How to Create Empowering Workplaces for Local Government Employees

Glenn Akramoff, CEO, Founder & Lead Consultant, AKRAMOFF

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Glenn is a leading expert in rehabilitating and revitalizing municipal government workplaces. With over three decades of experience, His commitment to building purpose-driven workplaces has made him a sought-after authority in workplace culture, human-centered workplaces, building winning teams, generational opportunities, and local government operations.

Glenn Akramoff, an expert in rehabilitating and revitalizing municipal government workplaces, discusses how to create a positive and empowering work environment for local government employees, the importance of purpose-driven culture in local government, and how it serves the community. He explains the structure and function of local government and its role in providing essential services to the community, and he also addresses the challenges and improvements needed in local government, including transitioning from activist to governing behaviors and overcoming resistance to change.

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04:27 Characteristics of Local Government Employees

07:53 Supporting Cultural Initiatives in Local Government

11:34 The Role of Local Government

16:08 Transitioning from Activist to Governing

19:40 Empowering Local Government Employees

25:51 Making Local Government Exciting

28:40 Protecting Local Government

31:47 Challenges in Local Government

33:19 Changing the Culture of Local Government

Tom Finn (00:01.168)

Welcome, welcome into the show, my friends. Today we are sitting down with Glenn Akramoff. Glenn, welcome to the show, my man.

Glenn Akramoff (00:08.994)

Thanks for having me, I appreciate being here.

Tom Finn (00:11.548)

Well, I am going to appreciate listening to you today because this is a topic that we do not typically dive into and something that people really need to understand. So let me take a moment to introduce you to Glenn and his background in municipal government workplaces. He's a leading expert in rehabilitating and revitalizing municipal government workplaces. And this is critically important for all of us to understand. He has over three decades of experience, his commitment to building purpose-driven workplaces has made him a sought after authority in the workplace culture space, in human-centered workplaces, building winning teams. He works through generational opportunities, and of course, local government operations. So let's start right there. What does purpose-driven culture mean in local government?

Glenn Akramoff (01:05.918)

Well, I think where it starts is that each of us as human beings have a purpose. Many of us have not found it yet, but we have one. All businesses serve human beings. That's basically why they're put on the planet. But in particular, local government, that is what they do.

They don't make money, they serve people, and they serve the community they're in. Which is why it's really cool to be in a local government, because you're in the community that you're serving, unlike state and federal government. Not that they do a bad job and don't do purpose-driven too, but certainly in local government that's where it comes from, and it's very rewarding.

Tom Finn (01:53.748)

So give us an example of what local government is. For those that aren't familiar with the structure of how our federal, state, and local works in terms of taxes and how we support schools and infrastructure and those types of things, how does that all work?

Glenn Akramoff (02:08.27)

Sure. So, everything gets a little smaller. So, when you're talking about taxes, so you're talking about revenue, let's start there. The bulk of your taxes end up in federal, then state, then county, and then a small percentage end up in the local government. So you're talking somewhere between 5% and 10%, depending on what state you're in, of the taxes you're paying end up in your local government.

However, that's the one that impacts you the most. They take care of the streets that are right there that you use, not the freeways, but they take care of those, your street in front of your house, the park down the street they take care of, they run the pool, they provide police and fire, all come from those local, that local revenue. They're all working to serve you. All of the folks who take care of how your… you know, your business, when you're doing something to your home and you get a permit, all the community development people, they all are funded by that as well. When the development down the road is being put in, they're making sure that it's done to standards so that you can be safe and everything can be okay. So that's really what local government does. And when you go into City Hall, it's not a building. It's those people that are that are aiming to serve you.

Tom Finn (03:39.836)

Yeah, beautifully said. And maybe one other piece is in many places, the marinas when you're on the water too, right? For certain local governments, if there is a marina nearby, if you're lucky enough to live by a coast, usually the city government has some sort of jurisdiction over the slips and how that's managed and because it's all connected right to the land that they, they support as well. So local government can help with the water as well.

Glenn Akramoff (03:47.138)

Yeah. They run many airports as well.

Tom Finn (04:09.788)

Yeah. Well said. Well said. So when we think about local government and we think about people that go into jobs at local government, what, what type of people are going into these roles to be in a local government environment?

Glenn Akramoff (04:27.135)

People with a service heart, because the reputation is, and some of it's true, that you don't get a lot of positive feedback when you go into local government, police and fire aside. You don't get that love every day. You do get it, by the way. There are people who are very appreciative about everything that everyone does, but you don't always get that- that love. So you have to have a servant heart and know that you're here to make a difference in your community. And this is something that I talk about regularly. The community is not created or the energy behind the community is not created by the elected officials. It's not by the community itself. It is run through the staff that serves you.

And so if their energy is high and they're feeling empowered to serve you, your community will thrive. If it's not, it won't. It won't. And it's that simple. And if you look at any number of communities, you want to go into any community today, you can look right to that factor and see that is true.

Tom Finn (05:44.564)

So how do we make sure that our city halls on the inside feel vibrant and they feel like there's a high level of energy and the output is supporting all of us in our local community?

Glenn Akramoff (05:58.998)

Well, I think we talked about it starts with the purpose. The people who are serving you need to be have their personal purpose consistent with what the purpose of the government is, is to serve. So that's one. The other is, is that they have to have a way to innovate. Government is not known to innovate, as we know, but it does. There's a lot of innovation that goes on behind the scenes that things that are created, some of them are in the market people are making a lot of money that were innovated in local government in particular. So you've got to be able to have a place where people can be happy and healthy and just like any culture in any organization it has to have a positive way to go which means the leadership has to be well educated on how to be great leaders they need to be strong.

That's where there is no difference. Culture is the same in every organization. The techniques that are there are very important. There needs to be a sense of team. But what I love about the, particularly the new generations getting into some generational stuff, is that they demand that their work be purposeful. And it is almost impossible to do something in local government without having a purpose and serving someone while you're doing it.

So that is there. We just need to make sure that people know how important that role is and their biggest and what their impacts really are.

Tom Finn (07:32.628)

So you worked in local government for many, many years. What is one thing that we as just, the general population outside of the local or state or county or fed government, not in government jobs, what can we do to support these type of correct cultural initiatives?

Glenn Akramoff (07:53.506)

For us is it's we don't the government employee doesn't need a lot of accolades. They'll actually tell you that They'll say I don't need accolades. This is my job. That is a theme that and they take that very seriously but it is it is really nice to be Respected you don't have to love us. You don't have to say hey you do great work you just have to show respect when you call in, even though you're frustrated. We're there to serve you. We want to fix your problem. That's our number one goal. When you call in, when you say, I got this problem, we want to fix it. We have rules and regulations and all these things that can get in our way, but we will find a way to help you. And so if you come at us at the beginning and just, just be respectful, you can be angry, we're used to that and we totally know that, but if you're respectful towards us we will go beyond anything that you've ever seen to serve you. That's what we do.

Tom Finn (08:56.584)

Man, I love that. And being respectful doesn't have to be that hard. We can call into our local city team and be respectful of whatever the thing is that we need fixed. I'm with you 100%. There's really no need to cross the line. It's not the person on the end of the phone that likely caused the issue that you're dealing with.

Glenn Akramoff (09:06.966)

Yeah. Yep. No, they're just- they're just transferring the message. 

Tom Finn (09:18.96)

Yeah. What, what are the biggest things that we see as issues in local government that a team and city hall teams you've, you've led and worked with, what is sort of the biggest items, give me the top three items that we see in city government as issues being brought up by the community.

Glenn Akramoff 

Um, well, it, it varies a little bit from, from place to place because you have, you have different things. But number one is definitely all cities were really formed because of land use. So all your regulations on what you, what building, what business, what, where you put schools, all that stuff is why cities were formed. And the new cities that you see, that's why they want control. The community wants control over those, that decision making. So that's, that's a big one. Day in, day out. People want that. Your, your emergency services are right up there as well. You know, when you, when you want to have a local policeman or a local fireman show up, you also, if you live in a place, um, where it snows or. or big rain storms or hurricanes, you wanna make sure that your public works people are going to be able to keep your roads open and get you to the grocery store, get you wherever you need to go. So those are, when you're looking at that, the emergency services are definitely the second one. And then I think the other thing is kind of the quality of life items. which I would put in parks and your walkability or your community and those sort of things, that's what we do and we do them because no one can make money at them, right? If the market could do that and make money at it, they'd be doing it, but they can't. So it's those sort of things that we're there for. And I will say that that's part of the pride. that comes from it is we do things that other people don't, including the regulation piece, which is not always fun, but it has its purpose for safety and well-being as well.

Tom Finn (11:34.368)

Well that sounds very straightforward. We've got to make sure that our city and local governments take care of the real estate, the land, the fire, police and additional services to keep everybody safe. And then some of the, you know, general parks and recreation components that make a community a community. That seems pretty straightforward. And thank you to all the local city workers out there that are taking care of all these things for us. Appreciate the great work that you do. So if those are the good things, what are the absolute things that needed to be fixed in local governments that you have just, over the 30 years of looking at this, gone, oh, I just wish, if I had a magic wand and I could change a couple of things, I would change these things.

Glenn Akramoff:

Well, I think number one, and it's gotten really difficult, is that when the elected officials and it's not that they're not, don't have great intentions and aren't working hard because I'm over my 30 years, I've seen some incredible people put in. incredible effort. And that's the other thing when you see your city council member up there talking and you know on the dais or you're watching it on video, they've done a ton of work just to get there to be able to speak intelligently about the issues. So I have a lot of respect for elected officials but at times they come in order to get elected a lot of times you need to be an activist and that's how you get There's a big difference between being an activist and governing. And a lot of them never don't make the switch or slow to make the switch. And so they're used to, you know, getting on the staff and, and for, and sometimes for very good reasons. And then when they get on the council and they're part of the team and their part can have a really influence on the decision, they're still being an activist. And so that's one thing that if I could, you know, and I do everything I can to help, um, elected officials because again, it's a really hard, hard deal to be up there in front of everybody and making comments and being ridiculed by at least 50% every time.

So but I think that's the big thing is that they do learn most of them learn that, hey, we got to do the right thing. And sometimes the right thing hurts. And some of the decisions people aren't going to lie. But that activism to governing is definitely the top issue that I've seen. The other one, I think, is the fact that, and this is part of my work, is that a lot of people, when they get into government, they're told two things. One, it's a great job. You don't ever want to leave it, which is 100% not true. And then the second thing is that you've got to serve a 30-year career, right? You've got to serve the whole time. and you've got to do it this way and all this stuff. And to me, people get caught up in the fact, it takes a certain type of person to be able to do this work and to do it for a long time. And sometimes you're not going to do it for a long time and it's okay. You have to do what's right for you so that you can serve and have the right energy. A lot of people get stuck, they get beat down. They feel like they can't leave. They feel like they're stuck. And then they deteriorate. And you hear a lot about local government, the whole leaning on the shovels and it takes 20 guys and all that stuff. Most of the people aren't like that, but there's a percentage of them. And it's not all just because they're lazy or anything like that. They get burned out. They are in the wrong place. We make assumptions about that, but it's not. And so it's okay to serve 15 years in local government and then go find something else to do, right? It's okay to do that. You've done your part, you've done your best. And when you know you're done, be done. And that's what happens is people feel like they're stuck and then you can, and when you interact with them as a customer, you know it. And they know it too. And I think that's, to me that's the bit. Those two are the biggest issues I see.

Tom Finn (16:08.672)

So let's, let's double click on both of those for a second. Let's start where you left off and then we'll go to activists versus govern. So where you left off though, is not unique to local government. Um, it's behaviors of, I can't change. I can't get out of this almost that claustrophobic mentality of, I don't have any other gifts or skills to give the world and I don't have anywhere else to go, so I'm just going to stay here and do a bad job and sort of be a bit of a wrench in everybody's day and drive everybody a little bit bonkers because you can't fire me. So I'm just going to do that for another decade and a half. So how do we help those folks? How do we get around this and say, it's okay, how do we give them support, tools, resources to find the next gig to lift up their life because they're human beings just like the rest of us?

Glenn Akramoff:

Right. I think that's the part that's the work that got me into this is that first of all, a lot of times, no one says anything to those people. They don't they're afraid to say that you're thinking that. So as a leader, I believe that as a leader, you need to see that and you need to address it. And I don't mean address it by disposing of the human being. That's a rule I have. You call me in i'm not going to dispose of human beings i'm going to help them get to where they need to go And that is so It sounds you know, everyone's like it's so hard. It's not an easy conversation the first time But I have done it tons of times where I say to someone You know, you don't look very happy and you clearly aren't doing Doing the job that the way it needs to be done What what's going on and the the? the answer 95% of the time is I'm so glad someone noticed. Wow. I really just, yeah, I just, everyone tells me I should stay here and I hate it and I don't want to be here. And then you go down the road. Okay, let's talk about your skillset. Let's talk about expanding your skillset if you need to. The other thing I found is that a lot of times they're, they found another part of their life where they're using the skills they love. And they never even bring them to work. And no one asks them about them. So that's what I ask. What do you love to do? What's fun for you? And then we explore it. And then a lot of times, if you're in a mid-sized to larger organization, you can find a place for them on your team, one of your teams. If you can't, then as a leader, I find them a place to go. I help them get a job somewhere that they love. And, Amazing how your morale goes up. One, when someone goes to be happy, but when everyone sees a leader in your organization, take that much effort to help someone thrive. The momentum in your organization, even if they leave, is you can't, it gets rolling, you can't stop it. And that impacts your bottom line if you're out there, it impacts your customer experience. tremendously. And then, like I say, that's the first step in becoming a championship organization.

Tom Finn (19:40.092)

Yeah, it's critical. You got to have the right cheeks and the right seats. Whether you're in a private organization, publicly traded, or certainly, as we're talking about local government, it's so important that everybody feels like they are in the right place at the right time in their life. And they can deliver to the best of their ability to the job, to the culture, to the other coworkers, to the community in a way that's meaningful to them. Absolutely critical in local government. So I'm glad, I'm glad you brought that up.

I want to go to the first thing you said, which was activist to govern. So you talked about somebody coming in and being elected and elected official, being an activist to be able to really get elected in the first place. And then this transition between behaviors of an activist and behaviors of somebody who governs. Help us understand what are the behaviors of an activist that perhaps don't fly? In the world of governing once you get on the city council. Like walk us through the behaviors, what you've seen, help us understand what that looks like.

Glenn Akramoff:

Certainly. The first one is the we versus them thing. You are now, you got elected. You're now part of the them. And and you now have a say so on how things go. That's a very powerful and very responsible thing. And as elected official, you have to represent everyone, not just the group that listened to your activism. So that's the first one. And I just witnessed this a couple of weeks ago in an organization where someone had just freshly got elected and she'd run a... fantastic campaign, but the first thing she said from the dais was, um, you need to do this, not we, you know, she, she just totally lost the concept that it, wait a minute, I'm part of this unit and I, and that's the next piece. You now, you know, depending on where you are somewhere between three and nine, generally, uh, other board member, council member, commissioners, um, you have to work with them. And they, in order to make good policy, and they are not, you know, they may be on the same side of activism as you are, or on the totally opposite side. And so, you have to be able to work with them to get good policy through. And you can see on the national level, it's how poorly it can be done. I will say in the local level, it tends to be, it can be just as divisive. but it tends not to be because you're talking to your neighbors right across the dais. So I think that's a big part. So those two are big ones. And I think the next one is doing the work. This is one of those, I didn't mention this in kind of the issues, but really great council members. And as a staff member, I don't care what their opinion is as far as what side of the aisle or whatever, it doesn't matter to me. I want them to be able to talk about policy and I want them to come prepared. So that when I spend three weeks preparing a bunch of information to be able to help them make a good policy decision, and I don't care what the decision is, that's the other part, is I don't. I will implement the policy that you tell me to because that's what we do. And I joke that with a lot of the people I've worked with is I can implement bad policy. just as good as I can, good. But I'm gonna tell my jobs to tell you that it's bad policy and why. And so I think that's the other part is that understanding that, doing the work as an activist, you tend to be anti something, not always. You voice it anti, but there's a, hey, I'm for this in the background. You gotta reverse it in the other way. I'm for what's best for the community. And these are the things that I, you know, so that's, you got that attitude of reversal. And it's not easy. I mean, you get, you do an election in November and then you're, you're sitting at, you're sworn in January. You got to make that switch in just that couple of months. That's a lot. And I would say to them, you don't need to make it that fast. You just need to know you need to make it and you need to learn what you need to learn when you get all the inside information. That's the other part. You now are going to have inside information, not because it's hidden, but because you're exposed to it at a much, much more in depth level. Um, and so you're going to have an intense understanding of, of issues that not everybody does. And, and in order to really get there to be able to make good policy and be in government, that's where you need to go.

Tom Finn (24:51.6)

I love the advice here. If you're a new city council member, change your language from you to we on day one, just get that through your brain, that it's the we collective and then work with other council members to make great policy. And if you can't make great policy, make good policy. If you can't make good policy, well, make some bad policy and Glenn will implement it for you anyway.

Glenn Akramoff:

That's right. You gotta start somewhere. Sometimes it just needs a policy. That's right.

Tom Finn (25:21.992)

That's right. You can always change it later with any luck. So as you think about local government and you think about the future of local government, is there anything exciting in local government? It feels very methodical and steeped in rich heritage and history for as long as that city's been around. Land doesn't move a whole lot unless you're in California and the ground shakes, but it's usually only a few seconds. So how do we actually make these roles, these, how we make this exciting so that people want to get into really smart and bright people that are passionate and have purpose, want to get into government roles.

Glenn Akramoff:

Right. So I think one is technology is having a big impact. We are slow to implement and we need to get faster. And the way we're going to get faster is to have young people come into the business who understand technology and how it works and can help that happen faster. And government needs to innovate. The other part is we're rebuilding our country. Let's take the freeways for example. They were initially built in the 50s and now they're being rebuilt. The bridges are being rebuilt and all that stuff. And we're using new technology. We're focused on environmental impacts a lot more than when they built them in 1950. So we have a lot of people who are coming in on the environmental side because you can have a. a big impact on a community based on just educating them and using pro environmental techniques. The other part is that policies are, so many of the policies are antiquated, not because they want to stay behind, but because there's a lot of work to do. That's something I wanted to mention is that staffs used to be very robust, let's put it that way. on the local level, they're not anymore. They've been trimmed with all the budget cuts and everything and there's not a lot of fat in most of these organizations anymore. So they're focused on what they need to be able to do. So what's exciting to me is now it's time to refine the mission and get very specific about what we're supposed to be doing because we can't do everything. We tried to do it for a number of years and for early years it worked because there wasn't as much to do. Now there's a lot to do. The other part is there's been a lot of regulation put in place. A lot of it's positive and has really good intentions. But when we're talking about poor policy, a lot of it was done poorly. And so there's an opportunity to kind of revamp how government works. The other part is government tends to, has gotten in a habit over the last, let's say 25 years, maybe a little longer, of serving itself. And so we have an opportunity to switch that and, and where, where we're not protecting, you know, we're not protecting ourselves. We're actually going back to full service again and serving people and not, not feeling like we've got to protect ourselves. And that goes with-

Tom Finn (28:40.18)

What does that mean? What does that mean Glenn? Sorry to interrupt you, but like what is, what is protecting yourself actually mean? Government has gotten into the mode of protecting itself. Like how should we actually take that?

Glenn Akramoff:

Well, um, I had mentioned the budget cuts now, you know, and there's a lot of people out there who say, and I don't disagree, right? There's, there's places where there's fat, but everyone assumes that there's fat. So a lot of people over the last 20 years, 2025 years have seen friends of theirs lose their jobs and go away. And then they were left to absorb whatever work was there. And so some have done it really well, some have not, but that's what happens. And so you have this anti-government philosophy that is out there and it's prevalent today, we know that. And I think that's okay, but that's where people think it's us against them and they start protecting themselves. So they won't. You see a lot of people not innovate, not take risk, not go the 10th power to be able to serve someone that they used to. Now there are still people who are doing it, but it's much thinner. And why? Because they feel like they're going to get beat up, they're going to lose their jobs for taking risks and doing those sort of things. So. Facebook You know, I'm gonna use Facebook, but it's social media has now become an Attack piece a place for attacks on local government. So they feel like they read it I think that's the thing you're gonna need to understand is that they're reading it So when you trash somebody you take a personal attack, they're reading it and it does hurt them Wow, and I mean that's the human part of this and So we've also come to, because elected officials do listen to it as well, we tend to start to govern by Facebook is what I call it. And, and so we're not making good policy. We're, we're, we're believing that this employee is an awful employee because one person said so on Facebook. So they feel like they got to protect themselves. And now they, that's what they spend their day doing is, well, what if I do this? Will I keep my job? Well, you know, those are the questions they're asking instead of saying, how can I serve you? I want to serve you. I'm here for you. And it's a real part of local government in particular. And I would say that's all through government. All all levels are dealing with that at a high level. And and I've watched that wreak havoc with coworkers and with government workers. And and a lot of times that's where what I find. That's one of the things I find when I go into a toxic work. place this local government is they're all protecting each other sometimes from each other, but a lot of times from the public, or so they feel.

Tom Finn (31:47.696)

Yeah, I think that's what we think on the outside looking in. I mean, if I were to go ask a group of business folks, what do you think of government? They'd say slow to adopt technology, slow to move, can't innovate. And oh, by the way, everybody's just CYA, right? Just covering their bottoms everywhere they go saying no to things that are fabulous ideas that take no money to implement that would really help the community, but it's a nope, because it might come back to haunt me and I just want my 2.5% pay raise and to keep kicking the can down the road. I think that's what a lot of people think, Glenn. I mean, you're just sort of speaking truth here, but what I'm hearing you say is... My goodness, there are some of those people that exist, so you're not that far off base.

Glenn Akramoff:

I mean, if I if I were to go ask, you know, a group of business folks, what do you think of government that say slow to adopt technology, slow to move, can't innovate. And oh, by the way, everybody's just CYA. that right just covering their bottoms. Yep. Everywhere they go saying no to things that are fabulous ideas that take no money to implement that would really help the community but it's a nope, because it might come back to haunt me. And I just want my 2.5% pay raise and to keep kicking the can down the road. Yeah, that's what a lot of people think. I mean, you're just sort of speaking truth here. Oh, yeah. What I'm hearing you say is, my goodness, there are some of those people that exist, so you're not that far off base. Right. Yeah. And I think that's government and that's what I meant by serving and serving itself is the default is no. Yeah. And so when I go into an organization, that's the first thing I try to change is let's change the no default. Let's try to say yes. And there are tons of people out there in local government working that angle. But how do we get to a yes? And yes needs to be, and you can say, I don't know is a better answer than no.

Tom Finn (33:19.74)

Yep. Yeah. I don't know is, is actually a fair answer, uh, for most of the time. If you need more information, more data, more evidence, whatever it is, I don't know is, is an okay answer, but I think people feel like yes and no being closed ended as they are is the only answer that they should be using and it's, it's not true. Um, all right. So you're in, you're in an organization. Let's say you're consulting, you're, you're going in with these folks and you're- you're sitting down, you're getting to know everybody and, and it's a no organization, clearly a no organization. They just say no to everything. How do you actually get them to open their minds culturally? Is it fear that they're you've got to overcome? What's what's the behavior that we've got to cut through?

Glenn Akramoff:

Yeah, it starts with fear And sometimes that's internal fear. Sometimes it's external, depends on, you know, how healthy the community is and how things are going. But a lot of times it's they don't know what their purpose is. What what I mean, I work a lot with frontline employees and in operations. So maintenance workers, a lot of times they're out there grinding, they're doing what they do and they don't know why. I don't know what, why am I doing this? Right. Did this person complain and I'm fulfilling the complaint? No, no, you're not. If you're taking care of the roads, or you're taking care of the water, or you're taking care of the sewer, it's a safety issue. People rely on you to live, and they don't know that. So I think that the first thing is that, is where's the fear coming from? And if it's coming from a leader, a bad leader, then we address that, and we work through that, whatever that means. If it's coming from the community or some habits or some cultural stuff that shows up. And a lot of times, I talk a lot about unwritten rules. Government is fraught with unwritten rules. We've got the written ones and everyone tries to follow those, but the unwritten ones are the corruptible ones because no one writes them down. And oh, I see I can take advantage of that unwritten rule and make it serve me personally. And so we find those in there. And that's usually where some of the fear is. And a lot of times it's a poor employee or a poor manager or... a poor team at times and so you go in there and you find where the fear is and then you come up with a strategy to eliminate it and Then you keep working in a positive way with everyone until they accept that they're they are an important human being and their job is important and You know Empowerments come a real buzzword for sure and I try not to use it, but I don't know how to better describe how you go about doing that because the frontline people that are serving the community are the ones who need to be able to make the most decisions, the most impactful decisions. And you need to eliminate the fear so they can do that. And when, and define their parameters. This is where I am. Not a default, no, not a default to my supervisor. I can make this decision and yes, I will make sure this is done for you. That's a big part of it. The other part is, is teaching them that you don't pass anybody around. When a customer comes to you and you're on the street and they say, hey, I know you're working on my street, but I have a water problem. Okay, I know who to talk to. Here's the person you talk to. If they don't get back to you in a week, here's my number, call me. So you take possession of the customer. In government, once you do that, then you want them to say, hey, I got it. I got a gal over here in public works. I got a, my guy is the fireman. I got a guy in fire, right? That's what you want them to say. Because then they take possession of you as local government and you win. Now you can serve them. They become an advocate for you. Community starts to build. And you start that right from that fear at the beginning of going into an organization.

Tom Finn (37:33.928)

I love the way you're looking at these problems and solving them with an open mind and an open heart. And albeit empowerment might be a buzzword, Glenn, it's a damn good one. And if I do say so myself, I did name a company and a podcast after it. So I absolutely believe in it, in empowering people and lifting people up and doing things the right way. And it sounds like you're doing your best to do that in terms of local government and and social impact and those types of things. So I wanna know from your perspective, what are the economic differences between these local governments? Because I think it's hard to have these conversations without, you know, my goodness gracious, I'm blessed enough to live in Newport Beach, California. I have a fantastic city council. I have a fantastic local government. Our fire, our police are absolutely excellent. Our roads are fantastic.

Our parks are beautiful. Um, we're very, very blessed to have a fully operational, uh, local government that is in the community. Vocal supportive listens. Um, I'm sure they're not perfect, but like any of us, but they do their darnedest to do the right thing every day. And, and so I juxtapose that against some communities that are very rural, that don't have a lot of revenue on the revenue side or that are inner city. Right. That don't have a lot of the same support structures that we have here. How do you balance this with these different economic components in local government?

Glenn Akramoff:

Yeah, that is definitely a challenge and I've worked in and with communities on both far ends of the spectrum. I worked in a community that's ranked in the top 10 in the country and I've worked with one, a couple that have been are considered, you know, some of the poorest. I actually worked in one where we had to worry about making payroll because there was just no revenue to serve. So it is varied. I think that the key thing, it becomes more important as the revenue is not there, that the staff be empowered and be able to innovate because you've got to make a dollar go a lot farther. you're going to get paid less to do it and you're going to be You know you're going to be able your not your equipment's not going to be good as good your Technology is not going to be as caught up all of those things so you have to and you're gonna have to do Ten major functions rather than one you're not going to be as specialized which For some people, they do magic in some of these communities. It's just amazing. They do 25 things. They wear 15 hats. And they work 60 hours a week, and they love every minute of it. And I think that's part of it. The other part is that you know when you work for a poor community, when you walk out and you see and you mow the grass or you do something you give a rec activity that they only get to fund five of them a year, you know how big an impact it is and you know how many much they enjoy. You can see, you can see the pleasure of their eyes. Love to talk with my hands. Um, but, um, you can see the pleasure. So there is that, right? You get fed differently. Um, and it takes it, you know, it takes special people to do all of this work. Um, but It is difficult and it's really difficult on the leaders and the elected officials because they have, you know, they got to make a dime go for a dollar and they just, it's hard and they make tough decisions and they've got to say no because they can't afford it. But I think that's really where it comes to. That's why if you go to rural communities now with small staffs, a city that maybe has eight or nine staff, They aren't toxic. They can't afford to be. And it's when you go in there to work with them at all, it is you leave energized because they are doing it for the love of doing it.

Tom Finn (42:09.82)

Yeah, I love it. I love it, Glenn. Thank you for the work that you've done in public service, uh, for our communities and supporting people, uh, in your neck of the woods and then supporting others now around the country with the consulting work that you do. And the, um, the support of sort of bringing the right message around culture and behaviors and teaching people that, uh, it's okay if you want to leave, it's okay, you don't have to stay. Let's find you the right spot. I love, I love that message. Everybody, uh, should have their cheeks in the right seats and, be it be empowered albeit maybe a buzzword Along the way as well glad if people want to find you track you down work with you If they're in local government, and they just love to connect with you and get your advice and counsel How would they go about doing that?

Glenn Akramoff:

I think that we got lots of ways, but the best way is LinkedIn. I'm on there, I'm really active. If you message me, I will, and you need something, I will answer you. And the thing I say, just to close for me, is I don't care if you implement my stuff for nothing. I want you to implement it. If you can, by all means, take it, and I'll be glad to give it to you.

Tom Finn (43:19.528)

I appreciate it. Glenn, thanks for the great work that you're doing and thanks for being on the show. Appreciate having you.

Glenn Akramoff:

Thank you, Tom.

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