When the manager told Lynn that she was dogged he was saying that she was tenacious. He was giving her a compliment.
That was well-earned for Lynn is one of those people who spend time getting the detail correct, the type of person who sees something through from start to finish, the type of person who some people find it difficult to work with because of their focus on detail and getting it right.
The principle Lynn applies was one she picked up years ago when doing her Stephen Covey training in personal effectiveness. That is to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’. And, in local government, for Lynn that main thing is the community on whose behalf council is supposed to work. This contrasts with the common public service mindset that focuses more on the organisation and its usual ways of doing its job. Lynn knows that this is a one-size-fits-all approach that can be one-size -fits fewer.
The source of her different mindset stems from her experience working in both government and private sector organisations. Those latter include civil engineering drafting. The importance of being tenacious here, in getting every detail right, should be self-evident.
Add to this her work in the community sector and it is unerstandable that, unlike the usual public service mindset that is limited by the practices and attitude of the organisation and job descriptions that might not accord all that closely with what staff actually do, Lynn’s mindset is that of the social entrepreneur. She makes things happen.
For example, her council unit needed a new teaching venue so, applying Stephen Covey’s ‘begin with the end in mind’ principle, Lynn acted on an idea she has held for some years. That was for a community education centre modelled on one she had visited in another city. In doing this, she has applied another Franklin-Covey principle of personal effectiveness: ‘seek win-win’. She sought mutual benefit for both community and council. Working with her manager, Lynn found the funds in the budget and got the teaching venue built, extending the parameters of her role in council and ensuring that when she leaves she will leave a legacy of both physical infrastructure and a more skilled community.
It has been tenacity in pursuing what her life experience has taught her is of real and lasting value rather than work solely within a limited job description. The learning here is that tenacity works best when it is motivated by a vision and enacted through the learnings of experience and a set of durable, actionable principles.