It’s not news to you that the public expect things —
Roads to be maintained . . .
Restaurants not to make them sick . . .
Water to be safe to drink . . .
Schools to educate kids . . .
First responders to aid in emergencies . . .
But — did you realize, that INCLUDES stakeholders with “anti-government” attitudes?
They too expect these things (and MUCH more) from government — which is YOU.
Know the secret to unwinding this paradox?
How do you get those who profess to HATE government — who make calls for a smaller and “more competent” government, for blanket cuts to organizations and regulation — to realize the don’t really mean what they say? That they need government agencies like yours, just as much as anyone…?
One way is through your Citizen Participation.
Beware, that does NOT mean more public involvement.
It means doing your outreach in a strategic way — aimed to diffuse anti-government sentiments so they realize the paradox themselves.
Your Citizen Participation has to create a paradigm shift in the minds of anti-government stakeholders.
Chances are, your current Citizen Participation is actually exacerbating this paradox.
While this is no small task, it’s entirely doable!
In Clinic #77, we help you see how to create Citizen Participation that diffuses such hatred, and illuminates the true expectations and needs of these anti-government stakeholders.
Things in Burns, Oregon might get have officially turned ugly.
And while the folks at the wildlife refuge in Oregon aren’t your average opponents, their stance isn’t legitimate, there is an element of their stance that no public official should ignore…
Unfortunately, NO ONE is immune from anti-government attitudes.
(Ironically, especially in a democracy… But we’ll cover that topic on March 8th in Clinic #78.)
Because this attitude is something you either ARE dealing with or likely WILL be confronted with, we’ve adopted “Anti-Government” as our theme for all of our monthly Consent-Building Clinics in 2016.
In a self-governing society, it’s THE PUBLIC who decides — via our rules based decision-making process — what government institutions it wants to create and maintain.
If you encounter stakeholders who perceive an “Us vs. Them” relationship between the (them) public and (you) the government . . . something’s gone wrong.
Chances are it’s simply a misunderstanding . . . a misperception.
Because even “simple” misperceptions can be challenging to correct, don’t expect that lecturing these folks is going to change their view of the world.
Your stakeholders need to discover . . . they need to see — with their own eyes — and conclude on their own terms that it’s ultimately THEY, the people (i.e. all of us) who make all the decisions.
It’s WE, the people, who created your agency and it’s mission.
It’s critical that your stakeholders realize this paradigm-changing insight.
But how do you stimulate you stakeholders to have such a critical insight?
While there’s no quick-fix, there IS much you can do.
The first of which begins by answering 6 Questions
In addition to the recording of this webinar, we’ve created a follow-up video with 6 questions to help you make real headway in preventing such attitudes from being aimed at you and your organization.
Starting with the basics in this recorded webinar, we delve into every angle of WHY Anti-Government sentiments are ratcheting up all across the country, and WHAT you can do to diffuse them, and even better yet — PREVENT them in the first place — from impeding your ability to accomplish your mission.
In this session, we’ll cover something so SIMPLE and yet POWERFUL . . .
6 Points We Cover
1. How you DEFINE “public” and “stakeholder” plays a central role in anti-government attitudes towards you and your agency.
2. Whom should you INCLUDE and EXCLUDE in your definition?
3. Should your definition of your “public” and related “stakeholders” SHIFT from project to project?
4. How should you handle people who THINK they are affected?
5. What’s the appropriate ROLE of number of constituents, majority vs. minority opinions, and representativeness?
6. How to identify WHICH of the 4 Fundamental Points your team is failing to address.
Don’t be caught off guard by anti-government attitudes that are sweeping the country!
Consent-Building Clinic #73: Recorded October 2015
“Our CP Process can turn into a free-for-all of various stakeholders, each fighting as a special interest, . . . while we try to remain neutral.”
“It’s a jungle out there!” is what comes to mind here. Because, of course, it IS a jungle out there! Let’s face it; there is not fuzzy, warm “public.” Your public – on any given Problem-Solving/Decision/Making case – consist of:
Individuals, Groups, Corporations, Institutions, Other agencies and Other officials.
Each and every one of them pursuing THEIR agendas – and ONLY their agendas. All of them have their own priorities, values, concerns, worries, fears, hopes, . . . i.e. agendas that they pursue.
You ARE different . . . though “neutral” is probably not the right word to describe that difference. Here’s the real difference:
You’re motivated by a RESPONSIBILITY, the responsibility to accomplish your Mission . . . which – strictly speaking – came from the ‘public’, that cacophony of individuals, groups, corporations, etc.
The question, thus, comes down to: “How can you – in the midst of this free-for-all — make sure you are EFFECTIVE?
Consent-Building Clinic #72: Recorded September 2015
Help! When we involve stakeholders early in our planning process – which is something we strive to do – many of them jump prematurely to a solution.”
This can happen even with the more sophisticated stakeholders, such as other government agencies. They immediately want to know: “What are going to DO?” . . . This, at a time when you’re still in the head-scratching phase of trying to understand what the problem is. The trouble is: Early in the process you normally DON’T yet know what the solution is that you’re going to wind up proposing.
And yet, if you begin to reach out to these stakeholders only AFTER you’ve decided what solution you’re going to propose, they’re likely to say: “NOW you come to us, AFTER you’ve decided what to do?!”
What we have here, is a head-on collision of several Public Involvement truths:
The most constructive public involvement results from EARLY – and continuing – involvement.
The first nine steps in any Problem-Solving/Decision-Making process have to do with understanding the Problem and its causes. For example, in our 16-step planning process “Generating Solutions” is Step 10 . . . i.e. It is NOT an early step.
But, the human brain – even the brain of subject-matter experts – tends to race almost IMMEDIATELY to the Solution Generation step . . . side-stepping, short-changing, pole-vaulting-over . . . the several Problem Analysis steps . . . It appears that THIS mistake is in our DNA! So, of course your stakeholders are going to make it. Just be sure YOU don’t make it!
As is true of so many of the frustrations on which our Brownbag sessions focus, there is a lot more to this particular one than meets the eye. The three enumerated statements, above, ARE true.
The trouble is, every time you think you’re going to involve your stakeholders early in your process, . . . WHAMMO! . . . these three truths collide head-on, creating a public involvement car-wreck!
Always remember: It’s for stuff like this, i.e. for figuring out how to minimize damage to your effectiveness in Public Involvement car-wrecks, that you are paid the huge salaries that you are paid (ha!).
Tune in; we’ll do all we can to help you pull the fat out of the fire for your team and demonstrate to your team and your supervisors that you’re worth every dollar of that “humongous” salary.
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