We live in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) — and many state & local governments are not set up to effectively respond to its ever-increasing, fast-moving, interconnected array of social, economic, natural, and technological challenges. With the necessary skills, elected leaders can transform their governments to better address this environment, improve outcomes, and increase trust in the institutions they run.
So what key qualities must government have to support their communities in a VUCA world? Here’s a framework to build from. Envision a government that:
Understands the challenges and opportunities of all. It is:
- Empathetic: Better government has the intent and support to deeply listen to all those that it serves and engages with. Government will proactively listen to a breadth of stakeholders — especially the most disenfranchised.
- Diverse: Better government has a diverse government workforce that is reflective “of the people”. It will inherently be more empathetic by virtue of its greater collective lived experience.
- Community-engaged: Better government proactively reaches out to the people it serves and invites them to actively engage with agencies.
- Data-oriented: Better government responsibly gathers qualitative and quantitative data so it might see patterns and trends.
Develops excellent public policy. It is:
- Responsive: Better government acts swiftly if necessary to meet the needs of the moment and the people it serves.
- Innovative: Better government relentlessly pursues inventive and experimental approaches to tackle the challenges of our communities, improving over time.
- Constituent-centric: Better government focuses on the needs and experience of the beneficiary when developing a policy and it confirms that its actions, policies, and programs provide equitable distribution of resources and outcomes.
- Collaborative: Better government co-creates approaches and policies with state & local governments, community organizations, and directly with the people that it serves. Inviting and incorporating input from people with diverse backgrounds and thoughts yields better policy.
- Equitable: Better government strives not for equality, where everyone gets the same treatment, but instead on outcomes for different groups of people, based on what they need.
- Evidence-based: Better government uses data, performance metrics, and assessments to measure the effectiveness of policies and programs. Agencies can determine what’s working, where it’s succeeding, for whom, and under what circumstances and then target their resources to invest in initiatives shown to be the most effective.
- Adaptable: Better government is prepared to tackle new, emerging, and changing problems and threats, and embrace new opportunities when they present themselves.
Delivers excellent services, programs, and products. It is:
- Effective: Better government delivers products, services, and programs that meet measurable objectives, are continuously improved, and achieve the desired result.
- Efficient: Better government is a good steward of public funds, cutting the red tape of bureaucracy and breaking down silos inherent in the government to produce results.
- Modern: Better government embraces emerging and modern technology products and services and leverages them to change agency culture and performance for the better.
- Ethical: Better government acts with the highest levels of fairness and integrity with a deep moral code and guidelines for operations to foster trust in the communities they serve.
- Transparent & Communicative: Better government is transparent and leads two-way communication with the the public it serves as often as possible. This helps to build buy-in and partnerships.
Transformative Leadership for Better Government
How can you prepare to lead this government transformation? Get an EDG with Empowered To Run.