My previous blog, “Public Servants Can Be Innovative Too!” focused on how government can shift their thinking to encourage innovation and collaboration. I would like to continue the topic of collaboration by focusing on the friction experienced between the three pillars of government – policy, communications and operations.
When we ask a comms guru what they think of their policy friends, they say, “Those
policy wonks spend their time researching and writing a policy that is overcomplicated. How can the public make sense of it?”
Ask a policy wonk what they think of their comms friends and they say, “Comms
professionals are prepared to reuse and recycle key messages. How can they sacrifice facts for a great story?”
And finally, an operations go-doer says, “They forgot about us again. How can they be
disconnected to service delivery?”
Each statement reflects the friction between the three pillars of government. How can this friction be replaced with collaboration?
I recommend an integrative approach to building this partnership.
The processes that departments use to integrate policy, communications and operations differ across government but a close partnership is essential to any model. The reality is that policy, communications and operations are mutually dependent – they should work together at the start of the project.
Top 10 Results with an Integrative Approach
An integrative approach is prioritizing the need of the people (the user of services) at the heart of the policy or program. Joint planning by policy, communications and operation teams can create the following:
- Promote shared objectives.
- Form accurate strategies and budgets.
- Improve processes and relationships.
- Improve understandings of each other’s work.
- Reduce duplication.
- Improve efficiency.
- Produce clear, direct communication.
- Plan for the future; think long-term.
- Inspire and influence.
- Create a community.
Without an integrated approach, the policy and program will be ill-informed, poorly
communicated and will fail to meet organizational objectives. Remember, your role is not
secluded, your tasks are not isolated and program development is not linear; it is integrative!
And in the event of Valentine’s Day, we need to think of how we can be more “loving” to each other. Let us start adopting a more collaborative approach to how we work.
Stay tuned next week where I invite an economist to discuss evidence-based decision making.
Ashley Cabral is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.
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