ELI Blog

Las Vegas Leads with Values

|October 10, 2017|No Comments

Our deepest sympathies are with all of those who lost loved ones or suffered injury as a result of the horrific event in Las Vegas this week.  We have the greatest respect for Las Vegas’s courageous, talented and committed public servants. They saved lives, intervened and brought comfort and help to so many. 

I spoke at the City’s Values Celebration earlier in the year.  I was impressed by everyone’s engagement with and support of the City’s action values.  It was inspiring then and demonstrated so extraordinarily this week.  ELI has made a contribution to those affected and harmed by the catastrophe and in honor of Las Vegas’s outstanding public servants.

What follows is a re-posting of what I wrote in January.  The great City of Las Vegas’s leaders and team members live by their ACTION values every day and when it matters most.


I had the honor and privilege to deliver the keynote presentation launching the City of Las Vegas’s annual three-day values conference for leaders and employees this past January. The City has held the conference since 2011.

The conference is part of the City’s commitment to live by its ACTION values: Achievement, Creativity, Teamwork, Integrity, Ownership, Now. These words give leaders and team members alike clear directions as to how to behave and serve one another and their community.

I’ve worked with many organizations that have values and mission statements and all of the related communications that support them. But the way the City of Las Vegas connects all of these together with commitments and deeds is unique.

At the conference, I spoke with the Organizational Development Administrator, Patsy McFadden Choat, who gave me an overview of Las Vegas, its vision and how the ACTION values are kept alive by the conference and other ongoing recognition that runs during the course of the year.

During the conference, participants listen to speakers who give them a focus and inspiration on the meaning of values, how to apply them, and how to best work together to serve the City’s citizens and its national and international visitors.

The statement of values is constantly reinforced by top leaders. For example, the conference started with a moving address delivered by City Manager Betsy Fretwell. She presented a powerful, simple, and personal message explaining the importance of values and the fact that everyone employed by the City is privileged to be able to work in public service. She made the point that how people interact should be driven by the City’s core principles.

Throughout the year, organizational health keeps alive the ACTION commitments, to make sure they have a direct effect on daily contact. Employees are recognized for how they behave and there are regular reminders and reinforcements when people work and demonstrate key principles.

In prior visits to Las Vegas, I remember the casinos, the shows, the glitter, the energy, the excitement. There is no doubt the combination makes the city unique.

But now I see another ways in which Las Vegas is unique: its commitment to values and how the City invests in them so that they are alive as opposed to static posters or billboards. In this city of fortune, I find it ironic and significant that Las Vegas does not leave its values to chance. Here are some pictures taken during my presentation and a link to the City and its values. There’s a lot to learn and apply.

My thanks to the friends I made during my stay and for their hospitality, warmth, and the learning experience they provided to me as well as to those in attendance.


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