Hank's thoughts and platform ideas.

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How to properly manipulate change.

Posted on March 31, 2015 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Change is not a constant, it’s a parabolic inevitability.

Change gets faster and more pronounced every year in just about every category of life. This is a reality that grows expodentially every year, every generation, every lifetime. We can meet change one of two ways; we can fight and resist or we can anticipate and mold.

In fighting and resisting we may succeed in the short term delay but ultimately must succumb to the change only to find ourselves ill prepared to accept it. In anticipating and molding we can strategically plan and execute ways for the change to benefit us in the long term while preserving the values we hold most dear.

Much of my job at Kimball Office is in anticipating change and minimizing the risk or capitalizing on that change for my company and my teammates. It always amazes me how much better relationships are and how much more dramatic the results can be when we tackle change in this manner.  We don't have to agree with the change, we don't have to like it, but when it comes it's always much nicer to have a plan on how you're going to make it work for you rather than you being injured by it. 

This concept reminds me of the story of the carrot, the coffee and the egg. 

One day a young mother went to her grandmother totally disheartened by her life.  She was in the midst of an arguement with her husband, her child was sick and she they didn't know how they were going to pay all the bills that month.  Things couldn't be bleaker to the young woman and she yearned for the carefree days when she was single and the responsibilities were not so demanding. 

"Come in the kitchen with me," instructed her grandmother.

The young woman followed her grandmother into the kitchen.

"Pull out three sauce pans and fill them with two cups of water each, then put them all on the stove with the burners set high," the grandmother again instructed.  She then asked her granddaughter to get 2 carrots, 2 eggs, and 2 Tablespoons of ground coffee and place them in the boiling pots for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes the grandmother asked the granddaughter to remove the contents of pots and describe to her what she had put in and what she had now.

"I put in two hard raw carrots and now I have two soft cooked carrots," explained the grandaughter.  "I put in two raw eggs and now I have two hard boiled eggs and I put in ground coffee and now I have a cup of coffee," the granddaughter concluded.

"Correct," commented the grandmother, "you need to decide which you want to be.  All three of these ingredients faced the same hardship; two cups of boiling water.  Are you going to be like the carrots that went in firm but came out soft and defeated?  Are you going to be like the eggs that went in with with a hard exteriors and soft hearts but came out with hardened hearts?  Or will you choose to go in and change the very hardship that challenged it like the coffee did?"         


First 100 Day Plan

Posted on March 24, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The First Hundred Days:

My goals are simply to develop people, relationships, neighborhoods, and institute processes that remove personal agendas to allow us all to lead maturely and responsibly to build a nationally competitive Salem. We all win if the City of Salem wins recognition as being one of the best small cities in America. If I can help us get there as your Mayor it would be an exciting, humbling and personally rewarding experience for all of us.

Every election year I hear or read promises and commitments by people running for office without any real sense on how they plan to get it done. I am changing that experience for you and am giving you an outline of how I plan to get started. I’ve been told by conventional wisdom that I’m crazy for detailing this plan as another candidate might do it….if someone else is elected Mayor and they use this plan, EXCELLENT! I’ll even help them do it. It’s the right thing to do for the right reasons because everyone in Salem wins. Here is a basic outline for your next Mayor.

Here is how we will proceed.

1. Damage Control:

One of our first priorities will be personnel damage control. Apparently there is a lot of misinformation swirling around City Hall about Department Heads (Leaders) losing their job, across the board, if the correct candidate is not elected. I believe this form of campaign propaganda is irresponsible and extremely insensitive to the city employees and their families who are involved. It is factually incorrect if I’m elected Mayor. As quickly as I am able we will meet with all the Department Leaders to dispel this myth. I truly believe there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

2. Developing trust:

Next, I will meet with each individual Department Leader in their office for a two way interview. I want to learn about the direction of their departments, what goals they have been striving for, what roadblocks they feel have been preventing success, if any, and what their dream of a perfect department would look like. I also want to understand them personally, if they’re ready to share; what drives them? What compels them? What about their job do they consider fun? Conversely I will speak candidly about myself, my aspirations for the city and invite them to ask me any questions they have had for me.

3. Learning the city functions from top to bottom:

I plan to personally shadow/perform every city job, if only briefly, and get some feel for everyone’s routine and challenges. I will perform the roles not requiring special certification or training and will observe the roles that do. From picking up our weekly garbage to inputting utility payments to patrolling the streets to cleaning them and testing the city’s water. I think it’s important to spend at least some time every year getting a feel for doing/witnessing all the wonderful services that keep this city humming so beautifully and that I and everyone sometime take for granted. When done periodically or at least annually I can also see our improvements first hand.

4. Setting the stage:

We will perform the same Key Stakeholder process with any city employee who has not had the opportunity to attend a neighborhood meeting and collect everyone’s ideas. I will also be reaching out to city organizations and businesses to understand their needs and capture their key stakeholder information. Once collected we will review the findings so everyone has a feel for what is important to the residents of our community. We will review how Salem compares to other stand-alone communities in our region. Balanced measurements like:


- Economy – The business community should be thriving and diverse.

- Health – Residents should have access to affordable healthcare options.

- Housing – Housing should meet the needs and be affordable to residents.

- Civic - Residents should be engaged in all the city has to offer.

- Safety – Residents should feel safe where they live.

- Education - Schools and community should support life-long learners.

- Amenities - A city needs great things to do to be a great place to live.

- Demographics – A city should work towards a diverse range of residents.

- Infrastructure – Getting around should be easy with a range of options.

- Collaboration – There should be a true spirit of common goals shared by government, organizations, and businesses.

5. Developing the plan:

We will invest in our Department Leaders and their key leaders in training in an internationally respected goal and execution based course from Franklin Covey called the “5 Disciplines of Execution”. Using the processes we learn we will develop our first year’s goals for the City of Salem. These will be our “Wildly Important Goals” that we will be wholly focused on as we perform our daily tasks to build a nationally competitive city. These goals will be SMART goals meaning they will be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The department leads and I will then work this same process to develop goals for each of their department teams to support the goals of the city.

6. Executing the plan:

Every week we will hold our WIG meeting to report on our commitments from the previous week, to identify what roadblocks are standing in our way while helping each other remove them, and identify our commitments for the next week. I will establish a Mayor’s progress blog on a webpage and publically report as to what the Wildly Important Goals are and what our weekly progress is so all of our key stakeholders can track our progress. As a goal is achieved, we evaluate how we did (debrief) and learn, we celebrate, and we work the process again to establish another goal.

7. Evaluation:

At the end of the first one hundred (100) days we will also debrief the first 100 days together and identify what we did well and what we think we need to do better going forward. It is important to understand how our teams feel about our leadership to become better leaders. Leaders don’t get to determine if they are good leaders, their team members make that determination.

This is the general guidelines for the first one hundred days in office. It will be after these first few months that we will be starting my focus on establishing and building partnerships with city organizations and businesses to develop goals around enhancing the key measurements of a city listed above. We may add more measurements, we may change some, but it’s important that we all walk together on this journey to build a nationally competitive Salem.


General Platform

Posted on February 21, 2015 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

No one can achieve greatness alone. It takes great teams of people to achieve greatness. I love Salem and I think it’s a great city, but I’m biased because I’m in love with this community and its people. When we’re compared to other stand-alone communities in our region, in our state and in our country we have some areas we need to work on before we can be considered great by others outside our community. In order for us to make our city a truly great city by anyone’s standards we must take stock of our assets, our liabilities, and what is important to our citizens in all stages of their lives. We must then take a balanced, creative, strategic, and universally beneficial approach to enhancing our assets, limiting our liabilities and being inclusive in meeting or exceeding all the different needs of the people in our community. This means we all must work together. We need every organization, every business, every department, and every resident to know, understand, and be participating in the common goals of the city.

Please sign-up for one of your neighborhood development meetings so you can be heard. I am committed to sharing what you share with whomever is selected to the Mayor’s office. It is the right thing to do. Send me an E-mail to find out when yours is scheduled. I’m trying to figure out how to publish the schedule on this website. In the meantime, please contact me, RSVP’s are critical as space is limited for each one and we need to keep costs down on space rental.

For the record, I am a fiscal conservative. Everything we talk about and every strategy we consider must be well within budget, be paid for by grants or have a very quick and low risk return on investment. I lived in Alaska for eleven (11) years where there were no state taxes; I’m asking myself, “Why can everywhere be like that?” Bankrupt or heavily burden communities cannot be great.

The balanced approach is critical. It is often overlooked that growth in one area of our city cannot happen without growth in others. Much about good growth of a city has to do with symbiotic relationships areas have with one another. Take the economy for example. We all know we need jobs. Good jobs. Jobs that pay well and contribute to the responsible growth of the city and does not sacrifice the assets we love and want to enhance. Site selectors for these companies looking to expand and do business look at all aspects of the city; not just land, buildings, workforce availability, utility infrastructure, and distance to a highway. They also look at and grade social amenities, schools, access to hospitals and quality healthcare, neighborhoods, housing, collaboration within the community, effective organizations, environmental responsibility, cultural charm, local businesses, personal development opportunities, etc… Many things conventional wisdom would suggest are unimportant to businesses relocating or expanding are actually just as important and sometimes more important than the old way of thinking.

So, like eating an elephant, we start by taking one bite at a time. We collect everyone’s ideas. Local business owners, residents, city employees, and city leaders. We work the process and capture those ideas as everyone is a key stakeholder in the health and the future of this great city. We categorize the thoughts and combine natural relatives in the form of categories. We create a new strategic plan that meets everyone’s needs and is designed on developing people as well as the community. We then create actions, groups responsible, time-lines, and we EXECUTE the plan.

We may have a locally focused category where we create plans and actions to entice and create desire to more fully patronize our local business because those dollars stay in the community. We may have a category that focuses on the cities’ social opportunities to entertain and fulfill our residents’ social needs rendering it less desirable to drive out of the city to fulfill those needs. We may have a cultural category and a public safety category. We may have an environmental and political category. Yes, I wrote it, political category. Imagine this. What if we figured out a way to home grow a U.S. Senator from Salem? What if we figured out how to do that every generation? I wouldn’t care what political party he/she came from, the city would bound to benefit just as it did when John Hay was Secretary of State. Salem was considered a great city by outsiders once, even several times. I want to help make it happen again. I’m sure there will be other categories for development that I haven’t thought about yet, that’s why it’s important to me that we capture ideas in a brain-storming format with our neighbors.

I will write more on detailed thoughts later but I was committed to writing something general about my platform today, and here it is. I also am sensitive about revealing real specific thoughts of mine as it may taint yours and others at the meeting. I have ideas but I’m always open to new ones. In the mean-time, because of the weather I will be calling and scheduling people to one of our neighborhood development meetings prior to the May 5th primaries. If nominated to run as the Democratic candidate for the general election we will be holding another round of meetings to capture ideas to develop plans and strategies around each unique neighborhood. Again, my commitment is to give everything collected to the person you choose to be your next Mayor.

Thanks for reading, as always, if you have questions or comments you can use the “Contact” tab to get a hold of me.