If I may make just one recommendation for Utah County…

Dear Utah County Employees,

Please take just one minute to read this.

If I may make just one recommendation for Utah County, it is to learn how to conduct “Six Thinking Hats” focus groups.

You may not like or agree with the following summaries but my solutions are correct.


Commissioners and their secretaries are overloaded.

The Commissioners’ Meetings allow for public input but the commissioners would rather citizens not ask questions, nor do they wish meetings to turn into Q&A forums or interrogation sessions.

The Community Development Staff are law-recommending central planners. They actively refine their thousands of regulations but mostly in a vacuum.

They do not have enough qualified employees to scale their services should demand increase rapidly. Neither do Public Works or the Health Department.

Public Works needs three times their budget to maintain the roads.

When challenged, Environmental Health Department employees are not interested in science, the Golden Rule or explaining their regulations. They practice unrighteous dominion and hide behind their lawyers.

Once passed, county regulations become law and are enforced by penalty of taxation, fees, forfeiture, denial and even prison.

Few regulations are ever abolished. Good employees are those who follow regulations. Regulations stifle and often abolish innovation.

Many non-government engineers and developers have told me they will not do business with Utah County. Some say whenever they’ve tried things took longer than expected and cost them too much money. Change requests were frequent and sometimes ridiculous. Extreme frustration is common.

Government employees are rarely fired for poor customer service.

Successful Provo businessman Stephen W. Gibson who wrote articles for Deseret News has a great rule: He asks himself if he would be displeased if an employee is fired. If he answers no then he fires them without hesitation.

Citizens don’t understand how bad things are until they try and get something done that requires dealing with Utah County.

The Solution:

The best solution is to get completely out of the services business. Let free-markets professionals take over so citizens may choose the best service provider for the best price.

Whether you stay in the services business or not, all Utah County employees should learn how to conduct a “Six Thinking Hat” focus group and then hold them regularly.

Focus groups are like charrettes — meetings in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions.

Unlike in America where the most dominant person prevails in meetings, using the “Six Thinking Hats” approach, problems and solutions are evaluated from six angles.

For example, for six minutes attendees will wear a red hat which represents emotion. One at a time, attendees discuss the issues from an emotional standpoint.

Next, the moderator may choose the white hat which represents facts and figures and the process is repeated. No comments other than facts and figures may be discussed during that time.

Dr. Gary Rhoads at the BYU Marriott School discovered it is best for the moderator to conduct exit interviews to gather new and summary information.

Think how much better county meetings, hearings and disputes would be if conducted using the Six Thinking Hats approach.

I guarantee that if you will buy Six Thinking Hats books for yourselves and employees, read it and conduct your meetings using that approach, great things will come from it.

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