In an age of collaboration, a key leadership skill is asking others to do things, and getting them to do these things . . . again and again. Here’s how to ask effectively.
If collaboration is such a good thing in localities, why don’t more governments work together? Because most leaders don’t know how to create the conditions for collaboration. Here, then, is the introductory course.
Most local officials have it wrong about citizen engagement. The point isn’t to hear what the citizens think about issues before the government. It’s about something deeper: understanding citizens’ long-term interests and desires. If done right, it can then lead to a second important goal: Recruiting citizens in taking on a community’s greatest problems and opportunities.
Cities are often bogged down in unproductive debates for a simple reason: They’re talking about issues in the wrong way. Smart leaders know the right sequence, which involves talking thoroughly about the problem and the benefits of solving it before talking about the solution. In other words, “what” before “how.”
Smart citizen engagement follows two principles. It is based on mutual respect between citizens and government officials, and it believes that the greatest progress is made through partnerships, with everyone doing his part.