Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a workshop to the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks & Treasurers at their annual conference, held at Ball State University. I presented “A Systems Approach to Conflict” and started with an interactive exercise involving a case study (in this case, the Atlanta snowpocalypse) and a large skein of yarn. Once we created a tangled mess, we spent a few hours discussing the nature of systems and organizational culture, and applying this understanding to their particular contexts.
Most of the members of the ILMCT are elected officers to the position of clerk/treasurer in a small town or “third-class” city in Indiana. This is a thankless job, with lots of responsibility and very little authority. They serve in small towns that are often ignored by the state legislature. Yet these folks are the “face” of government in their towns, so they bear the brunt of the ire when local residents are unhappy.
It was a privilege to meet these folks and to thank them for their work in the trenches of local government. I hope I was able to give them a little more understanding and therefore hope for dealing with the various conflicts and systemic issues they face on a daily basis.