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Dealing with change while operating at the speed of light

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Nate Greenberg

Nate Greenberg, Director of Information Technology for Mono County and the town of Mammoth Lakes, California, joins the podcast today. Nate shares how he and his team operated before and after the pandemic and shares essential lessons from the drastic changes he and his team had to make.

Nate shares how the team adopted agile techniques and used them for emergency response software, building moves, and a data center move.

Transcript

(transcripts are auto-generated, so please excuse the brevity)

Nate Greenberg: We need to get the people that can help as close to the people that are having the problem as possible, and eliminating gaps in communication and having that collaboration be forced and effective.

Bill Raymond: Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today, I’m joined by Nate Greenberg, Director of Information Technology for Mono County and the town of Mammoth Lakes, California.

Bill Raymond: Hi, Nate, how are you today?

Nate Greenberg: Hi Bill, we’re great. Thank you for having me.

Today’s topic

Bill Raymond: Yeah, I’m looking forward to our conversation today. We’re going to be talking about dealing with the fast pace of change during a pandemic and, you know, people might think you know, the pandemic started a few years ago, why are we talking about it now? Well, people were in the middle of it then, so now we have some stories to tell and some lessons to be learned. So I’m excited about this conversation today.

About Nate

Bill Raymond: Before we get started, could you share a little bit about yourself and your role as a Director of IT?

Nate Greenberg: Sure. So I’ve been in the technology space for 25+ years or so. A good chunk of that time, I’ve worked for county government, for Mono County specifically. My background is in Geographic Information Systems or GIS, which, you know, is essentially computer-based mapping and analysis. And I came to the county and was responsible for building their first GIS system here.

I served in that capacity sort of managing that system and growing it gradually for little more than a decade and then stepped into the role of IT director. And I’ve been in that role for a little over a decade now.

Nate Greenberg: I sort of have the challenge of keeping abreast of technology here, platforms, best practices, et cetera.

Ultimately, I’m responsible for everything from email to 911. I do a lot of work in public safety, emergency response, disaster preparedness, but I have a staff of 12 in this team. We support about 450 total FTEs across both organizations and, do a variety of different things in sort of the everyday world that we’re there.

Nate Greenberg: And so I have a pretty broad range of experience. But certainly, a lot of it has been aimed at business operations, efficiency and sort of applied technology to try to help improve the way that we operate as a government entity as a whole.

About Mono County

Bill Raymond: Could you just give us a sense for the location of, and what you might see in Mono County?

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, so for those of you who haven’t been, I encourage you to come. We’re sort of wedged on the Eastern side of the state, between the crest of the Sierra Nevada and the Nevada-California border. We’re home to Mono Lake, the Eastern entrances to Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Mountain, ski area. The town of Mammoth Lakes is the one incorporated city here within Mono County.

Nate Greenberg: So we’re about three hours south of Reno, five hours north of LA, six hours east of San Francisco. Beautiful rural community. There’s about 14,000 people that live in roughly 3000 square miles of land. Most of that is public land, about 96% of the land base here is owned by a federal or state entity. And we very much are a resort-based community and a recreation-based economy and lifestyle, so you know, while we’re small in population relative to the geography, we have a lot of demand on us from an organization standpoint. Particular is that sort of lends itself toward public safety.

Nate Greenberg: We have the town of Mammoth Lakes, about 8,000 people in this community year round. We swell to about 60,000 people on busy weekends and the holiday periods, people coming in to ski or bike, hike, fish in the summertime. And so we have a fair amount of impact commercial development, other sort of services that would typically be provided by government that are expected of us, and makes just a really interesting job with a variety of different opportunities in a very beautiful place to live.

Bill Raymond: The last call that we had you convinced me that I need to get over there and ride my bike through some of those areas. It sounds beautiful.

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, definitely encourage it.

Bill Raymond: So let’s talk a little bit about I guess what we might call a case study for all the things that could go wrong during a pandemic and how you have to work through those because I don’t think things generally go right during a pandemic.

Bill Raymond: But you know, my sense is that there is a lot of chaos and you certainly had your fair share of it. So maybe we could talk a little bit about when things really changed a lot.

What was Nate working on prior to the pandemic?

Bill Raymond: What were some of the activities that you would be working on just prior to that?

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, so as I said early, you know, we are responsible for essentially everything that is plugged in and looks or smells like technology. And that’s from sort of the every day applications and expectations that would be coming from our line staff, you know, folks that are working with direct customer relations, internal operations, et cetera, all the way to technology that’s in a sheriff’s vehicle that is driving around in the community. Public safety radio, dispatch, 911, all of that.

Nate Greenberg: So we have for years leveraged agile as a methodology for project management, as well as for the way that we manage our just day to day livelihood and work here. So we’ve basically always used some fashion of that methodology to look at and take what is on any given day about 30 to 50 active projects across this small team, prioritize the work, look at how the task aspects of those projects are being allocated and worked on, and then mixed in with emergent and unexpected requests that are coming at us.

The day to day

Nate Greenberg: And so from sort of a day to day standpoint, what that looks like, is we have a morning standup, looks like SCRUM. We’re looking at new work that’s sort of coming at us and balancing that with sort of work that had been in the queue from prior days, or you know weeks past where we were working on projects.

Nate Greenberg: On a monthly basis, we’re bringing in new projects, things that are not small work requests, but maybe slightly larger or even extremely large projects.

Nate Greenberg: We bring in through a formal intake and onboarding process, review them as a team, try to understand where they are from a priority standpoint relative to everything else, assign resources, and then, you know, start to kind of develop a little bit more of a project plan.

Nate Greenberg: And so we have been using that framework for the way that we operate for the better part of a decade really. It’s always kind of evolved slightly. But it’s served us relatively well, and I think part of what we’ve used as a measure for success is, how are we serving customers and how happy are customers with our service, prior to trying to tweak some of the ways that we were operating and moving into more of an agile methodology.

Nate Greenberg: You know, customer service was okay, but the general findings were that we weren’t very communicative or we weren’t always as responsive and quick at delivering things. And so this has helped us just sort of pivot and really focus where we need to focus and honestly, that changes every day, it can change within the day, and I think through the pandemic, we learned that it can change multiple times during the day.

Going into COVID ad lockdown

Nate Greenberg: So yeah, going into COVID, we had a couple very large projects. One was, we were building or finishing construction of a brand new purpose-built civic center, 110 person, county office building essentially here in Mammoth Lakes. And my team was fully responsible for all of the core aspects of getting that building up and running, networking, you know, all of the fundamental aspects of access control and security and various things like that.

Nate Greenberg: And also because a lot of the services that were being performed by people today are being done via PC, or some form of technology, we were actually coordinating a lot of the move portions of that as well, because we needed to be out of an existing lease and into new building in a very short amount of time, with resources stood up and everything ready to work. And so we were spending a lot of time in weekly meetings with all of the stakeholders basically, effectively, you know, short sprint cycles to try to get this project really well-defined and understood by everybody.

Nate Greenberg: And that’s one example of probably 20 different things that we had going on, I guess in February or March of 2020?

Data center move

Bill Raymond: Did you tell me that there’s a data center involved as well?

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, so our primary data center, we have two for the county. But the primary one in Mammoth was being moved as part of that as well. And that’s used by, you know, really, it’s the primary data center for roughly 60% or 70% of our staff. So there was a fair bit of coordination sort of going into all of that work as well.

Nate Greenberg: And luckily, at that point in time, we weren’t faced with all the supply chain issues and things that we were sort of during and post pandemic, but there was a lot of moving parts and some narrow timelines that we were sort of working around.

Nate Greenberg: So it was a very interesting time. And I mean, I guess just to skip forward a little bit, as soon as COVID hit, the scope of that project completely changed, right? Basically, we were pivoting and instead of trying to move 110 people into a brand new building, we were sending 450 people home to work remotely, and all of the pieces and challenges associated with that became top of list.

Nate Greenberg: And quite honestly, actually the lease from our existing building that we were in, the landlords were very interested in extending, because now all of a sudden there was concern around kind of the bottom falling out of a lot of the market.

Nate Greenberg: And so it was very interesting to see how quickly things could change and how much those changes impacted us and how we needed to react.

Challenges to overcome moving to work-from-home

Bill Raymond: What were some of the challenges that you were faced with? Of course, you said that you had to make sure that 450 people were suddenly working from home and easily accessing their network and keeping your critical systems up and running.

What were some of the challenges that you had to overcome just in that specific area?

Nate Greenberg: In some respects, I think we’re set up for success. We were just sort of halfway through a three-year strategic plan, which was really aimed at effectively mobility and really enabling remote work as a whole. So we are a Office 365 shop here and have invested a tremendous amount in a variety of different mobility products from, you know, Zoom through the Office 365 platform to a lot of cloud computing. But we, I would say, have probably only about half of our staff working on laptops, for example.

Nate Greenberg: So as soon as you start talking about sending home, folks in, you know, social services that are doing child welfare or various things like that, that are connected to state systems, there become a whole host of hurdles you have to clear effectively.

Nate Greenberg: And so there was a lot of work done in those early days to just triage and figure out, okay, what are the highest priority, lines of business and what are the most challenging aspects of each one of those? We were pulling laptops out of e-waste that still had, you know, some useful life on them and putting them back into circulation.

Nate Greenberg: We were buying as many laptops as we could, actually at the end part of 2019, just sort of looking ahead, I think we stocked up on a bunch of laptops, just contemplating that supply chain was going to start to become a problem.

Changed expectations

Nate Greenberg: But ultimately, it was one of those things where we just changed a lot of our expectations. We focused a lot on security and improving access to on-premise resources, effectively through people being able to use home computers and other devices to work. And some of that happened very quickly and some of it took, you know, a couple of weeks, but really, two weeks in, the workforce was generally fine.

Nate Greenberg: but one of the main things that I think happened is, it’s shone a light on a lot of the value of IT and a lot of the work that we had done in the years preceding, and immediately, the value became apparent. The other big thing was that our team basically about five days into the pandemic, kind of split. And we had a group that was focused more on staff and their success, and the other group was supporting the emergency operation center and building tools and utilities and public-facing resources that were used for communicating with the constituency and helping internal operations for managing the pandemic and response.

All of those things were things that we had to stand up and build more or less from scratch. And so we kind of turned into a 24/7 shop almost, and were in full development mode with these very, very short sprint cycles around application development, with features being kind of decided in the morning, testing happening in the afternoon, and releasing the next morning to teams.

Nate Greenberg: And in many cases, we were doing some of that work live. We weren’t even actually doing it in sandbox environments. And so it was a very interesting sort of environment that we were just continually adapting to every single day with new sets of challenges and changes being presented to us.

Application built from scratch

Bill Raymond: Yeah, can you talk a little bit more about that application that you had to build from scratch?

Nate Greenberg: Weleveraged a low-code platform that we’d been working with for a number of years prior to the pandemic here, called Quickbase. It’s a fully open API, cloud-based database platform effectively, that provides the ability to load data in a full relational database model, and then build on top of that a variety of automations, obviously, reporting and analytics, dashboarding, workflows and various things to that end.

Nate Greenberg: And so, what was immediately apparent to us was like on day two, our public health team was trying to do contact tracing for, you know, several hundred thousand plus people, and they were working on Excel spreadsheets. Even though they were in Office 365 and they were shared and allowing for multiple people to work from them, it was not scalable.

Nate Greenberg: There was just a number of issues that started to appear very quickly. And so we basically built from the ground up a application that started as a way for them to bring individuals in the community that they were interfacing with via contact tracing or testing or, you know, trying to sort of run interface and interference with the hospital to keep people out of the hospital as much as possible.

All of those individuals were basically being brought into this system and gradually, as more information was collected by them, the system grew in order to have the capacity to capture that. And some of that had to do with quarantine and isolation, and when people needed to be brought into care and when we needed to put them into temporary housing.

Nate Greenberg: And so we built this application out, which ultimately I think, uh, became effectively the the home for about 18,000 client records. It obviously is all protected health information and you know, skipping forward to today, we’ve actually started to sunset that application, but the core of it has become an electronic medical record for our Public Health Department, which didn’t previously exist.

Nate Greenberg: During those days, every morning, we were part of the department operation center call, that was part of public health that were really dealing with a lot of those public-facing aspects of the work.

Nate Greenberg: And a significant component of those conversations was dedicated to the technology platform, and talking about the needs to, based on some experience that happened the day before, tweak an automation or a workflow or capture new data, or be able to, you know, segment data in different ways. And so it was typically myself and one other person from the team, part of those calls, bringing information back. And we were basically then spending four to eight hours kind of building out new functionality every single day to basically continue to grow that. And it did end up becoming a very center-focused application for not only the public health team, but a number of folks that were in the field providing meals and services, tracking a lot of our assets and inventory masks and, you know, all the typical things that were being used as consumable, as well as looked at by our emergency operations center.

Nate Greenberg: And then the other piece of it is a public facing dashboard. And so we were actually providing to the public real time statistics on what was happening with case rates, what was happening as we got into immunization. All the immunization deployment and tracking and scheduling was done through that application prior to the State bringing their systems online. So we were basically providing real time data to the community based on the work that was being done every day by public health staff.

Bill Raymond: Just amazing, all the things that need to happen and all the logistics involved. I can imagine that you had pressure to make sure the system was up and running and secure, while then also the public health officials were probably receiving all sorts of new information, like a feeding from a fire hose every day as well.

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, meanwhile, we’re still supporting you know, a 400-person workforce that wasn’t fully dedicated to the emergency operation itself, but trying to keep the rest of the facets of the operation of the county and the city running.

Bill Raymond: You said that you were working almost 24/7 on some of these applications and making sure that the IT infrastructure is there for all of these very important people to provide services for the people that live there and even I’m sure, for guests that are visiting the area.

Dealing with Burnout

Bill Raymond: And I have to imagine that there must have been a lot of burnout in those early days. What did it take to kind of get through that? I’m sure there’s sort of a hero mode and then you have to find a way to kind of give people back their lives a little bit as well.

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, it’s interesting, in those first two months or something like that, it was chaos. And there were a lot of impacts on the organization, literally, things were changing multiple times a day. And I was personally working 70-80 hour weeks for multiple, multiple weeks on end, which finally tapered back to, you know, 60 hour weeks.

Nate Greenberg: And we were trying really hard to keep people from ending up in that spot. You know, there were a few of us that were really working hard and heavy, especially on more of the development side of the house. But you know, I think the main thing was really having some cadence and some regular communication with the team as a whole.

I think we were sort of a little bit siloed, just based on the types of work that the team was doing, but we were still having daily standups, to look at you know, triage and incoming requests. We were still having weekly all-hands effectively, just to sort of check in and see where things were going.

Nate Greenberg: I think in some way, while we weren’t truly changing to a shift-like schedule, it became pretty apparent that there were a number of things that needed to happen after hours. And so I just basically said, look, you’re all working more than you normally would be working anyway. I don’t care about when you’re working, let’s just try to figure out how we’re going to parcel out the work, get the work done, and let’s make sure that we’re supporting the normal operations. You know, we still had all of these other big projects, we still had to get into this new building, we still had to get out of these other buildings. And so it was just this constant sort of juggling, if you will

Summer double-impact from Fires

Nate Greenberg: It was interesting too, because as we got further into the summer, we got kind of double impacted with fires. And based on our place, we’re extremely lucky with regard to COVID, you know, I could literally walk out my back door and be in public land. You know, I spent a fair bit of time outside, whereas I know in San Francisco, you had streets closed so that you could get outside and it was a lot harder. Life didn’t feel that different, you know, in the outdoor kind of space. It felt way more different certainly in the communities and indoors.

But as soon as we got impacted by wildfires, we were basically on lockdown just because of smoke and AQI days that were you know, in four digits. You couldn’t see across the street for two or three weeks.

Nate Greenberg: And so that became an interesting thing and how people’s just sanity sort of got stressed, not just from the work, but then kind of feeling like you’re totally holed up, which I know a lot of people in cities felt throughout the entire pandemic.

Overall, I think a lot of it just came down to really being flexible, to being clear and honest and open with people about where they’re at, what they needed, you know, that family balance piece, childcare was chaos, schools were out, blah, blah, blah.

Nate Greenberg: So number one, number two, and number three were communication and regular communication with the team.

The application

Bill Raymond: It’s almost like agile at the speed of light almost, with some of these things that you were doing, especially with thisapplication. It sounded like every time you talked to someone there was more scope creep. But at the same time, you need to be able to do these things, right? If there’s nowhere to manage the inventory of masks, you need to have an application that does that.

The three teams and team dynamics

Bill Raymond: Can you talk a little bit about what that looked like, what that team dynamic looked like, and how you changed over time, as maybe things started to settle a little bit?

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, My team, you know, is kind of divided into three divisions, if you will. One is focused on infrastructure, the stuff that people almost never see, compute, storage, network, you know, the things that are kind of the, the umbilical cord and nervous system of what makes a organization like us be able to leverage the desktop PCs and the other pieces that we all touch as users.

The second team is really dedicated to that group of people, to the support side, the services side, implementation and the like, you know, so it’s really focused on customer success as a whole.

Nate Greenberg: And then the third team, is an applications group. And that group has traditionally been focused on leveraging GIS for mapping analysis, storytelling, communication, dashboards, and the like. As I said, we’ve been a customer of this low-code platform, Quickbase, for better part of 10 years now, actually.

And we’re using it for a number of internal business systems, namely in IT, mostly managing and tracking our work. Our entire project and work management system has been built in that application. And we basically, you know, live, breathe and die in it every single day.

Nate Greenberg: So all of our work requests come in through that, all of our time tracking and management happens through that. All of the project management and prioritization happens through that, you know, licensing and cost accounting and budgeting and all of those things. We’ve basically built a dedicated system on this platform to handle the way that we work.

Nate Greenberg: And so when we became sort of pressed to provide a solution better than Excel, it was a very natural place to go. And we first started to leverage more traditional GIS tools, but based on the complexity of what was needing to happen and the rapidity at which we needed to do things,the low-code platform just proved to be immensely beneficial.

Nate Greenberg: And the, the main reason for it was that you didn’t need to be a developer. This applications team that was fundamentally familiar with GIS, fundamentally understood database, they fundamentally understood web, they fundamentally understood how to produce dashboards and do report analysis work.

Nate Greenberg: And so we basically just started to take the work demands on us and chunk them out and be like, okay, this is a relatively straightforward user interface, user experience type of thing. Who wants to pick this up and run with it? And so these things would come to us either from the emergency operation center team in a more direct request standpoint, or from a public information officer standpoint, around they need to be able to produce new statistics or represent those in a new graphical fashion. Or sometimes from the frontline staff, who were like, Hey, I just got off the phone with somebody, and we don’t have a way to capture this kind of data. And so within the team, there was relatively like a group of four people, myself and three others, We were in constant communication using things like Teams or a lot of Zoom meetings, putting all of the work requests into Quickbase, into our work management system. It was very meta, we were using Quickbase to manage Quickbase projects. All of those requests were coming in and being created into tasks and then basically prioritized using sort of a SCRUM board and the traditional agile methodologies, requirements gathering, et cetera, all of that was sort of captured and then it was all transparent.

Nate Greenberg: So nobody necessarily owned anything until it was taken on, and then they would basically kind of run it to ground, up until the point where they maybe needed support or input from somebody else.

Nate Greenberg: The planning cycles you know were multiple hours, maybe multiple days if you were lucky, but generally, we were in like 24-hour sprint cycles for pretty much everything that we were doing.

Bill Raymond: Oh, that’s just incredible. Congratulations to you and your team for pulling that off. Even with the tools, there’s still a lot of logistics, communication, testing, challenges that come along with deploying anything. So I really want to congratulate you and your team for managing to pull that off and successfully supporting the public and health initiatives that you have there.

Nate Greenberg: Thanks, yeah. I am extremely grateful, I mean, an incredibly talented group of people here and they were all so committed throughout the entire process, but you know, it felt really good, we were recognized for a lot of the work that we did.

Exposure to what’s possible

Nate Greenberg: And I think, you know, more than that external recognition, one of the things that I think was extremely rewarding to see if you will, is that we had a number of people throughout the organization that were pulled out of their normal jobs and put into a role as a disaster service worker or, you know, tasked onto the emergency operations center team, sometimes for a couple weeks, sometimes for months. And as those people got exposed to a lot of the technology that we were putting in place, this application that you know, was growing incrementally over time, they were just blown away at A, how quickly things were getting built and implemented and B how functional and effective they were for what they were actually trying to get done. And as those people returned to their normal jobs, we had a number of them come back to us and say like, Hey, our system for tracking, you know, code compliance cases is a mess. We can’t use it. Is there any way we could leverage Quickbase and you could build us an app for that? It’s like, sure.

**Nate Greenberg:__ **I think it opened people’s minds to better ways to do things. And it’s really driven a digital transformation within the organization much more organically than I think we could have from sort of a top down approach where, you know, people are seeing what is possible and I think imagining it more on their own and now coming to us as a solution architect basically try to bring something to bear for them. **

Nate Greenberg: So that’s been extremely rewarding, and I think that we’ve met a lot of people kind of where they’re at, and we’ve got a long road ahead of us in terms of the demands, but it’s a pretty exciting place to be. And I think we’re doing a lot of really exciting things based on a lot of the lessons we learned over the last couple years.

Bill Raymond: The speed of change that we’re all going to be dealing with, won’t back down for quite some time here. So could you share some of those lessons that you’ve learned that others might be able to take a listen and say, I could use some of these ideas in my organization?

Nate Greenberg: Everybody likes to talk about change management. The reality of it is that it’s a stressful exercise, whether you’re on the driving end or the receiving end of it. And I think the number one thing is, really relationship with the customer, you know, in terms of actually leading and leveraging a team, having an effective team and having the relationships with those people that are the change agents, that really comes down to **trust. And I think **Fundamentally, the success in all of our work really was based on that trust. And I think a lot of that trust, internally within the team existed prior to coming into the pandemic and it set us up well to be effective as a team. Externally with our customers, came from delivery, it came from performance, it came from really hearing what they needed and applying resources and assets to sort of meet their needs.

Nate Greenberg: And so all of that I think, comes back to how do you communicate effectively, and how are you collaborating with people? And I think that it’s a challenging thing to do in a blue skies kind of world. I think you get forced to do it in a cloudy skies, in a pandemic or in a other natural disaster or any other kind of more stressful event.

But the extent to which I think you can have a strong team and really good foundation and trust going into any one of those, you’re going to be set up better to be addressing those unknowns that are being thrown at you.

Get the people closest to the people with the problem

Nate Greenberg: Another big thing is really, we found early on that ** **we needed to get the people closest to the people with a problem. And so those first few weeks, we were receiving requests secondhand, third hand from emergency operations or from folks answering calls. And by the time it would get to us, it was distorted, it was not exactly what was being asked by the person that put in the request in the first place. And you know, we were building stuff and they’d be like, no, that’s not exactly what we expect.

**Nate Greenberg:__ **And so we were just like, you know what, for this to be effective, I’m putting a developer in the ESC meeting, and I’m sorry if you don’t want them there, but if you want to see success being turned around as quickly as you expected, we need to get the people that can help as close to the people that are having the problem as possible, and eliminating those gaps in communication and having that collaboration be forced and effective. **

Nate Greenberg: And that I think really changed the dynamic dramatically. And we saw productivity, success around actually hitting what people expected and ultimately, the efficiency go way up through doing that. There’s no doubt that agile, whether it’s in a very traditional, structured fashion or something a little less perfect, was imperative. As I said, you know, we were in these 24-hour sprint cycles, it was trying to rank a priority that seemed like top of the list from two days ago against one that had come up this morning, that may be more important. And the only way we were able to do that was through those direct conversations with the customer and the, the user requesting it as well as with resources internally, and I think having that real-time communication was just imperative.

Nate Greenberg: If we hadn’t had some of those foundational frameworks of agility already rooted in the team, it would’ve been an interesting pivot, but I think really, because we were used to sort of working in that fashion, we just needed to turn up the volume on it a little bit, if you will.

Nate Greenberg: The last thing is really just that,** I think it’s interesting to see how willing many of us were to be agile and nimble and change during ** more chaotic times.

Nate Greenberg: But now that things are settling, people are kind of getting back into their more traditional ways of operating, and change is feeling hard again.

Nate Greenberg: And so what we’ve been talking a lot about is well, what was it about, you know, 6 months ago, 18 months ago, that was enabling these things to happen that now is not? Some of it was policy and some of it was more regulation, but a lot of it had to do with, I think people were very solution-focused.

Nate Greenberg: And I think really having an open mind and being willing to try to look at what are we trying to achieve, what is the most efficient and best way to achieve it, and not let perfect be the enemy of the good, those are things that I feel like we really should take away and hopefully, many of us do take away.

Recognition of the Work

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, thank you for that, that’s some really good advice. I did hear you mention that you and your team were recognized for some of the work. Could you share with us what those were? We received a couple of awards. There’s a national survey that happens for county IT organizations, called The Digital County Survey. It’s in partnership with the National Association of Counties and we were recognized two years in a row. There’s basically the awards given out based on population. So we were the first place winner two years ago, based on a lot of the work that we did around this application and the quick um, response and a lot of the public-facing things that were sort of put out there and the transparency. And then recognized again, I think as the second place finisher in that same award two years ago, for just some additional work that had been done in that space. A lot of public recognition within the community and a lot of regional recognition within the State. Also, my association of California County CIOs recognized a lot of the work that we’ve done, and I think as we’re pivoting out of the pandemic again, I mean, we’re actually being asked to come and help hand off some of that information to a lot of our colleagues, and we’re seeing other people leverage some of the practices and philosophies that we put out there. Overall, it’s been really rewarding to hear the recognition from staff within our organizations come to us, and, you know, occasionally, I get stopped on the street still and just say, Hey, thanks so much for all the work that you guys did and the information that you put out there.

**Nate Greenberg:__ And so I think **that’s obviously made us feel really good and certainly, throughout the whole pandemic, any time those things came back to us, anytime there was a recognition, it was shared immediately among the entire team. I think it was really important to just continue to help people, know that what they were doing, even as mundane as it may have seemed at the time really, was having an impact out there. **

Nate Greenberg: But I think that that is a really key takeaway too, is make sure that people know that what they’re doing makes an impact and that they are recognized for it.

Bill Raymond: Yeah, that’s great advice. It sometimes does just come down to that, you know, it’s you work all these hours, you’re not sure if anyone’s even paying attention sometimes, and then someone recognizes you for it and it just feels so good, and it kind of gives you that extra burst of energy to keep moving forward.

Reach out to Nate

Bill Raymond: Nate Greenberg, this has been a great conversation. I appreciate all the time that you’ve spent with us today. If people want to reach out to you, can they?

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, absolutely. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, under Nate Greenberg and happy to answer questions or chat more if anybody has any.

Bill Raymond: Yeah, thank you. And if you go to the agileinaction.com website and you look up this conversation with Nate Greenberg, you’ll find his LinkedIn link there. And if you’re listening to the podcast on an app right now, just scroll down to the description or the show notes, and you’ll see the link there as well.

Bill Raymond: Nate Greenberg, thank you once again for this great conversation. I really appreciate your time today.

Nate Greenberg: Yeah, likewise. Really enjoyed it. Thanks.

About the Agile in Action with Bill Raymond podcast

This business-focused podcast focuses on an audience that is passionate about making positive change in their organizations. The podcast presents interviews with leaders and practitioners who work tirelessly to modernize how teams work.

The Agile in Action with Bill Raymond podcast is sponsored in part by Cambermast LLC, an agile consulting firm that helps customers bridge the divide between business and technical leadership to improve team effectiveness.

Hosted by: Bill Raymond

Executive Producer: Reama Dagasan

Call for speakers and sponsorship

If you or someone you know would like to be a guest or sponsor, please contact our executive producer, Reama Dagasan.