NCSL Podcasts

Coaching, Leadership and Legislative Staff | LTIS Episode 18

Episode Summary

On this episode, host Tim Storey sits down with Paul Danczyk, director of Executive Education in Sacramento for the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. As important for NCSL, Danczyk is the co-director of the Legislative Staff Management Institute, which has provided hundreds of senior legislative staffers from around the nation with the opportunity to develop and enhance their management and leadership skills. Applications for the next session are open through April 14 on the NCSL website. Danczyk designs and presents leadership and management programs and also serves as an executive coach. Their discussion covers everything from “impostor syndrome” and “decision fatigue” to why understanding the patterns of behavior in an institution is critical to leadership. They also discussed our mutual respect for people in public service and the often enormous challenges they face

Episode Notes


Episode Transcription

TS:      This is “Legislatures: The Inside Storey.”Thank you for listening. I am the host Tim Storey, CEO of the National Conference of State Legislatures, NCSL. My guest is Paul Danczyk, director of Executive Education in Sacramento for the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. I was especially excited to visit with Paul because he is a close partner with NCSL as the co-director of the Legislative Staff Management Institute, LSMI. LSMI is a flagship program of ours that has provided hundreds of legislative staffers with the opportunity to develop and enhance management and leadership skills in a high-level executive education setting. Applications for the next session of LSMI are open through April 14 and you can find out about that on NCSL’s website. Paul designs and presents leadership and management programs. He also serves as an executive coach. Our discussion covered everything from imposter syndrome and decision fatigue to why understanding the patterns of behavior in an institution is critical for leaders. We also discussed our mutual respect for people in public service and the enormous challenges they face today. 


            What a treat it is for me Paul Danczyk to have you on the podcast today. I truly am grateful. I’ve really been looking forward to catching up with you and talking about leadership and legislatures and LSMI at some point. So, Paul, thanks for coming on the podcast.


PD:      Tim, it’s great to be here. I always love being able to connect with you and admire the work that you are doing at NCSL. 


TS:      We will get into it as we move on, but obviously you have a history with NCSL that is quite special, and I’d love to spend some time talking about the LSMI Legislative Staff Management Institute, so we are going to put that that’s maybe chapter two or chapter three in my sketch of things I’d like to talk about. But spend some time figuring out where your focus has been and your focus is what we often talk about on this podcast leadership, excellence, change and transition, transformation. Complicated concepts in the legislative world. I really appreciate to hear somebody who understands legislatures, but is also very deep into public administration practice and theory and. First talk a little bit about the Price School and your role there.


PD:      I’m the director of Executive Education for the Sol Price School of Public Policy based in Sacramento. We have two different campuses. Los Angeles, of course, is our main campus and we are up north to be able to connect with the policymaking community of California. So tied in right into the state capital. I’ve been working at USC for just under 20 years, 19 years, and some change right now. Focused on this leadership space on how do we create great public organizations and recognize that as much as we want to believe that the systems we created are non-human, they are filled with human beings. So, therefore, they are human systems that have some human flaws associated with it and we are there to help support those that are in leadership positions to be able to do great work and recognize there is a lot of transformation happening within public service. My specialty is focus on a safe legislative environments and county governments. So, it’s where the rubber hits the road from all the policymaking that you all create.


TS:      I know that executive coaching has become a big part of your portfolio and time, and you know you’ve developed some systems that think about leadership and public administration. And I was thinking about this intersection between sort of executive leadership and legislative branch. I know the word executive means two different things. Its context is there is sort of the executive branch, but then we use it to, you know, to mean, you know, top managers, top leaders of organizations at large. So, that is kind of one reason I’m really excited we are having this conversation because there’s as you know all too well, there are sort of two groups within legislatures. Really three I guess if you talk about there is the legislators, there is the legislative staff and then there’s the others, the, you know, the advocates, the lobbyists that come into the equation. And executive leadership could mean very different things for those three different groups. I really am sort of fascinated by your executive coaching. How long have you been you know sort of doing it. The whole time have you been executive coaching the whole time?


PD:      In a formal capacity, over the last nine years. When we think about the field of executive coaching, it’s similar to other professions where there is professional training involved for those that are certified coaches. So, I became certified about nine years ago. Somewhere around that timeframe. And I’ve worked with over 600 executives as I’m framing it references those in leadership roles not the executive branch in this case. 


TS:      Sometimes when you do interviews, you do this kind of work, you start to hear some of the same things, you know, over time so I’m curious like what are the most common themes you hear like wow it turns out we all have the same problems and issues or maybe not. Maybe there are things that are very unique so what are the common challenges you’ve heard when talking to people in those roles?


PD:      There’s a lot of similarities. When you talk about legislative environment, there’s a lot of organizations that are very similar in structure. Although how people get into those roles looks different. Universities, for example, are very similar to legislative environments when you are talking about the structure, right. Where you have a certain group of people that are protected and a certain group of people that support those that are protected. So, university level right, you have your tenured professors. And then you have the staff level, and you have the dynamics in between. Legislative environments are very similar right. We have the elected officials coming in and you have the staff to be able to support them to be able to do great work. When you think about organizations like that, while there is some that are structured that way, most organizations aren’t, right. They are more of a hierarchy coming into play where you come in at some point in time along this hierarchy and you work your way up to the top if that’s your interest and motivation to be able to do it.


            These types of environments where you have that clear cut of knowing who is faculty and who is not faculty. Who is elected and who is not elected. It causes different types of dynamics within the organization because not only are you identifying those challenges that are in a traditional type of organizational structure so that being I’m in a staff role. I have a certain staff hierarchy that has certain accountability built into it. I also have this small p politics coming in in a different way right. Where there’s this line that’s maybe an invisible line that we know that it’s there and we are also sensitive to knowing what our role is within that type of structure when we can step over it and when we can’t. And because of that when we look at staff, particularly staff level within those types of organizations, the types of accountability measures that you would typically have within the structure. So that, thinking about placement or promotion or pay, those things are less important. And what’s more important is influence. How do you influence the behaviors of each other to work collectively together towards a common goal. And when we look at this coaching space, what we recognize is that we all get stuck in different ways and it looks different for each one of us which is one of the reasons why I love the coaching space cause it’s getting into this professional and development realm right. Recognizing that look if we are going to grow as individuals within our professional space, we have to find those opportunities to continue to learn. And when we are in group settings, that has a certain type of outcome focus of what you are collectively learning. The executive coaching space is saying even in this big umbrella of topics that you know we are co-exploring together, I’m interacting with it maybe in a slightly different way than the person sitting next to me and how do I get unstuck from where I am. 


            So, getting back to your question Tim of where people tend to get stuck within this space, there is a lot with team dynamics of how do you interact with your team, right. So those might be more in an organizational space of having a difficult employee and you know how do you help them where they are. We also see a lot around the imposter syndrome of you know how do I get to where I am, and this would be true both in the staff level and on the elected side right. It’s getting into an unusual dynamic right because as much as we are forward facing of putting on a certain persona when we are doing our duties and our roles, there can be some self-confidence issues that start to arise. And recognizing that that happens to all of us right. It is part of the human experience. Coaching is appealing for a number of different reasons right. There are all the theoretical backings of why we get into this work. Things that we can do with the client. Things that we can work on with the client. The whole confidentiality piece comes into play. What distinguishes coaching from mentoring for example is that we are not with the individual within our organization right. So, we are almost that steam release valve of being able to talk to someone who understands the context. Understands the environment and also has no authority about how you perform within the workplace environment right. We are not connected to HR in most cases. We are not linked to your supervisor in most cases. It’s really all about the individual. And because of that, we build up our thoughts, our pressures, our perspectives and we often don’t have a release valve because in the workplace it might not be a safe environment for us to have some of those conversations. Our loved ones at home might listen to us, but not really get what we do in the first place let alone how to just hear and help grow from where you are. And the coaching profession helps do that right. Being able to recognize the work that you are doing. Understanding the context and the environment in which you work and also get what it is like to be human being. And because of that, we ask tons of questions and help the individual get unstuck from where they are without directing them in a certain way because no one knows their environment better than they do.


            (TM):  10:05


TS:      You raise this question the imposter syndrome. I kind of latched onto that cause I could see this being a common theme in the legislature world both on the staff side and on the legislature side. Is that what you find most common when you at your second session of coaching. You know you’ve kind of established a confidential space and some trust and then they are like wow, I sometimes wonder how I belong and how I fit in when I look around at my 99 colleagues on the house floor or I look around at these amazingly smart people in the legislative agencies.


PD:      I wouldn’t say it’s the most common. I would say it is more common than you think it would be.


TS:      And then what do you tell them? I mean what’s your advice for people who are saying like I don’t belong here. These are impressive people.


PD:      That’s where the individuality comes into play with the coaching right. Because the way that I think about my role within this space, there’s not one single right answer. If there was Tim, I would not work at USC. I would be a consultant making gazillions of dollars because I had the right answer and I’d go spread the word with everyone and make money on the speaking circuit. Fundamentally though, it’s an individual experience right. So, what I think where I’m getting stuck is going to look different than maybe where you are getting stuck. And because of that being able to work with a coach and exploring what are those foundations, how do I understand the environment, how do I grow and learn from it. That’s where the steps come into play. What I recognize within this field though is you can see transformation happening even in a small amount of sessions. So, we do spot coaching, which is two or three sessions that’s actually tied to the Legislative Staff Management Institute as an experience on what does this coaching space look like?How can I consider using it in my professional experience as just a development tool. And I have clients that are long-term clients. And what I recognize is that transformation can happen pretty fast within a short timeframe. So, the conversations that we have within the spot coaching look different than the longer-term clients because we are working with them in a different way because we are able to see trends that start to emerge, aha moments and then different types of application for those clients that might be longer in nature. You are seeing them put an application and recognizing that sometimes we are going to fall back to past behaviors.


TS:      You know it is like an amalgam of that experience or I mean even a specific example obviously you are not going to tell us who or what situation, but I kind of want you to tell a story about this so I can understand it.


PD:      I remember when my first longer term coaching engagements was from a senior executive in a public office in Florida. So, in this case, a public office that’s not an elected position, but one in a large organizational structure. She got to the point where she couldn’t make decisions. I mean this is where, as a coach, you have to be able to separate yourself from who the client is and getting caught up in their story and focus on the art of coaching. I was struck by this person because they were in such a senior position and to hear them say I can’t make a decision anymore. And for her, it was because she knew that every decision, she would make would impact a lot of kids and every decision that she would make would hurt a lot of kids. And she got paralyzed by policy essentially right. So, you when working with that type of client it is getting to the foundations of understanding how you got to this point. And in order to get to that role, she had to be really good at making decisions right. Her discernment had to be just spot on for the organization to recognize that she is the one to fill “X” role. And then once there over a period of time to become paralyzed in making decisions is a reflection of her environment right. So, a reflection of how she is showing up within that space and how do I best help her from where she is without telling her what to do. When we start getting into space that we are looking with working with clients, we are not in the spot to tell them you have to do X, Y and Z and you will get out of this situation. That’s not our role. Our role is to be able to recognize what’s happening within this environment and how do we help the client from where they are of recognizing that they are going to have good days and bad days and we are not to tell them what to do, but we are going to help them explore why is it happening. What trends. What patterns are we watching. 


            I was told this a long time ago, Tim, that consultants always have to have a good iceberg analogy in their back pocket. Let’s picture an iceberg right now and this top of the iceberg, the part that you can see is our environment right. And we tend to react in that space right. We see something happen and we react. And if we look underneath right if we see how the iceberg is made. If we put it into three different chunks you know we can think about it in terms of patterns of behavior. So where are those patterns that create that visibility piece. We can think about it in terms of structure of what structures are in place that help facilitate you know a certain type of outcome. And then the human experience right. The mindset, the feelings, the emotions, how we respond to it, our style. It’s all underneath the surface level. And what we start to recognize is if we are always operating at the top, we are always in a constant reaction mode. And if we are in a constant reaction mode, it’s linked to stress. It’s linked to burnout. It’s tied to all these just very human responses and characteristics right. Just how we understand the world. And if we allow ourselves to understand what is happening in our environment through different lenses right. We are looking at it through patterns of behavior. If we are looking at it through structure. If we are looking at it through style. We are able to step back. Still be in the same environment but be able to step back and respond. And fundamentally what I try to do in my work is get us away from the reaction type of response into a response mode of being able to say I can react and there’s times when I have to react. But sometimes I’m reacting when I can really respond. So am I just looking at the environment at face level or am I pulling in different perspectives into the mix. And that’s what we try to help and uncover. What are those things that we know are happening, but we just don’t see it in the moment because we’re caught up in the reaction space.


            (TM):  16:22


TS:      I’m thinking about legislatures being in session, which most of them are. Sessions are these unique creatures because they have these you know really hard time limits for the most part across the country, not all states. But even in the full-time states, you know, they’ve got their deadlines. So, there is just this tremendous pressure because of the volume of decisions that come through. So, your legislator or legislative staff person who has to get research into the stream as fast as possible, so you’ve got tremendous volume, hard time pressures. So, of course, it’s going to be stressful. And, of course, my thought is like everything is reaction. And by the way, I’m also fascinated by this notion of decision paralysis, which I think is probably more common than just your example in Florida. But if you are a legislator or legislative staff person, you are making decisions constantly. Every bill you vote on. You might vote on hundreds of bills especially towards the end of session. You are making decisions about what information to provide on a particular bill if you on the legislative staff side. It just feels like an environment that is not conducive to respond versus react. So, parse that out a little bit. Like, what do you mean by react?  What do you mean by respond and how do you find perspective in a world that’s moving so fast. So how do you balance all of that?


PD:      What you are describing is recognizing that you know as human beings we make decisions all the time. But what you are describing are decisions that have a different risk level associated with them. Me making a decision on what I’m going to have for lunch is low risk. Me making a decision on a major policy issue probably high risk. Maybe moderate to high depending on what type of legislation it is right. But you are right. You are always in that constant mode and what happens when we are making decisions within that space, decision fatigue is a real thing. It could be that at the end of the day you know how you are just so wiped out from making high risk decisions all day long that when it comes time to taking care of yourself like what am I going to have for dinner, let someone else handle it. Just bring me a sandwich or whatever it is because I don’t want to make another decision for the day. What I’m talking about though is this type of an environment saying look when we are recognizing the patterns of behavior that start to emerge and the legislative environment is a really good example of being able to watch patterns of behavior happen. You know when the filing deadline is. You know when the end of session is right. You know what these deadlines are. You can recognize what are the patterns of behavior that start to emerge in order for us to meet certain deadlines. Introduction to a bill. Drafting a bill. The committee levels right. You are watching all of these pieces interact with each other and for the ones that we can start to anticipate and saying look I know that this piece of legislation is working its way through the system, and I can get ahead of it. It’s a low-risk piece of legislation maybe that has bipartisan support. It’s going to even have the governor’s signature on it right. Those types of pieces of legislation for example can be started at a different timeframe than ones that might have a larger political risk associated with it or a larger policy impact or a physical impact you know whatever that pressure point might be. So, not everything is coming towards the end to be able to make a lot of high-risk decisions on everything. You are able to say oh we can spread this out in a different way that we can still get the job done. We can still have the public debate for it to happen and we can do it in an environment that decreases some of the stress of the system. And when I’m talking about stress of the system, we can talk about stress on the system itself or we’d look at it from just a pure outside perspective of watching these pressure points. We could also talk about stress of the system as me as an individual of when am I just going to purely explode. 


            When we see people that interact with the system, you start to recognize that pressure hits people in different ways. You know it can be very energizing for a lot of us, but it has to be good stress right. If it starts having that bad stress, then that’s when we start to shut down and start to burnout. And we can recognize that when that happens as well. 


            I think another interesting dynamic is looking at the way that the state legislatures operate of looking at you know full time, part time. Looking at how the electives come into play. You know are they known candidates coming in. Are they known personalities into the mix. Is it always someone new. Those would add different levels of stress into the environment because the patterns of behavior aren’t known yet. So, if you have an elected official that’s been there for 20 years, you have a really good sense that when I go see Tim, I can anticipate this type of response from him. Now if Tim is new, we don’t have a relationship yet Tim, so I don’t know how you are going to respond to this or not. I don’t know if you are going to be holding a hardline all the way through. I don’t know if you are going to be kind of still thinking about its kind of mode and really thinking about it. Or just saying I’m thinking about it when you really have your heart set on a certain direction right. That part of the relationship isn’t formed yet. So, when we are talking about you know that iceberg metaphor when it’s someone that has been there for a long period of time. If I’m not astute enough to be able to recognize patterns of behavior and how the system interacts with that, I’m going to be I reaction mode all the time when I don’t have to be.


            The point is getting ourselves into that space of saying there’s times when I have to react. There’s also times where I can respond in the same environment if I understand patterns of behavior, how the system works and fundamentally who I am as an individual. I mean where I get my energy. 


TS:      Sometimes I marvel that legislatures as institutions perform as well as they do given the limits and the stress factors that come on them because I don’t think they were designed for efficiency. I think they were you know they’ve got this maximum transparency element to it. So, I guess this leads me you know a lot about the legislative environment, and you know if you were to redesign. If you could do legislatures 2.0 or 6.0 you know what would your magic wand power be to change the legislative world, the legislative environment?


            (TM):  22:27


PD:      You know there are so many great factors about it which is one of the reasons why I kind of well not kind of why I geek out around public service. There is a reason why our organizations are structured the way they are. And sometimes it is a slowdown to the process to allow us that space to be able to think, debate and really figure out what we hold as a collective value. I think that’s where part of the challenge comes in maybe in modern elected environments and certainly legislatures would be part of those, but I think we could talk about other types of elected bodies that might face similar types of challenges. And that’s looking at it who is coming into public office and why are they coming in right. That would be one. The influence of social media, I think is a huge modern factor that we are still figuring out on what that looks like. I mean that’s part of the excitement of the work that we collectively do. It’s changing all the time. Fundamentally we recognize that leaders do two things really well. So, two different streams of thought. One is that they spend a lot of time reflecting. And when we talk about reflection, it’s understanding for myself how does this what does this mean for me. How does it tie into my environment. We can think about it in terms of internal self-awareness right. I’m just in my head thinking about what today was like and maybe I like to journal. Or maybe I like to you know capture my thoughts in a very specific way. But it is a very individual type of game. 


            What we can also think about it as external self-awareness of am I getting feedback from you Tim on how I showed up today right. What does that look like and how does that influence what I might do tomorrow right. So, we can think about that self-awareness piece. The other thing that we know that great leaders do really well is they place a high value on two things. They place a high value on outcomes and a high value on relationships. And when one of those is off kind of fun things happen right. So, if a leader focuses too much on the outcomes, it creates a very competitive environment right. So, if we go to a legislative environment, we can see when our environment becomes very competitive. There are certain bills. There are certain initiatives that come through that just become very competitive usually in a partisan way. Not always. We can see when the outcome is creates that competitive environment. If it’s too much on the relationship side of the house, then we focus on a combination where we just go along to get along right. And when that happens the outcome piece starts to suffer right. You don’t really get anything done. You are just always appeasing the other person. And we can see examples of this happening within elected bodies all of the time right. We can see when there is a high focus on outcomes that they get the job done, but it’s really hard on relationships. And we can see times when it’s all about the person or the people usually the person and you don’t get anything done right. You’re just kind of spinning your wheels. You are doing the minimum maybe as the new minimum Mondays legislative context I don’t know right. But you start seeing these two different dynamics play out.


            When a leader focuses on both right. When they are hyperfocused on outcomes and relationships, you see something different happen and this is generally the way we’ve been framing collaboration in a contemporary context right. Where people are not only getting along, they are also getting the job done. And this is where you are able to start from a strength and continue that strength. If I would change anything within our political environments right now, it would be understanding that dynamic of how to get a job done and also hold relationships because particularly right now I see a lot of relationships being strained in ways that just aren’t helpful for the human experience. It is not helping us collectively as a society. And you know, I think a lot about the federal side because we are all impacted by the federal side. That’s not helpful for how states govern because that type of culture trickles down into the state governments and then it trickles down into the local governments. It’s predictive right. We can watch it happening and it’s also very concerning of how do you manage such paradoxes right. The paradox of relationships and outcomes to be able to do just great work for our society recognizing that we are all in this together and our values can also shift over time. So how do you make sense of all of that and that’s why we need great elected leaders to help us guide the way.


TS:      I kind of would like to reverse that notion that oh what happens at the federal level trickles down to the states and trickles down to local cause I think frankly states are legislatures not all of them but, you know, the large majority of them are just far more effective legislative institutions than the federal Congress. And I think most of them know that. I don’t think they look at their ques. I think some of the toxic sort of partisan they are, you know, toxic politics and media environments, social media. That stuff leaches down from the federal level. But I’d like to see I’d like to see them start to take a harder look at why our legislatures work. I do understand what you are saying.



            (TM):  27:36


PD:      Tim I don’t disagree with you about the effectiveness of the governance. But when we look at the relationship side of the house, the trends of the relationship side of the house are permeating through local government right. So, when we think about some of the national conversations that we have had in recent years right. I’m feeling that at a local level. I live in a rural community in California right. I feel it all the time right. And that’s not coming from the locals. I mean when we if you went back maybe 20 or 30 years, this community is a very loving community. They are always supporting each other. It’s not necessarily a lot of resources from the public side of the house right. The county isn’t flushed with cash so there is a lot of giving back to the community. There is a coat drive in the winter for kids. There are fundraisers all the time for people with disabilities and education and I mean you name it. We have a lot of fundraisers happening. It is a very giving community. And at the same time, the community has become very polarized in recent years because of what is happening on the national stage right. So, when we are talking about you know the effectiveness of legislatures, I’m an institution guy. There’s no doubt that state legislatures work, and they work in very effective ways and are more nimble right. They are test things out. They are able to experiment with it. I think where the trend is coming into play at least I mean you are the expert on it so you will have to set me straight, we are starting to see the trickle effect of even states are being influenced on a national scale now. So, when we are looking at you know the type of work that they are doing, it seems like there is a shift happening right now where there’s more influence that might be more national type of policy interests that are coming into the state level for debate, and some are taking hold whether or not they represent the communities or not. 


            I think there are some dynamics happening right now that I find really interesting and also excited to see how the state institutions respond to it.


TS:      Yeah, that’s the thing. I don’t doubt for a second what you are saying, and I understand it completely about this notion of you know the hardlines, the hard sides that exist. And by the way, it is not new. I stumbled on an article about legislatures. It’s about 16 or 17 years old that we wrote in our magazine. We were bemoaning the increase in polarization and hyperpartisanship. You know it’s something that we’ve been coping with for a while, and I was thinking about your town or your county and how you know there aren’t there’s not a democratic coat drive or a republican coat drive. You know there’s not a there’s not a fundraiser for one side or the other and yet we are becoming less able to sort of see other as just humans that work together. Like you, I’m a big institution guy. I always come back to the fact that institution sounds like a big word you know it’s the to even think of the institution they tend to think of these visuals of the capitals you know the big granite buildings. But it’s really just humans at the end of the day. It’s really just people with all of their worry and flaws coming together in one making mistakes, but also striving to do the best they can.


            I want to make sure that we talk about LSMI so let’s shift to that. We’ve only got a few minutes left. First, explain to the audience here the podcast listeners what is LSMI and how long have you been involved with it and what do you love about it?


            (TM):  30:56


PD:      Oh man what don’t I love about it. And so LSMI has been around for 31 years, so we are into our 31st year. It started from NCSL. A visionary Karl Kurtz and others had this idea what happens if we have an intensive training for senior legislative staff members. That charge has continued through the first 15 years were at the University of Minnesota at the Humphries School. For the last 16 years, it’s been a partnership between the University of Southern California and the California State University of Sacramento through their Center for California Studies, which has a robust fellows program for the legislature, for the Assembly and Senate. They also have it for the executive and judicial. And the idea behind LSMI is getting into this space of how do we support staff from where they are and shifting the conversation away from the mechanics of their office right. So, things that might be more in the management space into the leadership space so how do we understand the role of vision, the role of influence. How about all those things start into play. How does communication look different within this space and other spaces. What do we know about risks. What does risks look like. How do I get into this idea around confidence. LSMI started out in Sacramento as an eight-day residency. We now think about it as a four- month program so that it still has that eight-day residency at its heart, and it has some prework about a month before in the virtual space and then optional executive coaching after the program ends. 


            Getting into that space on how we help support all the final work that is happening across the states. What excites me the most are all the staff that come and join LSMI. At least 48 of the states have joined us so far in the Sacramento experience and three territories – I shouldn’t call them territories because I get yelled at it for it. I’m only thinking about the work that LSMI does. You know it represents all of the U.S. including all of those pieces that make us great as a Nation. And we’ve had some international participants in the past as well. And we are talking about senior level positions both partisan and non-partisan with you know chiefs of staff you know directors of different offices all coming together to be able to have great conversation, debate and lots of time to be able to connect with colleagues. And what’s also exciting is recognizing where these folks go after LSMI. So, they are part of LSMI. A lot of them advance within their offices. Some offices see this as a major training component to how they promote staff within their organization, so it has become it is institutionalized in that way. It’s also exciting to see the work they do with NCSL of taking different leadership roles. The staff chair in recent years has been a LSMI grad and that’s really exciting to know that this work continues to carry on. It’s not something that we produce a lot of material and now you keep it on a shelf somewhere, but it is something that we want to actively use and think about and debate and things like you are doing right now Tim of having conversations around it because there is not one right answer, and we have a lot of experiences at the same time right. So how do we learn from each other within this space.


(TM):  34:12


TS:      This program to invest in these people I think back to that notion that we are all just stewards of these institutions. We’ve got our time … we will move on hopefully to better things, but you know time takes, it takes its path, and we are on it. If you haven’t done LSMI and you are in a legislative management role and particularly in those two states that haven’t done it, we need to get together offline. We got to make sure and get some folks from those two states, but all of the states obviously. We really should take advantage of it because people it is a career transformational event, and it is an investment in the people who are taking care of these institutions right now so. And on the NCSL side, this is a terrific partnership and I want to say not just with USC, but also obviously with Cal State Sacramento and you guys do a terrific job of it. And boy, it just gets better and better so congratulations. It is a legacy kind of program I think for you know both people in your roles as well on the NCSL sides. 


            And what should we close with here Paul?Anything on your mind that we left out that you’d like to share with the people of legislature world?


PD:      The biggest thing is maybe I should have start off with of how much admiration I have for those that are in public service. Recognizing it is not easy. It never was easy, and it is certainly not easy in today’s environments especially around how accessible all of us are right. Maybe we can’t call up a Tim, but I know where Tim lives right. Those things are real factors that are happening and probably always existed, but now exists in this social media type of platform where the pressure points look different than they have in I don’t know 10, 15, 20 years. I don’t know how far back it goes. But we feel it in a different way and part of that is because we are in the experience right now. So, I just want to thank everyone that’s in public service because our society wouldn’t be what it is without your many contributions at all levels within organizations so thanks for your work.


TS:      Amen. What Paul said terrific place to end it. Paul I’m really, really grateful for your time. Thanks again and we will look forward to seeing you again soon.


PD:      Thanks Tim. Appreciate the time. 


TS:      I’ve been talking with Paul Danczyk, Director of Executive Education in Sacramento for the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy and the co-director of the Legislative Staff Management Institute. Thank you for joining me and Paul on this episode of “Legislatures:  The Inside Storey” brought to you by the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Ed:      You can check out all the podcasts from the National Conference of State Legislatures by searching for NCSL podcasts wherever you get your podcasts. Tim Storey, NCSL’s CEO hosts “Legislatures:  The Inside Storey” where he focuses on leadership and legislatures. The “Our American States” podcast dives into some of the most challenging public policy issues facing legislators. On “Across the Aisle” host Kelley Griffin tells stories of bipartisanship. Also check out our special series “Building Democracy” on the history of legislatures.


            (TM):  37:44