Reclaiming your Relevancy

The Standards and Codes Academy afforded me the opportunity to develop and present a training class last week (during the Becoming Agents of Change two-day training event) with the same title of this article. During the preparation for the class, I had the opportunity to explore feelings which led me to determine that this presentation became cathartic to me. 

I started the session by asking the attendees if change is inevitable. The overwhelming majority of folks responded in the positive with clapping emoji’s and hearts. The chat was filled with affirmations. To that, I followed up with the simple question, “if change is in fact inevitable, what’s your plan?” Suddenly, the chat fell silent and there were no streaming emoji  hearts or handclaps to be seen. This amazingly simple question stumped a virtual room full of very smart people from all over the country. It was that moment I understood how impactful this training session would be for both the attendees and for me.

The first take away from the class…you must have a plan!

Why is the change happening, why now, and what if I do not change? All valid questions to ask yourself but understanding how to plan for change makes changing successful. Easier said than done right? but trying to develop coping mechanisms for responding to change has worked for me in the past.

The second take away from the class…inevitably, in addition to change happening, you are going to encounter hate in the form of someone disliking you, or what you do.

Potentially, the hate can come from someone deemed irrelevant to you and your personal mission- no problem; but when there is in fact a connection, it can render your quest for relevancy difficult. People who I have come to believe are simply “detractors” are just unhappy with your “personal brand” and progress. In other words – a critic. During the class, I mentioned the process of personal branding, and how it involves finding your “uniqueness.” I have personally spent years building a reputation on the things that I want to be known for and worked hard to be known for them. In the public sector world, this was a strike against me because my “brand” meant being an integral part of my organization- but my detractors were seeking relevance themselves. 

Their hate started with bias that was left unchecked. Bias in this case was a preference against me that affected that person’s ability to judge me fairly. When that bias is left unchecked, it becomes normalized and accepted. I became a perceived threat to the status quo, which I have grown to understand meant I was doing something right! In these times,  negative word of mouth can have damaging effects on you, but thanks to the power of social media, people can now easily gather and share information on their experience with you and your brand and choose for themselves. Simply put, use negativity as motivation!

The final take away from the class…align yourself with someone traveling forward in the business you choose.

Build your personal brand around significance; meaning, the activities and values involved in your desired field. Learn how to share your brand values clearly so that those who are in your field recognize your potential and want to connect. Your brand should resonate with your “audience” so even those with high visibility notice you. Think about your contributions deliberately and with a purpose.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “relevance” as “the state of being intricately connected or appropriate to the matter in hand.”  In my opinion, the matter at hand is you, so get connected

Becoming Agents of Change

A Standards and Codes Academy Two-Day Online Training Event

Whether you’re a planner, code enforcement officer, zoning inspector, building official, plans examiner, regulatory agent or anyone in between, this ICC accredited, two-day Standards and Codes Academy event will deliver inspiration and maybe even spark some new and innovative ideas.

In local government, regulators (inspectors and officers) can be the catalyst for change; these are people who can make things happen by inspiring and influencing others. This Becoming Agents of Change event will promote, champion, enable, and support those who are ready to make changes for themselves and in an organization. A change agent inspires and influences key individuals to make the necessary transformations including attitudes and behaviors.

Scheduled for April 21-22, 2021, this incredible two-day event will provide training and brand new regulatory courses taught by industry leaders and renown trainers. This event is designed to help attendees understand that becoming an agent of change is the new requirement for leadership success. Change management has become a much bigger, more interwoven part of the overall regulatory fabric; it has become an embedded leadership requirement that plays into everything that we do on the field every day, and how we go about getting things done. All code officials must become agents of change. The requirements to be a successful leader have forced many to reinvent themselves to reclaim their relevance; without a strategy, change is merely a concept.

TRAINING EVENT CLASSES AND DESCRIPTIONS
(select one or two-day registration)

Pete Roque will be the Master of Ceremonies for this training event, and will act as the event host and moderator.

OPENING SESSION ON WEDNESDAY APRIL 21, 2021

Session 1 – Wednesday April 21, 2021  Mental Illness and Code EnforcementCecilia Muela-This class will discuss Mental Health tactics in the field, as well as mental health tactics for the Code Enforcement Officer.

Session 2 – Wednesday April 21, 2021  Reclaiming your RelevancyMarcus Kellum-This course is designed to help inspectors and regulatory officials reclaim the relevancy by achieving a level of mastery through a process of continuous improvement of your talents and abilities, combined with an active role in change management both professionally and personally.

Session 3 – Thursday April 22, 2021 A Servant Leadership Mentality- A Code PerspectiveKelvin Beene– This course assists in understanding the importance of the servant leadership model. These strategies will change the culture of your department, division and the identity of your inspectors when embraced by leadership.

Session 4 – Thursday April 22, 2021  Officer Safety and the Guardian MindsetGreg Smith– This class will go over the basics of the Guardian Mindset, Communications Skills, De-escalation Techniques, Safety Culture and Situational Awareness.

2021-04-21T08:30:00

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The Two-Day Event Begins

Essential Code Enforcement and Zoning Training

Welcome to 2021! I believe this year we will partake on a rewarding learning journey as we continue building management, regulatory, zoning and enforcement skills.

As we kick off this year’s new training offerings, we plan to provide quality continuous education classes and training opportunities. Some of you have already registered for these classes and we look forward to the upcoming sessions; but tell your friends and colleagues that there are still slots available!

The purpose of the Property Maintenance and Housing Class is to provide a framework to assist in creating a comprehensive strategy to combat blight and maintain properties in a community. It is ICC certified for 6.0/0.60 Hours/CEU’s

The Code Compliance and Sign Enforcement course will give code officials the ability to discern aesthetic interests in comparison to the importance of free speech. Join Attorney Brandon Bowen to discuss sign enforcement and maintaining First Amendment rights. this class is ICC certified for 3.0/0.30 Hours/CEU’s

If you are unable to register for these courses, don’t worry; there are plenty more to choose from; just CLICK THIS LINK to see a list of class offerings. Being well trained is not about position or job title; it is about the influence each of us has to impact the people and working environments that surround each of us every day.

We are excited about these offerings and believe each class will be both personally and professionally enriching. As with most things, the more we as individuals invest and embrace the experience; the more powerful it can become for us. We believe every one of you contribute towards the advancement of the code enforcement field and for that, it is important that we endeavor to improve skills and credentials. 

2021…Here We Come; Like It or Not!

With a “hopeful uncertainty,” I embrace the new year!

Hopeful because I am just hardwired to focus on the positive and embrace all the positive energy I can gather. After all, despite the “turbulence” experienced during 2020, many old relationships were rekindled, new relationships were forged and the universe “shifted” to reveal a new normal. Tired of that term already? Well, what I actually mean is the events of 2020 changed the way we work; the way we interact with one another; and the things we value (didn’t know how valuable toilet paper was, did you?). As I reminisce on the last 12 months and try to focus on the positive, I see potential opportunity presented to us to make the necessary changes in our lives that will get us through the next phase of “craziness” (whatever that may be).

I am however a bit uncertain because…well, just because!

While It is comforting to know that the upcoming year will be the year of the Metal Ox according to the Chinese zodiac, and that messaging suggests that success will come to those who work hard. If working hard includes getting out of the house more often than I have in last 10 months than I am totally in! But the reality is, we are quite the distance away from “the way it used to be.” Let us take this opportunity to reshape ourselves (literally and figuratively), retool and grow. I implore you all to use this time wisely and focus on what has changed. If you prepare yourself for how your industry will deliver its product or service in the “new economy,” and use this “pit stop” to learn something new or double down on what you already know, you will be super prepared for any new challenges.

With more online classes and training being offered than ever before, it is time to expand your potential and take advantage of learning and training opportunities. Create a plan, establish a budget and get to it!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliot

Farewell 2020! It’s Time for a New Year, and New Training Opportunities.

As the world continues its battle to contain the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to remember a time before COVID-19 and social distancing wasn’t on everyone’s mind. The lives of people around the globe came to a screeching halt earlier this year, with the virus forcing most to stay at home and avoid physical interaction to help further prevent its spread. Code officers all over the country became “front line workers,” and enforced new codes and ordinances to keep cities safe.

From NBA legend Kobe Bryant being killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, to the world watching George Floyd die on May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer which sparked a wave of demonstrations and riots across the world to demand an end to police brutality and racial injustice; I say wholeheartedly…

Goodbye 2020, and good riddance!

The good news is, there are a lot of great things happening with new and exciting training opportunities available. While 2020 has caused the world to react and adapt, in 2021 local governments and regulatory code officials should embrace the opportunity of allowing employees to not only work but to also learn from home.

Marcus Kellum and the team at Metric One Training and Consulting will be offering great new classes which will help towards maintaining your certification, and helping your organization deliver greater value.

You can Register Now for the Virtual Housing, Property Maintenance and Legal Aspects Class, or you can click the links below to view new course titles such as:

Effective Local Government Management,
Safe and Effective Field Inspections,
and by popular demand…
Developing a Dynamic Training Presence (Train the Trainer.)

Don’t forget to visit the ANNOUNCEMENTS page to see what’s currently available, and feel free to reach out and inquire about any classes or services you seek.

If your state organization, professional chapter, city, department, team, or organization requires certified, relevant regulatory training; the professional contributors of the Standards and Codes Academy can customize a program especially for you. With courses created and taught by nationally recognized instructors, you will receive up to date best practices and resource information in every class.

The goal of the Standards and Codes Academy is to integrate the practical experience of subject matter experts within the context of best practices, existing codes, and academic content. Attendees of the Academy will gain new insights on regulatory code enforcement, and all other aspects of building, property, and development services.

 

The New Age of Code Enforcement

Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

As a regulator or code official studying the history of codes, you often begin your journey by learning  that the Code of Hammurabi was one of the earliest and most complete written legal codes. It was a collection of 282 rules (known as the Hammurabi code of laws) that established standards for commercial interactions and set fines and punishments to meet the requirements of justice, and was proclaimed by the Babylonian king Hammurabi, who reigned from 1792 to 1750 B.C. (That might be on a test, so remember that!)

Naturally, with the implementation of these “requirements of justice,” one would argue there was a need for people to actually enforce these codes, which in turn gave birth to the forefathers of regulatory and code enforcement officials. Traditional code enforcement, as I have mentioned in previous posts, help protect the safety and health of citizens by ensuring that buildings and land in a particular local government (counties, cities and towns) are maintained in accordance with housing and zoning ordinances. In addition to inspection and investigation of properties, code enforcement officials determine the nature of environmental or health hazards, nuisance violations and unsafe conditions. Often, when regulatory staff determine there are violations, they often respond by exercising their code enforcement authorities to obtain compliance.

A decade ago, we saw code enforcement related activities gain national attention after the housing  crisis left municipalities littered with vacant and abandoned properties. Once again, the need for people to enforce codes that help protect the safety and health of citizens was necessary to cure the blight that affected communities throughout the country; but unfortunately, local governments did not provide  the proper level of support (staffing, equipment or enabling legislation). Code officials across the nation persevered with the tools they had available and helped communities heal.

2020 has once again redefined the true value of code enforcement activities as the coronavirus caused communities to depend on regulatory officials to deal with violations of newly enacted codes regulating social distancing, shelter in place orders, and masking requirements. While it is clear there are still many miles ahead of us as we combat the pandemic, it is a fact that the virus has upended the daily lives of people around the world. For code officials, the virus has led to the new categorization of “essential” worker, an industry shift to remote inspections and other changes that will permanently transform the way we work.

There is a new age in code enforcement, and it was as clear to king Hammurabi, as it should be clear to today’s local government leaders that code enforcement and regulatory officials are drivers of change in a community. Code enforcement services are equal partners in the effective management of the quality of life of a community and deserve to be in the room where it happens!

About the author:  Marcus Kellum, MMPA CCEA

Marcus Kellum has worked with local governments, private businesses, and professional organizations across the country to train their regulatory, compliance and enforcement officers and inspectors. He spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties in Georgia, Colorado, and the City of New York. He has held positions as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a Certified Code Enforcement Administrator and holds a BS in criminal justice administration, and a master’s degree in management and public administration. 

Virtual Housing and Legal Aspects Training Class

Coronavirus has limited many organizations from sending their staff to training; but virtual training (also know as online training) with MetricOne Training and Consulting is an instructor-led highly interactive session that can satisfy your certification requirements.

With many municipalities, counties and states passing the International Property Maintenance Code, this course covers enforcement of minimum maintenance standards for basic utilities, facilities, equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation, and fire safety. 

Code Enforcement Officer Safety Virtual Town Hall

On September 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM EST, the Standards and Codes Academy hosted a virtual town hall discussion regarding Officer Safety and Best Practices. The session was moderated by Pete Roque and offered perspectives and insights from code enforcement trainers and subject matter experts from across the country.

Rooted in a firm belief that effective code enforcement activities in a community support the quality of life for a resident, the Standards and Codes Academy is a progressive learning community that fosters individual professional growth, sets new standards for training in the regulatory industry and applies a universal quality training experience.

Creating a Culture of Safety for Code Enforcement Officials

Just like any normal day, you leave your home with the intention of putting forth an honest day’s effort for an honest day’s pay. You learn that several community members have recently complained about one house that has not cut their grass since the quarantine began back in March. As the world slowly begins to reemerge from their homes, this location has become an eyesore for the community.

You proceed to the house with the intention of engaging with the homeowner about the property condition, providing some insight on the established requirements for maintenance, and establishing a mutually agreeable time frame to address the issue; nothing more, nothing less.

While this relatively innocent scenario plays out every day for thousands of regulatory code officials across the nation, too often it ends in tragedy.

With the most recent news of the shooting of a code enforcement officer in Augusta Georgia, it is important to remember that there is a risk that regulatory officials take each day to protect the “quality of life” in a community whether you work in West Valley City Utah or Aurora, Colorado.    

Traditionally, code enforcement and other regulatory officials help protect the safety and health of citizens by ensuring that the buildings and land in a municipality are in accordance with housing and zoning ordinances. In addition to inspection and investigation of properties and buildings, code enforcement officers determine the nature of environmental or health hazards, nuisance violations and unsafe building conditions. Very necessary work, generally without the benefit of many of the protections and perks that come along with other enforcement-related jobs.

Code enforcement officers in the country have had their lives threatened, their vehicles damaged, and have been scared off by property owners for years. It is believed that 65% had been assaulted or threatened, and of those about 29% were threatened with a deadly weapon.

Therefore, officer safety should not only be a topic of discussion each day with your team, but it should be the number one priority for every code officer as they respond to complaints in their community. The current state of the nation has caused a wave of anti-police sentiment which code officers have unfortunately inherited, but each official should practice situational awareness and have safety strategies in place.

Creating a culture of safety requires consistent and thorough training. Educate your team and reinforce sound safety procedures with periodic safety training. Before you pick the perfect safety training course, do some research to determine which training courses, if any, are recommended by the code enforcement community. Management training courses are not as important as safety training courses if your goal is to arrive home safe each day.

5 Recommendations for Officer Field Safety

1. Engage in training that assists with being better prepared in every verbal encounter. Learn how to listen and speak more effectively, engage people through empathy and avoid the most common conversational pitfalls.

2. Increasing your situational awareness can give you an opportunity to escape or mitigate the danger presented by people or scenarios that could cause harm to you or those around you. Having increased situational awareness does not mean looking for trouble; in fact, the most effective way to win a fight is to avoid it all together.

3. Effectively use any Personal Protective Equipment (not just masks and gloves) to protect from the risk of injury by creating a barrier against workplace hazards. PPE should be provided, used, and maintained when it has been determined that it will lessen the likelihood of any injury and/or illness.

4. Vehicles used to conduct official business are to be operated in a safe manner consistent with local, State and Federal laws. The use of GOVs (Government-owned motor vehicles) is limited to official government business.

5. Generally, enforcement officers should have on clothing to clearly identify which department they represent. A uniform means a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization’s activity. For safety reasons, it is important to have identifying labels on your work apparel.

About the author: Marcus Kellum, MMPA CCEA
Marcus Kellum has trained thousands of code enforcement officials and inspectors across the nation. He spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties in Georgia, Colorado and the City of New York. He has held positions as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a Certified Code Enforcement Administrator and holds a BS in criminal justice administration, and a master’s degree in management and public administration.

Knowing Your True Self and Sharing Knowledge With Others

Photo by Samuel Silitonga

There is a common myth that successful trainers, teachers (or even people who write blogs) are constantly trying to help others discover their life goals. The common thought is that “we” are the ones who have seen the greatest truth–the “enlightened ones.” Well, this notion is false. In fact, many us who choose this path do so for the purposes of therapeutic self expression or we use it as an outlet. Every one of us has the similar ability to pursue our goals, constantly grow, learn from mistakes and get to know our own truth. While some of us can find that niche sooner than others (and even monetize it), some may need help to find the path to their personal destination; that is why developing a “mastermind circle” will help you get there faster.

A mastermind circle is a group of individuals with common goals and interests that surround themselves with each other for the purpose of goal setting, sharing ideas, strategizing, and providing inspiration so each member can more easily reach his or her goal.  One of the most important things a mastermind circle does is provide accountability. The members hold each other accountable to do the things they said they would do.  Mastermind circles can meet or speak as much or as little as the group decides, but successful people will often communicate with their mastermind circle at least weekly.

In Hill Harper’s book, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in its Place, he thoroughly recommends forming a mastermind circle in order to build self-confidence, success, and all aspects of wealth.  He suggests seeking out people who have similar talents and/or levels of success. 

So I recommend that you engage with the people you know, love or respect in a conversation about lifelong learning. Share what you are thinking and how it is helping you, and develop your personal mastermind circle. Sharing knowledge with the people around you will allow you to resonate on a deeper level; thus you will be able to realize your purpose a lot faster.