Tighten Your Budget Belt, maybe but It’s Time to Change Your Financial Pants!

How many times have we heard the phrase “well, we have to tighten our belt,” or “do more with less”…it’s so yesterday. A number of government leaders today approach problem-solving with the same old tools they’ve always used, and guess what, they’re not having the impact they once did. Progressive and aggressive leaders are translating the headwinds they face into a tailwind by utilizing entrepreneurial tactics to disrupt the bureacratic gravity which often suppresses positive change. Sara Hensley, the dynamite Parks and Rec Director for the City of Austin, Texas chose to contract with the local YMCA to operate a Rec Center the city was opening. This is a dramatic shift from the “we’ve always done it that way” which advocates the only way to address community issues is with employing more government employees. Not so fast! Granted, every agency has more than their share of archaic procurement policies which are often barriers to “doing things different and doing different things” but they can be overcome with the right mix of political will and leadership currency. I’ve worked with Sara and a number of other forward thinkers who believe government’s role is expanding but recognize that doesn’t have to mean more government employees. These people are members of the creative class who advocate innovation not just in theory but in real-life application. We need to identify and support these government disrupters and scout for more to add to the team responsible for helping their organizations “get better all the time.”

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