Mayor Michael Nutter’s Advice to New Mayors (and Other Leaders)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter addressed delegates attending the June 2 general session at GFOA’s annual conference in Philadelphia, providing excellent management advice for any leader, mayor or otherwise.

  • Have a plan. Articulate the better future you want to create.
  • Work the plan. The details of good governance don’t take care of themselves. You need to work at it.
  • Stick to the plan.  Be consistent, but keep in mind that as Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” – in other words, you’ll also need a backup strategy for when things don’t go as you expected. You can weather surprises while staying true to your vision.
  • Show how the plan is working. Unless you are raising taxes or stealing from them, the vast majority of citizens are just not that interested in the workings of local government. Therefore, you need to communicate what you are doing and how it is working, often, and in a variety of ways.