Two roads running parallel yet at the core have seemingly vastly different tactics to reach the end destination. Initially looking into Influential U, I was skeptical about how a course focused on business professionals with eyes on growth and individual promotion correlated with my career in city government. What brought me in was the discussion about personalities and how I would learn more about interacting successfully to help influence a department or city objective. Not only did the fundamentals teach me just that, but through every session, I gleaned tools that have helped me become an efficient, effective, functional team player who can (and has) exceeded personal and professional goals.
Dysfunction and Trust
Community members often look at the government and think they see the breakdowns, how departments don’t communicate, how everyone isn’t on the same page, how you can get different answers from different people, and that dysfunction is at the core. There is a strong level of distrust built from past experiences. The machine needs to be well-oiled for the public to notice the change and have that confidence rebuilt. Influential U’s content creates individuals, creates employees who are more aware of these breakdowns, can see them before they happen, and work to find solutions that bring everyone ahead. When employees gain confidence and feel secure in their expertise, when an environment of ambitious individuals work with each other to push forward on mutually accepted aims, the outcome will be a strong, happy, and productive workforce that will be inspiring and motivating. That then spreads throughout the community through changing reputation.
One of the greatest lessons to learn is to become aware of those you work with and their personalities. Understanding the multitude of personalities and the keys to interacting with each one helps strengthen interdepartmental relationships and guides the creation of cohesive teams that work symbiotically towards mutual goals. With this knowledge, I can better see where coworkers fit in a project, where they can shine, and where they provide their best work because it aligns with their most vital biological skill set. Just like departments have different roles, people’s personalities do as well. When creating a program or recommendation, it is critical to bring a representative of each personality into the room to brainstorm. The outcome then becomes stronger, seamless, and attracts acceptance.
The strongest ask for help
Many people have difficulty accepting help, which is valid for many in public sector work. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that one person cannot do everything expertly well, that maybe someone else can do it better, and then the self-talk comes in that says that if help is required, then it means that something is lacking. How can you prove yourself if you need others? Does that not show weakness? Taking this course has revealed the opposite is true. Those who are the strongest ask for help, know, in turn, when and how to give support to benefit not just the other party but themselves, and how to surround themselves with a group of people who continuously push each other to reach more significant aims. Being able to reset this thinking is precious to me individually and the community because the fulfilled objectives are solid.
With the tools provided by Influential U, I have built a strong understanding of my personality. I trust myself, I lean into my specialized knowledge, and I carry myself with a level of confidence that others see. Imagine a whole department, division, workforce, insert business here, who all have this same sense of self and know how to communicate and read each other effectively. It is in all of us; we just have to open ourselves up to learning, reaching higher, and mentally devouring Influential U content.
By Meredith Hart
Economic Development Manager at City of Ventura, CA
Listen to the Influential U Podcast with guest Meredith Hart