Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2nd Dispatch from the Chamber of Secrets

The Richardson City Council has been meeting in secret to set the council's vision, mission, goals, strategies, and tactics for its two-year term. There's no video. There are no minutes. There were three members of the public at the second meeting. As far as I can tell, my dispatches are all that's available about what went on in the second secret meeting.

Even though the meeting was open to the public, good luck on finding it if you just walked in the door to City Hall. There were certainly no directions like the prominent signs directing the public to the Council Chambers to view video of the work session that was held beforehand in the Richardson Room. The Richardson Room is large enough to hold quite a few members of the public, but that's another issue. Knowing what was up, not that anyone told us, we exited the Council Chambers when the work session in the Richardson Room adjourned, and followed the Council members past the gate limiting access to the stairs, past the sign saying there are no public rooms upstairs, along the upstairs hallway, through a door to an upstairs lobby, through a locked door at the back of that lobby, down an interior hall, then into the City Manager's private conference room.

Nice room. Nothing lavish, mind you. Not even executive conference room lavish. More like many other corporate conference rooms everywhere. The first thing I noticed was the huge display screen at the end of the conference table, or rather the camera attached to the top of the screen. This room is obviously set up for video conferences. So it ought to be a simple matter of just turning on that camera and video-casting the meeting. That is, if the City Council had any desire to do that. But we covered all that in the last dispatch.

During one of the breaks, the Mayor offered the three visitors a tour of the mayor's office, which is next door to the conference room. Again, nice, but not lavish. He pointed out that it's not his personal office; it's the mayor's office, and is primarily used for ceremonial purposes — meeting VIPs and that sort of thing. He showed us a display case containing bric-a-brac from the city going back over a century. The one that caught my eye was a picture frame featuring a writeup about Texas Instruments. It contained a photo of the founders of TI, including Pat Haggerty. Remember that name.

Then it was back to the conference room to resume the goal-setting meeting. I promise I'm going somewhere with this. For now, just know that the mayor was very gracious to his three visitors. He truly appreciates when members of the public show an interest in municipal government. I admit that in my blog, I'm not always complimentary regarding Council actions, so I don't claim to deserve his graciousness, but I always get it.

We'll pick up with TI's Pat Haggerty in the next dispatch. If you want to jump ahead, read his Wikipedia page, paying special attention to the single sentence about Strategic Management.


plg said...

Your curious reader went to wikipedia & found this: "Strategic management is not static in nature; the models often include a feedback loop to monitor execution and to inform the next round of planning."
Is the feedback loop the missing link?

Mark Steger said...

plg, at TI the feedback loop was known as "Plan, Do, Check, Act." It originated with Quality Control legend William Denning.

plg said...

I'll have to wait for your next post. Now my bet is on Objectives, Strategy, Tactics (OST) - as illustrated by the work on the whiteboard.
--- your patient reader

Mark Steger said...

Correction: the Quality Control legend was W. Edwards Deming.