Overview of how CivicExcellence came to be, and how it works!
Transcript of Video
Hi, my name is Tracey Lorenson.
I’m one of the principals of CivicExcellence. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about what CivicExcellence is and how it came about. I’ve been consulting with local governments for more than 25 years, first as a labour and employment lawyer, and for the last eight or nine years as a consultant.
In discussion with other consultants who work in the local government sector, we realized many of the questions we were asked by clients were questions their neighbours already knew the answer to. We asked ourselves, “What if there was a better way to create a community of communities to connect local governments to each other with experts alongside them?” In a way, this enabled them to use their consulting resources more appropriately, for front of the room presence or deep dives into organizations versus general advice.
At CivicExcellence, we’ve created a community of communities. It has a number of elements. The first is the online forum. There are other forums and Facebook Groups where local governments can merely connect with each other. The goal of CivicExcellence is to create a community which local governments can go back to over and over again to connect with their peers. What’s unique about it is that we’ll have experts in the areas of management skills and development, human resources, corporate communications, economic development, and asset management joining us in the forum.
You’ll have the ability not just to liaise with your peers but also have experts weighing in and pointing forum members to where communities are doing things well, examples they might use, and templates they might provide. We also have these same experts participating in our monthly members’ Q&A calls.
At each Q&A call, you can submit a question in advance or attend live and have experts – that you’d normally pay hundreds of dollars to – answer your questions in real time.
We also offer a series of blended learning courses that are either included in the all access membership or available a la carte. By blended learning, we mean bridging the gap between live training, which many local governments sectors do well, and webinars which are, I would argue, becoming dated.
Why not webinars? We’ve been delivering webinars with the local government management association in BC for eight years now and they’ve been very successful. Local governments have enjoyed the opportunity to come online, learn about a topic in a couple of hours, and connect with colleagues who are facing some of the same issues. At CivicExcellence, we’ve considered, “What if there was a better way? What if there was a way to not just share information but to introduce the ability to apply that information and stick the landing?” Many of us have been to lectures or conferences where we’ve received good content but haven’t necessarily had the time or ability to apply it back at the office.
At CivicExcellence, we offer a series of bite-sized videos that will deliver a topic and provide you with the opportunity, through answering questions or doing worksheets, to apply it back to your local government context. There will be interaction with the instructor and you can do it at your own pace, from your own workstation. This saves travel time, reduces the cost of going to live trainings, and also means that individuals can get the same training they used to have to leave the workplace for (missing a day or even multiple days) without ever taking time off work, by taking an hour here and there to complete the programming.
We also realized there was an advantage to having the same type of instruction provided to individuals at all levels throughout an organization. At CivicExcellence, our experts are experienced in liaising with council at the management level, as well as with frontline employees. We realized if we could make this affordable enough for frontline employees to master communication conflict skills, and customer service skills earlier in their employment, not only does it meet the needs of our younger generations at work, but it ensures we’re creating leaders inside every job at the management and supervisory level.
CivicExcellence will provide not just some of the same training and skills, but also tips for managers to lead discussions with their teams on the topics under discussion. And for emerging supervisors, the opportunity to take supervisory skills training before they aspire to be promoted into those roles. This allows human resource professionals to use this as one of the vetting elements, “Have you taken any supervisory courses?” so that when individuals want to be promoted from within the bargaining unit into a supervisory or management role, they can demonstrate success in a learning process as they go through the interview stages.
Finally, some of the same language around customer service, conflict, and communication will be communicated to elected officials through our elected essential series. This provides the opportunity for a common culture developed between elected officials and the organizations that are charged with carrying out their political will.
While we do encourage people to join with a membership, giving them access to an annual program where they can tap in monthly (depending on the membership a series of four to six courses), they can either be self-paced or if you want to join us an organization, we could have the whole cohort going at the same time.