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Inside-Out Leadership: Transforming Public Water and Wastewater Utilities Through Authentic Relationships

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This paper provides an alternative approach to transactional change methods for public sector leaders seeking to transform organizations internally. Described is a summary of an ongoing, four year study that began in June, 2005 with Montgomery County Water Services (MCWS) in Dayton, Ohio. The objective was to implement an innovative plan called “The Iceberg Concept” to build authentic relationships and overcome internal barriers including, low trust, limited respect, poor accountability, teamwork and communication. This was done by developing teams, the leader's vision, clear expectations, shared core values, a decision-making path, coaching and a strategic plan. Outcomes have shown a reduction in grievances, workers compensation claims, water service disruptions and customer complaints. Continuous improvements were observed in communication, teamwork, accountability, hiring, selection and management development. Based on evidence thus far, this approach will provide long-term benefits and cost savings to Montgomery County and others seeking to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Keywords: Authentic Relationships; Expectations; Iceberg Concept; Leadership; Strategic Planning; Teamwork; Transformation; Trust; Values; Vision

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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