Build Community – Banish Silos


Connections with like minded govies can be crucial to achieving professional goals and personal success. When we build community across organizational lines, we break down the “silos” we so often see in government and serve the public more effectively.

Over the course of my career in California state government, I’ve been fortunate to work on many major initiatives and statewide groups that cross organizational boundaries to better serve our state. In my experience, these teams open the door to unique opportunities for collaboration and leadership. How have you worked across boundaries in your world?

Collaboration that Breaks Boundaries

Building respectful, inclusive, professional community around common interests and goals can help break down barriers. This can be as simple as regular meetings, leveraging online forums, or other creative ways to share and connect. These activities tend to draw those who are interested in doing more beyond their day to day job and want to move the needle on issues that matter to them.

As members share ideas, best practices, goals, and creative solutions, they open opportunities to collaborate on common issues and interests. Members build off one another’s ideas and practices.This makes progress more effective overall by avoiding double work and reinventing the wheel.

An Invitation to Lead

Communities like these typically operate on and off the clock and require people to step up and help. This opens up unique opportunities to lead people and projects beyond what may be available in someone’s current role. These groups can also be excellent testing grounds for new proposals and prototypes that relate to the work the community is interested in. Feedback and discussion among such a group of highly engaged professionals can lead to even more information sharing and innovation.

Join a Community

Every one of us brings a unique personal and professional background, perspective, and experience to the table. Consider your areas of interest and what you have to offer. Then look into inter-agency initiatives, local professional associations in that field, or even search sites like LinkedIn for online professional groups. The key is to connect to others who share your interest and commitment.

Spotlight on a Govie Community: NxtGov

One community I’m excited and honored to help lead is a new group called NxtGov. We work to build the next generation of California state government by bringing together emerging leaders and innovators in civil service (and partner organizations) to network, serve the community, and grow professionally. We currently have over a hundred members from dozens of organizations across our state’s government. Many of our members are young professionals so our group gets called upon to offer a “millennial perspective” on a variety of statewide issues such as recruitment and information technology. Our executive board is made up of millennials who are passionate about public service and improving the way we serve Californians.

NxtGov is just one example of the many unique and inspiring communities of govies working beyond their 9 to 5 on the issues they care about. Find (or create!) your community and see the impact it can have on your work and your career.

Danielle Metzinger is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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