Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On How to Get a Policy Adopted


Whether you are a leader or a front line employee, whether you work for government or in the private sector, we all face the need for our organization to adopt change or codify desired behaviors into policies. As an entrepreneur, I had the privilege of building our corporate culture from the ground up, which meant establishing policies with other co-founders with lively discussions (sometimes with our beta-testers and early customers), and nurtured them organically. I found out it needed to be a little more systematic once I started working within the government sector. Here’s what I learned, boiled down to 2 steps:

  1. Come up with a clear statement which can be backed up by a one page document (preferably with a diagram)
  2. Announce the statement. Repeat, consistently until it becomes policy.

Each step requires a tremendous amount of effort and you must be prepared to develop skills to optimize your efforts. For example, the success of Step 1 demands that the clear statement is shared and vetted by the key stakeholders of your community. That takes time and a lot of listening. Graphically representing your statement, coming up with metaphors… this not only takes time to think, but you have to be willing to change perspectives.

Step 2 reflects the need to have a coordinated media campaign from grassroots meetings to op eds, as well as collaborations and partnerships not only with the key stakeholders who will be directly affected by the policy, but with any reigning/dominant players in your community. Remember, women’s rights didn’t gain the level of power needed for the paradigm change until men started supporting the cause, and the rights of ethnic minorities, by the majority.

In this complex world, sometimes it helps to be able to reduce your strategy to 2 steps, if only so you can keep your focus on true north.

Photo: Berlin, Germany


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This entry was posted on February 20, 2015 by in Management and tagged , , , .
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