Leading EDGE

Discover the essential keys to building high-performing local governments that thrive in today's dynamic landscape.

Register for Leading EDGE

Dive into the core principles of what it truly takes to ensure your agency is achieving high performance. We invite you to register in the popular and acclaimed Leading EDGE (Engaging, Developing, Growing, Empowering) Program and to explore the power of the program’s transformative concepts to unleash the full potential of your organization.

About Leading EDGE

The leadership principles of high-performance organizations (HPO) are a core element of the program, enabling individuals to learn strategies that enhance leadership, innovation, and desired change initiatives. Leading EDGE includes daily classroom instruction, case studies and discussion, expert presentations by knowledgeable and experienced practitioners, small team sessions, and a variety of team and class social networking activities. Each participant has an opportunity to plan and make commitments to serve as an active leader and change agent upon return to their organization.

The Key Learning Elements for local governments to achieve higher performance include:

Leadership and Governance: Organizations require both the work of Leadership and the work of Management.  Effective leadership and governance are crucial for establishing organizational clarity about the purpose, direction, priorities, and culture that define the local government – who we are as an organization. That effort requires the exercise of leadership, at all levels of the organization, that constantly inspires and engages staff, as well as clarity about the governance principles and values that guide effective decision-making and greater accountability and more transparency – doing the right things for the right reasons.

Strategic Value Analysis and Future Planning: High-performing local governments continuously engage in strategic analysis practices to determine what is high performance for them, what are the right processes to use, what are the expectations, and what are the principles that guide their work. They use strategic thinking practices to align resources and activities with strategic objectives and monitor progress toward goals.

Performance Measurement and Management: Higher-performing governments prioritize continuous learning and improvement. They establish methodologies to determine how and according to whom any particular performance is measured, for tracking progress and benchmarks, for identifying areas for improvement, and for making values-driven decisions.

Organizational Culture and Employee Engagement: Building a positive organizational culture and fostering employee engagement are essential for high performance. Moving away from the constraints of the hierarchy and creating an environment in which employees feel safe, included, and valued increases engagement and energizes the workforce. Higher-performing organizations invest in employee development and well-being and build culture around more consultative and participative practices to enable everyone in the organization to think and do—not just do as they are told.

Public Service Delivery and Public Purpose Focus: Higher-performing local governments focus on delivering high-quality services in an efficient and effective manner that provides customer value and meets the needs and expectations of residents and stakeholders. At the same time, higher-performing local governments ensure that those services are aligned with the long-term community vision and serve the interests of future citizens, always seeking to pass on the community better than it was passed to them. High Performance involves understanding present and future community needs, soliciting community involvement and feedback, and continuously improving service delivery processes – what we do as well as how well we do.

Collaboration, Working Together, and Partnerships: Higher Performing local governments focus on teamwork, collaboration, and interdependence across and throughout the organization, forging alliances and building relationships that enable the parts of the organization to support each other. Similarly, collaboration and partnerships with other government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and community groups are key to addressing complex challenges and leveraging resources effectively. Working effectively together, internally and externally, is essential for higher performance.

Smart and Healthy Financial Management and Sustainability: Sound financial management practices are essential for the sustainability of local governments. This includes budgeting, financial planning, revenue generation, and fiscal accountability.

Innovation and Adaptability, Working in Parallel: High-performing local governments embrace innovation and adaptability to respond to changing needs, technologies, and environments. They establish time and space within the workplace to do strategic thinking, to learn, and to focus on future issues and planning—a parallel organization away from day-to-day production that fosters a culture of experimentation, creativity, and innovation, of being willing to risk and learn from any failure, and of continuously seeking new and better ways of doing things.

Values Based and Trust Supported, Ethics and Integrity: Higher Performing local governments set high standards, where the behaviors, actions, and operations of the organization and its employees are values-based not rule-driven. Trust and trust-based relationships are support pillars of high performance. Likewise, upholding high ethical standards and integrity is fundamental for building trust and credibility with the community, and includes promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct in all aspects of government operations.


The cost for the Leading EDGE program is $3,750. The fee covers breakfast, lunch, and some dinners over the 7 days, includes all materials, and an end-of-session graduation.

The Leading EDGE program runs three times per year at the University of Kansas Campus in Lawrence Kansas. current dates are below:

  • July 19 - July 26 Lawrence, Kansas
  • October - TBD Lawrence, Kansas

Questions? - Leading EDGE

Alex Terwilliger, Associate Director