Building Strategic Relationships to Strengthen Your Community Leadership

This was the second of my 2 half day sessions today and focused on strategic partnerships.  Again I met some great civic leaders from around the country.  This session actually focused quite a bit on networking and communicating in your community.

This class repeated something that I heard years ago and try to remember, and that is the need to communicate with your constituents.  This website and any other number of items including my guest columns and letters are aimed at communicating my positions and goals.

One interesting statement is that cities really have only three ways to get what they want or need.  They can build it, buy it, or partner to get it.  In Rochester we have been very progressive in doing the third.  There was also much discussion about being a good partner and this is where Rochester (and sometimes our partners) could use some work.  There have been some organizations that view partnership with the city as they make money and we supply it.  We can do better than that.

I think 2011 will begin the era of increased local partnerships.  Not just with Mayo, the University and the City, but with the county, school board, MN-DOT, local businesses.  County Commissioner Judy Ohly, in her leadership on the Library negotiations showed what a difference a responsible caring leader can make.

In the future we will need to eliminate overlap in areas like HR, IT, Finance, Parks, Libraries, Arts, Public Works, and Facilities.  In order to do this we will need trust, what we will struggle with is building that trust.  I think we are approaching a point, particularly with the City and the County where a majority are truly looking to partner.  If we can’t do these partnerships, we will end up a city that only does police, fire, and streets.  I would not want to live in that community and neither would the young talented well educated professionals that will make or break our future.

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