You are what you read?


Subject: RE: You are what you read?
In the interview we watched, Mr. Sample did touch on the “Super Texts”, works written more than 400 years ago which are still widely read today. Of the few that he mentioned one was Machiavelli’s The Prince which I believe is certainly applicable to city administration today. He also touched on methods for thinking creatively, hiring and firing people, making decisions, evaluating consultant’s advice and the importance of architecture as well as other subjects. I certainly do not agree with everything he had to say, but I do think the subjects discussed, for the most part, are very much applicable to the responsibilities of our department heads.

hank4From: Henry Springer []
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2015 4:19 PM
To: Harden, David
Cc: Henry Springer
Subject: RE: You are what you read
Thank you Mr. Harden. I should not have asked you who “instigated” and should have been more polite to have asked who recommended. Well, because you have suggested Steven Sample, I am researching him a little bit. My leadership and/or administrative reading is most certainly not as wide as yours, just from looking at the other authors on your previous reading list.
I am certainly open to contradiction but Mr. Sample seems to be offering a kind of fad style of leadership, based on classical studies. I have gone as long time ago gone through the classical studies Mr.Sample has recommended, and am now reviewing them. The 50s and 60’s were a long time ago for me.
The problem I have with Mr.Sample is that his style of leadership which he offers does not seem to me to fit the modern complexities of civic management these days. You would know better than I,since you have taken graduate courses in this field, which I have not. I am impressed that Mr.Sample recommends greatly reading the technology of one’s chosen profession, and I for the life of me cannot see how Mr.Sample’s list of referrences would help departmental heads in the port orange city administration.
If these administrative heads have not been exposed to the classics, it is too late for them now.
As you probably know, I don’t think some of the problems with our past administrators were due to not having read Dante’s Infirno, or even Atlas Shrugged, because although the business philosophy of Ayan sounded American as apple pie, I don’t think she was even remotely informed about inspecting what you expect. Was it Dagmar who rode the company train and fell asleep waking to be horrified that the train was stopped for procedural problems which the train administration was not even aware of?
May I ask you Mr. Harden. how often do you inspect what you expect, and do you keep a log of what you inspect?
I noticed that Kemper sports responded to my son’s observation that the golf course was not being kept up to par this year, and Mr.Collins referred to a monthly audit to prove that my son’s observation was not correct. Who does such a monthly audit? Not knowing who does the audit, I would hope that someone from the city does the audit. Can you please inform me.
Mostly I have found little fault judging from a distance the work you have done in Port Orange in a very difficult situation.
I wish you well.
sincerely, hank springer

Subject: RE: You are what you read?
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2015 19:52:59 +0000
I did. I heard the author, Steven Sample, answer interview questions at a conference a number of years ago. I showed department heads a video that was made of that interview. I have also shown them videos of presentations by Jim Collins, Marcus Buckingham, Patrick Lencioni, Chip and Dan Heath, Henry Cloud and Cory Booker, all speaking or being interviewed on various aspects of leadership and management..

hank4From: Henry Springer []
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2015 2:17 PM
To: Harden, David
Subject: You are what you read?
Good Day Mr. Harden,
Who instigated that Department Heads be introduced to “The Contrarians’ Guide to Leadership”?
From Hank Springer


2 thoughts on “You are what you read?

  • April 30, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Thank you Mr. Harden for engaging me with this dialogue.
    Ok on the super texts . I understand your point, but I prefer more modern day business applications as being useful for governmental agencies.
    I am keen on inspecting what you expect. Did you see the two 3 minute videos by Jim Kristof?
    You can find them on my web page at
    Do you have internal inspection reports subitted to you by the departmental heads. I don’t mean general audit reports either internal or external?
    Do you yourself make unannounced inspections of field operations and keep a record of such inspections.
    It seems to me that the system is set up perfectfully for unaccountability. Not only in Port Orange but in many governmental operations in the USA. It is true that I come from a system of “shoe flies” and internal inspections, by sergeants, leiutenents, captains and even from the Chief’s office.
    Mr. Kristof speaks to the advantage of such a system for businesses,and the government of Port Orange is certainly a multi million dollar business.
    The city council expects the city manager to take care of operations. The city manager expects the departmental directors to report problems to him. The city manager follows the directions and desires of the city council. How, neat! A regular revolving door of unaccountability. The city council do not inspect, the city manager does not inspect and the directors may do a general audit report, and of course rely heavily on the self serving externally hired auditors .
    If I am wrong, show me the documents testifying to internal inspections.
    Many of the past problems we have all been subjected to would have probably been exposed and addressed in internal inspections reports.
    If you have not viewed the two three minute videos by Kristof about inspection, please take a look at it. It develops my point much better than I can express it.
    Thanks for writing and good luck in your retirement years.
    sincerely, hank springer
    From Hank Springer
    386 852 3178


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