This post, written by Raj Sharma, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum.
Principle 3: Listen with Both Ears Open
Have you ever been asked to participate in a survey, yet you didn’t believe your opinions would actually be considered? People can spot disingenuousness a mile away. And when they do, you can expect one of three possible outcomes—none of which helps bolster a program’s chances for success.
- They tell you what you want to hear (but not what they really think) and then dismiss the program as a trivial exercise.
- They tell you what they really think, but they are full of skepticism and mistrust toward the program.
- They simply don’t participate
If you’re going to take the time to ask stakeholders for their opinions or to open the doors for participation in a program’s development, make sure it counts for something. You’ve got to be open to receiving and incorporating stakeholder input—even if it doesn’t align with the program’s vision and goals. Further, you need to make sure your stakeholders know that their participation counts for something. Real and effective stakeholder engagement must be more than just a compulsory “check” on the list. It must be valued by all parties involved.
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