The Little Falls City Council approved a proposal to implement a leadership development program for city employees.

City Administrator Jon Radermacher said that the program has a heavy focus on improving communication between staff and throughout a workplace. He said that the program identified five different communication types that people use and would train staff to work with each other more effectively by understanding each other’s communication style.

The training, provided through Giant Worldwide, would involve a commitment of two to three hours a month with a consultant either in person or via video conference as well as team training and use of Giant TV. Radermacher said that the program includes dozens or even scores of other training opportunities beyond communication.

The Council previously approved funds dedicated toward a program, which Radermacher said would cost $8,239.72, less than allocated in the budget. That amount would cover the first year training of eight senior staff members, including Radermacher.

Radermacher said that he previously participated in Giant Worldwide’s Xcelerate program with Sourcewell and would be included in the first year of the program as a guide.

If all goes well, Radermacher said the program will extend for three years, the second year would train tier two staff and eventually the third year would train all staff members.

“The advantage of that strategy is that we can take the lessons learned in year one and experience that is gained by those participants in the first year, so they can help in the training process for those in year two and same for year one and two working with the year three folks,” Radermacher said.

He noted that Sourcewell has implemented the program with several school districts and that Stephen Jones, Little Falls Schools superintendent had a lot of praise for the program.

Councilman James Storlie raised some concerns about the curriculum and specifics of the program and questioned what the money could be spent on. The council did approve the proposal 6-1. Council President Brad Hircock was absent.

Negotiations for the contract are ongoing and if after the first year the city decides to no longer continue the program, the contract will allow them to do so.

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