17 Pages of Blather

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Zero point zero zero zero three eight. That’s the percentage of the population of Collingwood who made the effort to comment on council’s much-touted, revised, 17-page code of conduct before it was approved, Monday night. That’s 0.00038%, based on an estimated 21,000 residents. In other words: eight people. Only eight people out of 21,000 cared enough about council’s efforts to pump the bureaucracy to comment on the … (more–>)

Fortuna: Why Plans Fail

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Niccolo Machiavelli used two words in his book, The Prince, to describe the factors that influenced events. In English these are virtue or character (virtu), fortune or chance (fortuna). Only virtue is internal – our nature – and although it manifests as voluntary action, it can only be somewhat, but not entirely controlled.* The other – chance or fortune – can make the best-laid plans of mice … (more–>)

Team Assessment

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Following my last piece on the relevance of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, to Collingwood Council, I felt I should explore some of Lencioni’s ideas, as well as look at how a team’s performance is assessed. Teams (or groups) can be assessed several ways: the best way is internally (by their own members). The second is by a professional outsider who has … (more–>)

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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You can’t help but think, when you read that title, of five block-thinking, dysfunctional members of Collingwood Council. But, relevant as that description may appear in our political sphere, it is actually the title of a book by Patrick Lencioni, about how teams fail to coalesce and work together. I found it at a local bookstore this week and read it in a single night. Unlike … (more–>)

The Horns of a Dilemma

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Poor Borg. One almost feels pity for their confusion. The members of Collingwood Council’s block-thinking collective were faced with a difficult dilemma on Monday: should they stick to their pettifogging ideology or break from it and support one of their own? Dogma versus friendship and loyalty. Monday night, another report from the Integrity Commissioner bashed the behaviour of one of the politburo. The purpose of the IC … (more–>)

Tourism and Collingwood

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Tourism is the world’s fifth fastest-growing industry and growing at five percent per year. A recent story on CBC Radio this week suggests growth has been even higher for Canada, thanks to our lower Loonie: at least six percent. According to the Tourism Association of Canada, in 2013, Canada’s tourism industry: Represented more of Canada’s GDP than agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined Generated $88.5 billion in economic activity Was … (more–>)

Stop Whining, Elvis Haters

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Don’t people who hate Collingwood’s Elvis Festival ever get tired of whining and bitching about it? I guess not. There’s another whining letter about it in this week’s Connection. More than twenty years the festival has been running successfully and they still haven’t figured it out yet. Just because you don’t like the event, doesn’t mean others don’t. In fact, tens of thousands of people really enjoy it … (more–>)

Strat Plan Wrap Up: Addintional Comments

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Yes, the web page really does call for “Addintional Comments.” Well, I suppose consultants aren’t hired for their spelling or grammar. Otherwise there wouldn’t be all that bizarre capitalization or the missing punctuation. But you’re here to read my summation of the Collingwood’s fledgling strategic plan, not my editorial critique. Which is pretty simple: woo-hoo. I reiterate that a strategic plan can be either practical and pragmatic, or … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 6: Culture and the Arts

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The fifth and final objective in Collingwood’s developing strategic plan (the woo-hoo plan) is culture and the arts. For something so important to the community, with such a huge potential, it encompasses a mere two goals. Disappointingly, neither of them relate to its huge economic potential, which everyone else seems to understand except this committee and its council. “The rapidly evolving global economy demands a dynamic and … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 5: Healthy Lifestyle

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I suppose we can all agree that a healthy lifestyle is better than an unhealthy one. And to a certain degree, a municipality can help residents choose a healthier one or at least give them opportunities to pursue it. But you have to ask just how seriously committed a municipality is to a healthy lifestyle when it sells pop, candy and junk food in the vending … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 4: Economic Vitality

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What, you may ask, is meant by the term “Economic Vitality” – the third objective in our town’s strategic-plan-in-the-works? Apparently it’s one of those motherhood statements people make on soapboxes and campaign platforms that have little grist in them to mill into actuality. Sure, we all want a town that has a lively, thriving economy. but how do we achieve it? No one has an answer … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 3: The Waterfront

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The waterfront. It defines us geographically, historically and culturally. What could be more important to Collingwood than its waterfront that covers the entire northern border of this sleepy, lakeside town? Well, pretty much anything else it seems, if you you’re on Collingwood Council. Pick the most irrelevant, pointless, self-aggrandizing effort – like rewriting the Code of Conduct or flying around the country to party at taxpayers’ … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 2: The Shuffle Game

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In the second part of my critique of Collingwood’s woo-hoo strategic plan, I will look at the shuffle game. This is where consultants give contestants – I mean participants – a limited series of options and ask them to shuffle these around in order of their perceived priority. Then the results are collated and the one whose list looks most like the final version wins. There … (more–>)

Strategic Planning, Part One: The Woo-Hoo Factor

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There are, in general, two kinds of municipal strategic plans. One is pragmatic and practical. It tells you what you need to build, fix or replace, when you need to do it, how much it will cost, and where the money will come from. This is the stuff a council grounded in reality can use to budget, plan sensibly, and maintain the community’s infrastructure. It’s a roadmap … (more–>)

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