Five People I’d like to see working for the Council
There are some great people where I work, and to be honest some who aren’t quite so good. I enjoy working with them, but can’t think that sometimes there might be other people out there that might just be better for the job in hand in my humble opinion.
So here are five people, living, dead or fictional, who I feel would be perfect for life in local government. Any suggestions of your own are, as always, more than welcome.
Martin Luther King – Head of Public Realm
Okay, you might be asking why this position, and I’d understand your confusion. However, inspiration came from this famous quote:
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
Any man who can evangelise about the quality of street cleaning is inspiration indeed, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. Whatever job needs doing it should be done well and with pride – there is no shame in making an area a nice place to live in by keeping it clean, and they would be missed far quicker and more than a good proportion of other public sector workers (me included).
Alex Ferguson – Chief Exec
I’m probably going to lose half of Manchester and Liverpool citizens here, but let me list some of his qualities and skills:
- Clarity of direction
- Not settling for second best
- Bringing talent through the ranks
- Not suffering fools gladly
- Changing with the times
Who wouldn’t want someone like that at the helm? To be frank there are more, but that gives a flavour of the man. Yes, there are a few rough edges and things which some don’t like, but history shows that he succeeds more often than not.
Larry Page, Sergey Brin – Heads of ICT
For the less geeky out there, these two are quite literally the brains behind Google, having set it up in a garage in their home town and then taken it on to become the behemoth that it is today. However, it is not for their product that I want them, but for their attitude to development.
Google is all about making things easier for users, which in my mind is exactly what good ICT should be all about. It shouldn’t be all about “what can we possibly do”, instead it should be more about “what needs doing and how can ICT make the job easier”.
They also have a policy of trying new things, some of which work better than others. Employees are encouraged to develop their own ideas and projects and see if they work. If they get enough traction they then get further support and eventually a proper launch; if not they get praise for trying something different and the chance to work on something else. Local Government could do a lot worse than follow this example.
Mary Poppins – any frontline service
Those who engage with the public on a day to day basis have my utmost respect. They are the first line of attack for people with a gripe or grievance, and bear the brunt of people’s woes with a stoicism most can only dream of.
Who better then to be the first person the public sees than Mary Poppins? Unfailingly polite, firm but fair and with an exquisite speaking voice, she would do everything needed to not only fix your problem but make you feel a whole lot better during the process.
She also has the ability to make a room full of strangers burst into song and dance; what Council waiting room wouldn’t be made better with a song or two?!
Stephen Fry – Head of Comms
Comms is a funny business. You need to be able to accurately and concisely impart information and advice to local people whilst avoiding accusations of spin and bias – no mean feat. You also need to engender a sense of trust in you, as if they can’t believe you as a person then they will never accept what you are saying.
Step forward Mr Fry, a true national institution with a vocabulary and wit that would put Oscar Wilde to shame (or at least give him a true run for his money). The Norfolk roaming genius is able to engage with every person at every level of society, and draws meaning out of madness in the most abstract of situations.
He is also a keen user of whatever technology is required to get the message across. Comfortable with everything from the quill to the tweet, he is a true renaissance man when it comes to communication, and is able to quickly grasp a concept, understand the audience and intuitively know the best way of communicating one to the other. Perfick.