Leadership Is Achieving Outcomes Through Collaboration

Getting things done in government requires working with other levels of government, non-profit organizations etc. Mark Funkhouser as the Director of the Governing Institute (a former Mayor of Kansas City), recently watched Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley conduct a session of StateStat, the process he has implemented to make the state’s government more efficient.

As Funkhouser stated in a blog post:

“I had expected more of a pure-management focus on streamlining the internal workings of state government–breaking down silos, improving coordination of state agencies and programs, and holding government managers accountable for measurable improvements. To be sure, there was some of that. But when O’Malley and I talked afterward, I mentioned that I was struck by how much of the focus in the meeting was on working with counties, nonprofits and others to get things done. Yes, he said. “Collaboration is the new competition.”

To accomplish something as an elected or non-elected government official, Funkhouser points out that one needs the following leadership skills:

• Bluntly calling out the issue.
• Setting a challenging goal.
• Accepting accountability for achieving the goal.
• Convening the players who can impact some part of the issue.
• Engaging in dialogue about the costs and consequences of the issue and a path forward.
• Creating transparency by continually collecting and publishing data on the issue.
• Consistently following through.

I see a lot of elected officials that lack the ability or discipline to bring players together to dialogue on an issue and who fail to consistently follow through. Good elected officials understand the importance of collaboration in achieving goals. Collaboration is hard work, but it is the key to achieving outcomes that will improve your community and carry you to higher office if that is your goal.

What do you think about the leadership skills listed above and the importance of collaboration in achieving goals?


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David Dejewski

Paul – I’m digging the leadership skills you listed above & I liked this write up.

When I first read the title, my thoughts yesterday morning were “This is one aspect of leadership, but it’s not the definition of it.” I recalled my experience in boot camp, my experiences in hospitals, and my experiences in corporate america. I doubt my former Company Commander, the nurse who brought smiles to patients in pain, or the boss who applied his size 13 shoe to my back side (his heart felt motivational technique) would buy into collaboration a being the complete definition of leadership, but it is certainly one of the more important skills to have.

Awesome post, Paul!