Consent-Building Clinic #74: November 10th, 2015:

“When our stakeholders don’t like how we do our work, they go straight to our policy-makers who – then – try to micro-manage our projects. It’s one thing to stand up to stakeholders, but how do we stand up to this?”

Several different dynamics are in play when a community – a community that’s made up of people who hold DIFFERENT values – decides to tackle problems as a community . . . be that “community” a town, a city, a state, a region, or a nation. In a quest to improve public-sector problem-solving and decision-making, there are those of us who forever pry deeper and deeper into examining those several dynamics..

We find it useful to organize the lessons we learn into topics, such as Values, Individual vs. Group Rights, Data Analysis and Modeling, Dealing with Uncertainty, Risk and Risk Communication, Communication and Involvement, Professional Ethics, Leadership, etc.

Today’s question cannot be addressed without invoking the topics of Professional Ethics and Leadership.

Your policy-makers ARE part of your “public,” and stakeholders ARE in the habit of end-running you by going straight to them. But, your policy-makers are a very special “public” . . . after all, “policy-makers” is synonymous with “decision-makers” . . . So, they CAN micro-manage – as well as macro-manage – can’t they?

As you’ll see, it’s not THAT simple; your ethical responsibilities as a professional, at times, includes LEADERSHIP.

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