Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Leadership Lesson 1: “Why CAN’T We Do It?”

Pamela Kinser works for the Stanislaus County Department of Employment Training.

“When you’re working with the government,” she told me, “you have so many regulations to follow — City, County, State, and Federal. Two years ago, we knew that the Work Force Investment Act was going to come into effect, bringing a whole new set of regulations.

“Our director said, ‘Instead of reading the regulations and saying, “We can’t do this, we can’t do that,” why not say, “Why CAN’T we? Where does it say we CAN’T do this? That we CAN’T provide these services for our clients?”‘

“That has made a complete turn-around in everyone’s thinking and has made us all open minded. I came to this department from another agency that focused on ‘we can’t do that.’ Now, we can push to get cars fixed for clients so they can get jobs, try to get them dental work or their tattoos removed, all the things people need so badly before they can get jobs. This kind of thinking has worked so well that we’re now trying to bring other agencies on board.

“Our leader made it okay for the line workers to ask, “Why CAN’T we?” It’s brought a huge turn-around in employee morale and made a major difference with our clients and the community.”

Patricia Fripp CSP,CPAE is a San Francisco-based professional speaker on Change, Teamwork, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. She is the author of Get What You Want! and Past-President of the National Speakers Association.

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