Change the “How”—Not the “What”

“Things do not change, we change.” – Henry David Thoreau

We all have that one embarrassing picture where our clothing and hairstyle reek of the decade the photograph was taken.

Looking at it now, it’s ridiculous. But back then, it was the style.

The same goes for technology. What was once a bulky corded telephone is now a device that discreetly fits inside your pocket because of society’s shift toward convenience.

The way things are done is constantly changing. Yet, local governments have a history—and somewhat of a stigma—of remaining the same.

Mind you, I didn’t say things are changing; I said the way things are done is changing. Big difference.

And not knowing that difference is the reason why organizations are so resistant to change.

Take social media, for example. Local governments slowly warmed up to the idea, and now it’s a primary means of contact for a number of citizens. But what social media represents is actually a part of the core value listed for many municipalities—communication.

The dedication to provide open and honest information hasn’t changed, but the way you go about doing it has.

Change the “how”—not the “what.”

Keep your mission and core values. Those are the foundation of your organization.

However, don’t be so closed-minded as to reject a different way to portray your mission and values to your citizens.

The people of your community are evolving with each passing generation. Constantly think of ways to reach out to them in a way to which they can relate.

To be a public servant, you have to actually serve the public. And you can’t honestly say you’re serving the public if your services aren’t reflecting the wants and needs of your citizens.

What changes have you made lately that are specifically to the benefit of your citizens?

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

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