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Guiding Principles

guiding principles

Drafting the Guiding Principles: an evolution

Below are several iterations of the guiding principles.

Iteration 1: The Original


  • Innovate & design process with customer in mind
  • Find what we can stop doing, so we can…break out of routine; create time to find new/better ways
  • Make sure your opinion is heard and counts
  • Get the right tools & equipment to do our work
  • Create opportunities for growth and learning
  • Establish “failure” as an expected part of the process and recognize employees for trying new things
  • A mistake or failure is often the step before success – use your talents and get more personal satisfaction from doing your best work
  • Take calculated risks and learn from them


  • Work together with your colleagues in other departments to help solve the biggest challenges we face as a City
  • Figure out how your department can make another department more successful
  • Remember that the public generally does not see us as silos, so design how we deliver services keeping in mind that the public sees us as one organization, not 12 departments
  • Focus on the what, but even more on the how and why – continuously assess whether what we’re doing day to day still makes sense and empower ourselves to make changes to the work to save time and improve quality of our services
  • Create a great City/great place to work culture


  • Build trust with the community – understand the new set of expectations for how the public wants to receive information and services from government
  • Each encounter with a resident reflects on all of us – each encounter is an opportunity to rebuild trust
  • Each time we are required to say ‘no’ to a specific request from the public is an opportunity to find something to say ‘yes’ to
  • Meet people where they are – find ways to engage that don’t require coming to a public meeting at inconvenient times
  • Design projects/processes/interactions to create a great customer experience

Iteration  2: The Top 10

Together with our Departments, Together with our Organization, Together with our Community, we…

  1. Start with community needs. Embody the spirit of community service and work with the community to solve problems.
  2. Work Together. Do things together and work beyond silos. Appreciate each other, share responsibility and imagine the possibilities together.
  3. Say Yes! Be optimistic and look for ways to help people achieve success.
  4. Work Open. Be open to change. Share and make things open; it makes things better.
  5. Contagious Leadership. Make your time at work count. All your talents are essential to the bigger success of the team.
  6. Take Risks. Try new things, continuously learn and always work to improve the world around you.
  7. Honesty & Transparency. Be honest about what you can and can’t do. Communicate well and often.
  8. Question the Status Quo. Ask why we do something the way we do and seek ways to improve.
  9. Be Aware. Understand context and root problems.
  10. Resource stewardship. Be mindful and fiscally responsible with our resources.

Iteration 3: Super Succinct

Teamwork, Service, Reimagining

  • Teamwork: cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause
  • Service: the action of helping or doing work for someone
  • Reimagining: to produce from a refreshed or new viewpoint; to imagine or conceive something in a new way
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