The County Voice

CSAC Institute Focuses on County Leadership and Adaptive Change Amid COVID-19 Crisis

We are in times that hardly could have been anticipated. Yet we hope the practices, tools and knowledge gained through CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government courses have helped county executives, elected officials and managers better respond to the challenges.

COVID-19 is presenting us with both technical and adaptive challenges. There is a plethora of valuable technical information coming from every county, and CSAC is maintaining a comprehensive COVID-19 resources webpage with current county, state and federal information.

Adaptive Challenges Require Adaptive Change … and Leadership

This is an adaptive challenge as well; requiring us rethink our work and change habits, beliefs, hearts, and minds. Adaptive change is complex because it involves people … and people are complex.

There is also opportunity with adaptive challenges. We have already seen counties across the state unleash incredible innovation and creativity in responding to the pandemic: speeding the hire of critical positions, sharing resources, procuring supplies and services, moving services on line, transparently communicating with communities, integrating data across departments … and the list goes on. Organizational resiliency includes the uncanny ability to innovate and re-imagine county business practices … not just adapting to the new environment, but reshaping it. This is the time to bring together staff from across the county organization to find new, creative ways to provide current and new services.

Creativity and imagination, however, are among the hardest things to keep alive under pressure. Some tips for cultivating imagination and leadership in adaptive change:

  1. Carve out time for self-reflection. Step away and look broadly at what is happening.
  2. Ask questions; listen carefully to what you hear.
  3. Use teams to share ideas across disciplines.
  4. Seek out the unexpected; look for things that don’t fit and consider how it could entertain a different course of action for you.
  5. Encourage experimentation. This is the time to try new ideas, learn and make them better

New Select Resources from CSAC Institute Faculty

Addressing adaptive challenges and change requires the exercise of leadership. To that end, the CSAC Institute has created its own webpage with a carefully curated selection of resources for these times. Many have been written in the last month by Institute faculty specifically to address county leadership in these times.

We will constantly update this page throughout the response and recovery to the Coronavirus pandemic. In particular expect to see more resources on leadership in a recovery as we move forward.

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