Sean R. Stegall believes the world can be changed one community at a time by “creating the local government that doesn’t exist.” As Cary, NC’s CEO, he’s a catalyst for change in a place where not only is nothing wrong, but by every measure, everything is nearly perfect.
With the support of the elected Council, Sean and Cary’s staff are co-creating a new organizational culture that realigns people, processes, and purposes for an ever-changing future. They’re breaking or discarding much of what made Cary great today and replacing it with new ways of thinking and doing – all in an effort to “keep Cary Cary,” that is, to keep Cary at the top of the arc by preparing Cary – the government and the community it serves – for an uncertain future.
Local Decisions Are Best Made Locally
We have all been given a front-row seat to watch the states do battle with the federal government, as governors challenge the President – and visa-versa – when it comes to who knows best and who possesses the highest legal authority in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Relational, Not Transactional – Building Cary’s 311
311 is a non-emergency phone number people call in many cities across the country for information about government programs and services, as well as to report problems. As 311 trended nationally, Cary considered implementing it in the early 2000s to continue to improve its citizen experience.
In 50 years of employment, I have not experienced city wide, excuse me, town wide inclusive leadership at this level. I think Jim Collins would call it Level 5 leadership. But I believe in Cary leadership is beyond his description. He might want to rethink his premise and look here.
We brought Sean to Cary, in part, to help us authentically improve our standing with our neighbors. That could only happen with changes to our own thinking, our own perspectives, and our entire organization’s culture. Sean’s success with us comes from the relationships he builds and creating the conditions where we can all be successful. That’s my idea of leading, and I encourage everyone to learn more about what we’re doing in Cary, NC.
Sean Stegall is one of a handful of city managers nationally who has embraced the changing nature of local government as an opportunity to empower the organization’s talent. The inevitable ambiguity associated with this cultural organizational change has motivated sean where others might be stymied by it.