Organizational Culture

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Excellence Through People

Our goals are to provide exceptional service at the best price and to develop an enjoyable and stimulating work environment from which personal and professional growth can occur.


About Excellence Through People

In 1995, City Manager Steve Schainker identified the need for Excellence Through People (ETP). While annual surveys indicated Ames citizens were very satisfied with the services we provided, Steve was concerned that if the City did not continue to provide the very best service possible, these customers would seek services elsewhere. He identified examples from around the country where services previously provided by city government were now being provided outside the organization. Given the variety of services provided by the City of Ames, it was impossible to find a single book, video, or training program that would teach every employee how to provide the highest level of customer service. Therefore, Steve believed it was important that we become a values-driven organization

ETP consists of three legs: Bringing Our Values to Life - the core 13 values that are the responsibility of every employee to embody, Create the Culture - additional duties of formal leaders to foster an environment of excellence, and Total City Perspective - the notion of using all the City's resources to address the needs at hand, which is led by the City department heads. As these three components of ETP are implemented, City employees will deliver exceptional service at the best price and develop an enjoyable and stimulating work environment from which personal and professional growth can occur.

It is important to emphasize that ETP was born not out of anything that was going wrong with our organization or employees, but rather as an attempt to institutionalize our commitment to provide exceptional service to our customers. Employees have been involved on every level to establish and define the values, identify how they apply to everyday activities, and highlight challenges to be addressed. In the spirit of continuous improvement, ETP has been updated over time. These changes have included revisions to the goals, values, and concept of Total City Perspective. In 2014, every work group in the City began to discuss each value in detail, identifying ways to bring them to life and further improve service for our customers. ETP continues to be the foundation for all aspects of service delivery in the City of Ames.

Bringing Our Values to Life

Continuous Improvement - Commit to ongoing evaluation of our systems and processes, and implement changes that enhance the achievement of the two ETP goals.

Creativity and Innovation - Enhance the delivery of our services by being creative (build it new) or innovative (borrow it from another source) to improve our systems and processes.

Customer Driven - Challenge ourselves, even when there are competing interests, to exceed customer expectations and maximize their satisfaction. Seek input through open communication with customers and others who may be affected to understand their point of view.

Data Driven - Collect and analyze relevant factual information to develop unbiased options resulting in effective recommendations/decisions.

Employee Involvement - Engage those who are closest to the work, or most affected by the outcome, to obtain their input, knowledge, and ideas; and to share decisions or conclusions with those impacted. All employees have a responsibility to provide this input.

Excellence - Commit to going beyond the ordinary and using our abilities and opportunities to their fullest; a sense of striving rather than settling.

Fiscal Stewardship - Procure products and services at the best price without compromising quality. Demonstrate responsible management of our resources entrusted to our care and utilize time wisely.

Honesty and Integrity - Be truthful. Do what is right and seek guidance when the right thing is not clear. Demonstrate the highest ethical standards even when no one will ever know, and policies and laws don't require it.

Leadership - Expect all employees to influence the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of others in a positive direction to accomplish City work goals.

Positive Attitude - Make a personal choice to emphasize constructive ideas, thoughts, and actions; overcome problems, find the opportunities in every situation, and look on the bright side of your work life.

Respect One Another - Demonstrate considerate and courteous behavior; seek to understand the ideas, opinions, and thoughts of others while maintaining appreciation for the individual.

Safety and Wellness - Uphold a commitment to the physical and emotional well-being of ourselves, our coworkers, and our customers.

Teamwork - Collaborate with others, bringing together different talents, skills, and knowledge to best accomplish our work.

Create the Culture

Our formal leaders have additional responsibilities to Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

Demonstrate a Total City Perspective

We routinely use all resources throughout the organization to provide exceptional customer service. This includes addressing a short duration, spontaneous, one-time need, a coordinated "surge" to address short-term recurring needs, and making strategic changes in providing ongoing services.