  
  • He valued the people around him.  Starting with his wife Ruth Ryan, who encouraged Nolan to continue his big-league career when he wanted to leave while playing for the Mets, Nolan knew the value of the people around him and relied on them.  After the first half of the first inning in his seventh no hitter Nolan came to the dugout and told his teammates as they were getting ready to bat, I just need one tonight boys. 


I will never pitch a fast ball as fast as Nolan Ryan. I will never be the baseball player Nolan Ryan was, but I can and should strive to be the kind of leader Nolan Ryan is.  In my role of City Manager and in whatever role you are in, you can apply the same values as him and create the kind of Hall of Fame career Nolan Ryan created and be known as a good person and good leader as much as you are known for being good in your position.


Manager’s Challenge:  Examine and challenge yourself to step up to the plate and be a hall of fame leader. 


 “I grew up with the thought that I wanted to treat people the way I’d like to be treated, and I think if you do that, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.” – Nolan Ryan

“My job is to give my team a chance to win.” – Nolan Ryan

“My ability to throw a baseball was a gift. It was a God-given gift. And I am truly appreciative of that gift.” – Nolan Ryan

“I am going to spend my time today just thanking the people that played a role in my career because I truly do believe that I was blessed by a lot of people that paths crossed mine as I went down the road in my career.” – Nolan Ryan