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3 Interesting Learnings from the City of Dallas

Let’s jump into this week’s 3 Interesting Learnings from Joe's conversation with Bill Zielinski, CIO, at the City of Dallas.

1. You Can't Throw the Whole Team on the Field at the Same Time

In several conversations with CIOs, a major concern has often gravitated toward ensuring that their teams have the freedom to problem-solve. No one wants to spend their time micro-managing. 

But throwing open the doors and setting everyone loose on the field would create more chaos and work! So, where is the balance? The City of Dallas taps into their coaching experience to bring sanity into managing a large organization:

Also, when it comes to managing a team, it's important to strike a balance between giving team members the freedom to problem-solve and providing the necessary guidance and support. Allowing everyone to work independently without any oversight can lead to chaos and inefficiency. On the other hand, micromanaging every aspect of the team's work can stifle creativity and hinder productivity.

One approach that can help strike this balance is to adopt a coaching style of management (or basketball coaching style!). This involves empowering team members to take ownership of their work and make decisions, while also providing guidance and support when needed. By taking a more collaborative and supportive approach, managers can help their teams develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed, while still maintaining some level of control and organization.

2. The Context in Which You Exist as an Individual Can Affect You in Your Profession, and Vice-Versa

CIOs might not be psychologists by profession, but understanding psychology sure seems to help in staying ahead of issues that could infiltrate team morale:

It's important to recognize how your personal life and professional life can interact with one another. The work environment can affect one's mental and emotional state, and how that individual acts can also influence the team's morale (and thus the mission's success!).






3. Your Goal is to Work Your Way Out of Your Job

What does that mean? Work my way out of my job? This was one of the most fascinating points of this particular conversation.

Isn't the mark of your value the fact that others view you as irreplaceable? Bill challenges this mindset by saying the goal of CIOs should be quite the opposite: 

The goal should be to create a team and a system that is so well-oiled and efficient that you could eventually move on to your next challenge, leaving your team and system to continue to run without you.

This might sound counter-intuitive, but it's actually a great way to build trust and provide value to your organization.

The ultimate takeaway? Great leaders multiply.

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Bill Zielinski, CIO, the City of Dallas, on your commute home from work today - it's 28 minutes. And then let me know what you picked up from it- I'd love to learn from you.

Interview with Bill Zielinski, CIO, at the City of Dallas


on a personal note by joe toste:

It’s been great to be back home, seeing the kiddos, and kicking off basketball tryouts.


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