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At least they like each other

Kaye Ferry

Last week, the Town Council reviewed yet another study they had commissioned. This one had to do with the staff and its appraisal of itself. The topic this time was the organization’s “culture,” the organization being the town of Vail and culture being, very simply, shared values that are conveyed and represented in a variety of ways.

Over time, many methods have been developed to assess this nebulous term. In the case of this particular study, four traits were measured: mission, involvement, adaptability and consistency.

According to the theory driving this model, the highest performing companies are strong in all four areas. They’re clear on where they are and where they are going. They buy into those definitions. They listen to and understand their customer and respond to their changing needs. They have systems in place that allows them to support these concepts. That’s the VERY short version.



Each of these four areas is broken down further into three sections for a total of 12. And while this is very simplistic, I’m only going to comment on a few.

The highest score in any area went to involvement-team orientation (85 percentile), specifically “teams are our primary building blocks.”



This clearly indicates that the staff at the TOV feels they work together as a team, which was one of the goals of Bob McLaurin when he started down this path. I’m glad they all get along over there. It makes for pleasant conversation around the water cooler.

So I’ll take a giant skip to the lowest ranked item. And, of course, this is the one of most interest to me. It came under adaptability-creating change (26 percentile), namely “we respond well to competitors and other changes in the business environment.” In other words, they don’t. Hellooooo. Isn’t that what we’ve all been saying? Wasn’t that the message, loud and clear, at the community meeting? We all think it and now the staff itself has confirmed it.

The area that seems in general to be the most wanting is mission, specifically strategic direction and intent. “There is long term purpose and direction” – 33 percentile. “There is clear strategy for the future” – 29 percentile. “Our strategic direction is clear” – 37 percentile.



Keep in mind that 100 percentile is the top of the scale. What this seems to say is they don’t know where they’re going. But they like going into the great unknown together, because they’re a team. Nonetheless, their purpose is not clear.

Maybe that’s why there is no ability to adapt to change. What is the town adapting toward? And of course, again, survey after survey has verified this. No leadership. No vision. How can you get somewhere if you don’t know the destination?

The big question remains, will the powers that be finally get it and if they do, which would be a HUGE awakening, do they have the you know whats to do something about it? We’ll exempt one council person from the you know whats – undoubtedly, she’ll find other reasons to hang on to the past.

But ignorance of the facts is no excuse. Every single study has identified the same problems. Things have to change. And soon. And they have to start at Town Hall.

So now let’s have a quiz. Here are some really confusing issues that need clearing up. Maybe someone out there can help.

QUESTION1 OF THE WEEK: Why do you suppose the convention center didn’t make the “to do” list at the community meeting on July 26? Of the 80 people in attendance, NOT ONE mentioned the convention center as a solution for anything. Care to comment?

QUESTION 2 OF THE WEEK: Does any one know why there is a stop sign on Vail Valley Drive at Homestake Circle? There are two other circles off of Vail Valley Drive, but they don’t have stop signs controlling them. On Eagle’s Nest, there are five houses; on Homestake there are eight houses; and on Hornsilver/Cabin there are 14 houses. Why would one of these be treated differently than the other two? Especially when Hornsilver/Cabin has significantly more traffic.

Not to mention the insanity of stopping every car travelling on Vail Valley Drive for the sake of eight houses on Homestake. The sign itself is barely visible and requires not only the stop sign, but a warning that a stop sign is coming up and also a line painted on the road to tell you that you have arrived at the stop. A cappuccino to whoever can solve this one.

QUESTION 3: Another cappuccino to anyone who can explain the ticket allocation system used for the Fourth of July concert at the amphitheater. Rarely have I heard so much grumbling. It rivaled the VRI Who concert when Blue Sky Basin opened. Bravo and Vail Valley Foundation patrons had 400 tickets set aside for them, whether they needed them or not. And because the general public could get four tickets, they did so even if they didn’t necessarily know who was going to use them. The end result was that many tickets went unused.

The crowds, indeed, were controlled. In fact, they did such a good job that the place wasn’t even full. The old system seemed to work just fine. Show up and get in if there was room. Period. Why do we always have to reinvent the wheel? I know people who have never missed one of these concerts – until this year, that is.

QUESTION 4 OF THE WEEK: How is it that Packy Walker can march in one parade a year and zero in on the heart of the issue when our electeds are spending 13-hour days in Town Hall and still don’t get it?

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF TIME: The Parking Committee meets today, July 9 at 1 p.m. at Public Works, NOT 2:30 as previously announced. If you haven’t called in to voice your opinion on next year’s parking plan, please do so. Go to your phone NOW.

Do your part, call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@ci.vail.co.us. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry.

Kaye Ferry, founding president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.


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