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View from the Cordillera

A Commentary on Achieving Excellence in Local Government
Read by Municipal Leaders on 4 Continents
Published by the Cordillera Institute

Improving Your Productivity
Why You Should Measure the Productivity of Your Organization (Vol. 1, Issue 7)
This issue looks at a very special performance measure.  It is special because, for virtually all local governments, your most important asset is the people you employ.  Each of these individuals has the potential to make a very valuable contribution to your success as an organization.  So, you want to do whatever you can to help them realize as much of that potential as possible.  One important way is to compensate them fairly for the contributions they have made to your organization.  But, just what is 'fair' compensation?  The answer to that age-old question involves this much-misunderstood measure – productivity.  In this issue, you can trace the major steps involved in setting up a productivity-measurement program and find some tips for gaining its acceptance.  Getting this right is a key element in building any win-win organization.
Sharing Your Productivity Gains (Vol. 1, Issue 10)
The next chapter in our journey to achieving excellence in local government is to see how best to share the 'profit' from your productivity gains.  When the organization succeeds, most of us think that each person should be rewarded according to their contribution.  In Issue 01.07, we examined how best to measure their contribution – by measuring their productivity.  In this issue, we look at how to reward your people for their accomplishments.  You will see why there must be a 'profit', who should share in the profit, how it should be divided, and what happens when there is no profit.
Making the Most of Your Technology (part 1) (Vol. 2, Issue 16)
This 3-part series was inspired by a power failure.  For the brief period that the power was off, the computer, the printer, the copier, and the fax machine didn't function.  It was a sharp reminder of how much we depend on technology.  Often, when technology is discussed, it's in the context of a specific piece of hardware or a particular software package.  But, those are just the tools.  In this issue, we look at technology from a different perspective — the activities you perform and how the application of technology can improve your productivity.  In this series, I share some of the ways that technology has improved our productivity here at the Institute.  Remembering all the things we have learned from others about making the most of our technology, this series was written with the expectation that something we are doing here will be just what you need to make the most of your technology.  In part 1, we cover preparing, sending, and storing email; preparing report outlines; drafting reports; creating tables; as well as formatting, reproducing, and distributing reports.  If you adopt even 1 of these ideas in your work, it will repay you many times the cost of this issue.  If you delegate these activities to others, you will want to share this productivity-boosting information with them.

Making the Most of Your Technology (part 2) (Vol. 2, Issue 17)
This issue is part 2 in the series on using technology to improve your productivity.  Ironically, part of the prior week was lost to correcting errors in the financial data used to prepare our income tax returns.  Since our subject is using technology to improve performance, this issue begins with a discussion of our problem, how we resolved it, and some suggestions on how to avoid a similar problem in your data.  That's followed by tips on entering multiple records into a database, brainstorming and concept mapping, flow charting and process mapping, as well as preparing project plans.  The issue concludes with some ideas for customizing your software and using it to automate repetitive or complex tasks.

Making the Most of Your Technology (part 3) (Vol. 2, Issue 18)
This issue is part 3 in the series on using technology to improve your productivity.  It starts with a look at adding illustrations to your documents and preparing simple drawings, diagrams, and maps.  Next, we see how to simplify the completion of forms, both with database software and with spreadsheets.  Then, we take some big steps on the road to a paperless workplace by replacing your paper files with digitized versions.  Having all your paper files digitized is like having your entire filing system on your desktop.  And, there are more tips on automating procedures using macros.  (A macro is a script which enables you to perform functions, calculations, and procedures which are not readily available on the standard menus or toolbars of your software.)  The issue concludes with an introduction to automating procedures which use more than 1 software package.  With the potential of this scripting software, we can see many future uses.  Now, if we could just find the time to implement them ...

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