Does your agency have the passion for Gov 2.0? – #Localgovchat / #g2e @garyvee Edition Tonight at 9 EST

So why was Gary Vaynerchuk, @garyvee of #crushit fame, asked to keynote the Gov 2.0 Expo this week in Washington DC? He is not a tech guy. He doesn’t work for government. For all I know, he doesn’t have anything to do with government (except his contempt for interstate wine shipping laws). I believe he was invited because he has a deep, personal passion for what he does. He grew up in the industry where he now has thrived. If you read his book, Crush It, the wild passion for not just his job but life, dreams and all those sappy things oozes from the pages. He’s not embarrased one bit.

So how does this apply to government? For local government, we spend an inordinate amount of time defining what we’re doing (What is Gov 2.0: The Meme), trying to develop overwrought strategic plans with overstaffed planning committees, and then convincing and sometimes training people. Is it an age issue? Sometimes. Is it a financial/man hour issue? Sometimes. But if we are to succeed in open government initiatives and truly be transparent, we as a government need to, as Gary says, “work our asses off.” To truly harness the power of social media we need to rethink when we work, rethink where we work, how we work, and how we approach our jobs. If we show passion, our customers – the citizens – will become passionate and compassionate.
As I walk around the Washington Convention Center these past few days, I was surrounded by people who have passion. But will we go back and create a “pin up” calendar for our public works staff to get people to read the water quality report as Kathy Sierra posted. Why not believe we could get 40 percent of residents using online apps like @dustinhaisler has with @manorlabs in a tiny Texas town. Or we will say continue to say “we could never do THAT.” Why not? When one person shows passion and initiative, it becomes contagious. It spreads.
Or am I just being sappy and unrealistic? @Garyvee will do that to you. But when you hear him speak, do you think he WON’T buy the New York Jets some day soon?
Join us tonight, May 26 at 9 EST for #localgovchat for more on this and other great topics from #g2e.

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Pam Broviak

I totally enjoyed hearing Gary speak. Passion is completely necessary in order to achieve the maximum output possible. The problem is that as a society we are constantly trying to put a lid on it. At an event like Gov 2.0 Expo or around folks who attend or are involved in these efforts you will be accepted and your passion will be encouraged. But if you show too much enthusiasm or passion for something during your regular day it can cause people to react negatively. This is something that I have thought about for a long time because I have trouble understanding the intensity of the reaction against someone who is passionate. (and because in the past I was harassed because of being passionate about my job.)

I have seen teachers in schools work to completely suppress passionate students. That one is the easiest for me to figure out – I believe they suppress it in order to maintain control and minimize disruption in the classroom. But among adults I am not so sure. One of the main reasons I have considered is that passionate people make others feel guilty for not doing more with their lives. What if I sit all day in the house on the weekend relaxing but knowing in the back of my mind I should be out mowing grass. And I watch as my neighbors work spend hours working on their yards. Eventually this might make me feel guilty for not doing my own work, and I might think if my neighbor’s yard didn’t look so perfect I wouldn’t have to do so much work.

But just like the nothing in my yard will get done if I am not motivated, our society stagnates without passion. We need to be teaching and encouraging passion – not beating it out of everyone.

Michael Rupert

Excellent comments Pam. I totally agree. When I first started using social media for agency, even the IT guys laughed. Then when we started seeing real action in real world because of online engagement, their ears perked up.

None of us can get discouraged. Social media and #opengov are definitely not ‘love at first sight’ for many. But once they get to know ….

Stephen Peteritas

Yeah Gary seems like the type of guy we need to bring over to government. After his talk I felt like I was in the locker room before a game seven and he had me amped and ready to run through a wall.

It’s all about getting passionate and harvesting that passion Gary’s thoughts combined with what Kathy Sierra said could be a really powerful combo.

Michael Rupert

I felt the same way and sports analogy is perfect. We talked about this last night on our weekly #localgovchat and one reason things slow down is the 9-5 mentality for many, many workers and those same folks tend to love the status quo. A lot of us – opengov, pr, tech folks – don’t follow that schedule and we already have the passion. How do we mash those up? Lead by example, sure. But what if they just don’t care to follow?

Stephen Peteritas

I mean there really has to be a paradigm shift, but also I think that as tech progresses and becomes easier you’ll see more people picking up after 5. I mean like Gary said how many people didn’t want facebook and cell phones, but we all have them now. There will always be people leading the curve and people on the back end. But if those leading continue to push forward at a fast pace the back has to progress even if it’s not at the pace we desire. Back to the sports analogies,to those on the back end: you can’t stop us you can only hope to contain us!

Pam Broviak

I love the sports analogy too! We must keep pushing, but at the same time I do understand the hesitation and fear. That’s why we need a group to also hang back and give support, encouragement, and guidance once others start following.

Christopher Parente

I was out of the country and missed the show, but totally not surprised to hear Gary “crushed it.” I’m into wine as well at 2.0, so I get a big dose of Gary on a regular basis.

I don’t want to be pessimistic, but IMHO this statement is hard to support:

To truly harness the power of social media we need to rethink when we work, rethink where we work, how we work, and how we approach our jobs. If we show passion, our customers – the citizens – will become passionate and compassionate.

There is no way to “make” citizens passionate and compassionate. There’s an old expression — the engaged ten percent. As in, about ten percent of citizens really keep themselves informed about governance issues. Will easier socmed channels for participation push that number up? I’d say so, but it never will be the majority. How could it be, when people are time-crunched to raise kids and pay mortgages in this economy?

This doesn’t make me lose hope at all. There’s no conflict between being passionate about improvement and realism about the specific situation you may be in. I face that constantly with clients.