Guest Blogger: Jen Olson Lund & Community Engagement Needs Change Management
A few months ago, I collaborated with a colleague, Vince Verlaan from Modus, and together we wrote a whitepaper for a client titled Community Engagement Needs Change Management. It outlined the necessity of using a change management program to support the implementation of a community engagement strategy. A comprehensive community engagement strategy will result in a changing the way an organization engages with their clients, customers, citizens and other stakeholders, and incorporates their perspective into its strategies, plans, products and offerings. Such a strategy or policy serves a catalyst for specific changes within the organization that will improve its core functions and is more likely to result in the desired changes in processes, systems, roles and mindsets.
Careful planning and preparation
Through adequate and inclusive planning, ensure that the design, organization, and convening of the process serve both a clearly defined purpose and the needs of the participants.
Inclusion and demographic diversity
Equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas, and information to lay the groundwork for quality outcomes and democratic legitimacy.
Collaboration and shared purpose
Support and encourage participants, government and community institutions, and others to work together to advance the common good.
Openness and learning
Help all involved listen to each other, explore new ideas unconstrained by predetermined outcomes, learn and apply information in ways that generate new options, and rigorously evaluate community engagement activities for effectiveness.
Transparency and trust
Be clear and open about the process, and provide a public record of the organizers, sponsors, outcomes, and range of views and ideas expressed.
Impact and action
Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make a difference, and that participants are aware of that potential.
Sustained engagement and participatory culture
Promote a culture of participation with programs and institutions that support ongoing quality community engagement.