Capacity Building

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by DrMaria Leave a Comment

Building capacity is a topic that is on everyone’s lips in local government. Whether it is capacity for a project, in a department, team, or one’s self. Everyone wants to know how to build more capacity because it seems like there is never enough.

What is capacity?  Capacity is the capability to perform, the amount that can be contained, or the maximum production possible. When I coach individuals or teams, and I hear “We don’t have the capacity to do that”, I get curious. Sometimes, it means they do not have the capability. If that is the case, we need to peel back those layers and understand what is interfering with performance. Is it training, money, knowledge, or people? Until we go below the surface, we cannot fully understand how to address the concern.

If the capacity issue is one of time, it may be time to examine what you or your team is working on. Many times, we do work activities, because we think we have to or because we always have done them. When we get on autopilot with our daily work activities, we are not really looking at what we do with a critical eye. Some of the activities may no longer be needed.

Another aspect to look at – is if you have the right people doing the right activities. I was recently certified in an assessment tool that looks at how we work, naturally. How we use our energy in certain aspects of our workday and what is the natural way we use our energy to complete work most efficiently and effectively. This was so enlightening for me and explained so much; why certain tasks were painful and took twice as long as those tasks that came naturally to me and were completed with joy and ease.

Chances are we have members of our teams who are especially skilled at certain work tasks because they come naturally to them. Perhaps, with a bit of shuffling, we may be able to put the right people on the right tasks to complete those necessary tasks with joy and ease. Do you remember the old swap meet phrase, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” This same idea may be applied to our team’s tasks. You may find after this awareness and shuffling, you really do have the capacity.

As always, I love to hear from you. What would be necessary for you to have capacity?

With Love and To Your Success,

Filed Under: ActionCollaborationCooperationLoveLove-Based LeadershipPresenceSourceTagged With: (building leadership capacity for school improvement)(building leadership capacity in business)(capacity of a good leader)(emotional intelligence)(examples of leadership capacity)(four steps to building leadership capacity)(government leadership solutions)(government leadership)(leadership capacity for lasting school improvement)(leadership capacity matrix)(local government)(love-based leadership development)(organizational culture)(professional development to build leadership capacity)change managementDr. Maria Church

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Leadership Light


I love this quote by Edith Wharton, “There are two ways of spreading light…To be a candle or the mirror that reflects it.

In this season of light, I ponder what light represents in our lives and how that relates to our leadership. I love Edith Wharton’s perspective of spreading light, but what exactly does that mean?

Spreading light comes in the form of lighting up a room. As leaders, we can light up a room with our presence; you know, by being fully present to others. We do this by listening without distraction and giving our full attention to those around us.

We can also spread light through our attitudes and behaviors. We spread light through love, care, and compassion. Light takes away the darkness. We know that smiles are contagious and can be a great conduit to spreading light and love.

As leaders, we can also be the mirror that reflects light. Through encouragement and support of those we lead, we see the light in their eyes, their behaviors, and in their attitudes. Mentoring those we lead and reflecting back their greatness is one of the most profound activities we can do as leaders.

We also reflect light by “lightening” the load of others. We can help lighten the heaviness of others by supporting our teams literally and figuratively. We can support others in a variety of ways that don’t cost any money. Sometimes small acts of just listening, giving an encouraging word, or acknowledging others can be extraordinary and have lasting profound effects. Serving those we lead is an example of love-based leadership.

Light in the darkness and lightening the load are profound ways we demonstrate love-based leadership. In this season of light, I wish you a blessed holiday season and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

As always, I love to hear from you. How will you be a light to others today?

With love,

Filed Under: AbundanceActionLeadershipLeadership shiftLove-Based LeadershipTagged With: ( development)(local governments)(love and giving in the bible)(love giving definition)(love giving meaning)(love giving very)(love is giving not taking)(love is giving poem)(love is giving quotes)(love is giving without expecting anything in return)(organizational culture)(retreats)(strategic off-sites)change managementDr. Maria Churchlove-based leadership

Great Leaders Are Full

Great leaders, who communicate and connect, fill their minds with the person in front of them. We feel this connection when others are fully engaged in what we are saying. We see it in their eyes, we feel it energetically, we know we are connected and drawn to that person and the moment. Presence is mindfulness. Mindfulness is found in the present, and when you are present, you show up.

When we find this connection with others through mindfulness, we gain a deeper understanding of each other and of ourselves. Of course when we do, we are mind-full of their presence in the moment. We also understand ourselves better when we connect with others. It is not unusual with this deep union of souls, to see ourselves in those people with whom we feel connected. In a mindful state, empathy, connection, compassion, and equality surface to our consciousness. We see and feel each other as the same, without division and without judgment—we feel love.

Not only is a mindful practice one that provides clarity, vision, connection, and beauty, but being present in the moment also confers peace of mind. Living in mindfulness is living in peace. This is especially relevant in our current culture plagued with chaos, competition, rage, and fear.

How do you know when you’ve really been heard?

With love,

Filed Under: CommunicationCultureLeadershipLeadership shiftSignificanceTagged With: (change intelligence)(communication and leadership quotes)(communication for leadership success)(effective leadership communication strategies)(emotional intelligence)(government leadership solutions)(government leadership)(importance of communication in leadership pdf)(leadership and communication pdf)(leadership communication skills ppt)(leadership communication styles)(leadership communication theory)(local government)(love-based leadership development)(millennial management)(organizational culture)change managementDr. Maria Church


Innovation Meets Implementation

by DrMaria Leave a Comment

“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.” – W. Arthur Porter

I recently attended an innovation conference for local governments where I learned of fantastic innovative solutions that some local governments are doing. First, there was a Park District that launched an idea dashboard where staff can upload ideas. Others can give the ideas a thumbs up or comment. Ideas grow here and through ongoing dashboard input, collaborative thinking in born. This park district has created and implemented several innovations that began on their idea dashboard.

Another innovative solution was a local government that uses Alexa technology to help with light maintenance and customer assistance. They use inexpensive technology in creative and innovative ways to add services, while reducing costs.

It starts with an idea in the mind and then action puts it into motion.

How do we get into an innovative space? Try these 3 steps:

  • Get curious. Channel your inner 3-year old. Ask and dig from a place of curiosity.

  • Try the opposite. If you’ve always done it a certain way, try the opposite. See what happens and ask yourself and your team, “What else is possible?”

  • Be fast to acclimate. The quicker you are to acclimate and adapt to change, the quicker you will be able to innovate.

What are some innovations we could use in local government?

With Love and To Your Success,

Filed Under: IntuitionLeadershipLeadership shiftPowerPresenceSignificanceTagged With: (emotional intelligence)(government leadership solutions)(government leadership)(guidelines for implementing innovation in organizations)(implementation of innovation process)(implementing innovation in organizations)(innovation implementation definition)(innovation implementation models)(innovation implementation plan)(local government)(love-based leadership development)(organizational culture)(successful implementation of innovation)change managementDr. Maria Church

The Benefits of Complaints


So often, when we hear the word, complain, those of us who have worked in customer service bristle! However, complaints are not always a bad thing – sometimes complaints can be quite valuable. When we shift our perceptions from negativity to a positive frame, we may actually welcome complaints…well, sometimes!

Complaints can be beneficial because:

  • Complaints can give you information you may not otherwise have. Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees, in other words, we may be too close to the situation to see problems or issues.

  • When we receive complaints, we receive information. Let’s face it; often times some information is better than no information. When people take the time out to complain, that means at some level they care! If they were complacent or indifferent about you or your organization, they would say nothing.

  • If the complaint doesn’t come to you, it doesn’t mean the complaint is not being shared with someone else…perhaps shared with someone else with whom they are now doing business!
    The complaint gives you an opportunity to correct the situation. Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is not bliss.

Think about this: When people do share a complaint with you, they are actually saying:

  • I value this relationship.

  • I hope to continue this relationship.

  • I am presenting this problem to you because I care.

  • I know you can fix this.

What are your thoughts about complaints?

With love,


Filed Under: AbundanceCollaborationCommunicationCooperationCultureTagged With: (1st financial training services)(benefits of customer complaints)(change intelligence)(emotional intelligence)(government leadership solutions)(government leadership)(handling customer complaints effectively)(impact of customer complaints on business)(importance of customer complaints)(local government)(love-based leadership development)(millennial management)(organizational culture)(what is customer complaints)(what percent of customers complain when they are dissatisfied)(why do customers complain)change managementDr. Maria Church

Leadership in Local Government Culture

by DrMaria Leave a Comment

Local governments are at a crucial time in their evolution. Over 60% of local government employees are eligible to retire within the next five years. Wow, 60%!

And if that isn’t significant enough, only 6% of current college students are even remotely thinking about public service.
That means that we are potentially looking at a 54% gap of local government employees. The implications of the impact that we could experience from this gap are pretty profound!

This gap, in this current day, requires an urgent and profound shift in the way local governments do business. The shift that I am talking about is a paradigm shift in organizational culture in local governments.

OK, simply what does this mean?

It means that we need to change the workplace culture in many cities and counties. First of all, we need to create a culture that will attract and retain a new workforce. Forbes released a study a few years ago that found that 95% of people looking for employment believed that culture was more important than compensation. 95%!

Social sites like Glassdoor and Indeed openly discuss organizational culture with employee ratings and comments. Just like an entire generation chooses restaurants, hotels, movies, and most purchases based on ratings and comments, please know that they too, are choosing employers based on ratings and comments.

Cultures that encourage innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, flexibility, challenge, growth opportunities, and meaningful experiences are cultures that are going to attract a new generation of eager employees.

I love this work that we do with local governments, strategically and intentionally designing fantastic workplace cultures. Local governments are ripe for innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and meaningful experiences. Build it and they will come!

Secondly, cities and counties couldn’t possibly deliver the same services in the same way with 50% less people. We need to find different, innovative ways to serve our communities.

As always, I love to hear from you. How would you describe a great workplace culture?

With Love and To Your Success,

Filed Under: CultureLeadershipTeamTagged With: (change in government definition)(change management in government frank ostroff)(change management in government pdf)(change management in government sector)(change management in government)(change management in the federal government)(does government affect culture)(emotional intelligence)(government leadership solutions)(government leadership)(local government)(love-based leadership development)(organisational culture in public sector)(organizational culture)change managementDr. Maria Church

Laughter is Underrated


Laughter is completely underrated. Laughter is our heart’s outpouring of love. We know laughter is contagious, yet it is powerful medicine. Leadership use of laughter is like a power-charged tool with many uses.

One of the most compelling benefits of laughter is shared, joyous connection. Comedian Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” He is right; laughter connects us at deep level, which is why it is so contagious. Laughter moves beyond the superficiality of words right to our souls, moving all pretense and guard aside.

I’m always amazed at the extreme power of laughter; people laughing just in response to someone else’s laughter. I remember a time when my husband, daughter, and I were watching a silly movie. The premise was a bit far-fetched, but we liked the actor, Bill Murray, in the film. He inherited a circus elephant and wanted to take it across country to sell it to a zoo. In one scene, he was driving an 18-wheeler, which he did not know how to drive, with the elephant in the trailer. In the cab, he had several boxes of candy that he was feeding to the elephant, since he didn’t know what else to feed the animal and of course he experienced one series of hysterical mishaps after another!

I laughed so hard—it was one of the funniest scenes I ever saw! What was even funnier was how hard my husband and daughter were laughing at my reaction. They did not find the scene as hysterical as I did, but my deep belly, soulful laughter was so contagious that all three of us were rolling on the floor, in tears. Laughter goes to the core, infecting those within its path.

When was the last time you had a good, deep belly laugh?

As always, I love hearing your stories!

With love,

Filed Under: ActionCooperationCultureTagged With: (appropriate humor in the workplace)(benefits of humor in the workplace)(change intelligence)(emotional intelligence)(government leadership solutions)(government leadership)(humor and leadership)(humor in the workplace articles)(humor in the workplace presentation)(humor in the workplace quotes)(humor in the workplace videos)(leading with humor)(local government)(love-based leadership development)(millennial management)(organizational culture)change managementDr. Maria Church