In today’s world, there is a remarkable trend shifting from what was formerly an all you can eat buffet to a vending machine approach to the role of government. Insert money, receive a desired benefit. It’s not much of a stretch to predict the funding of government services will remain under unprecedented scrutiny for the foreseeable future. Politicians at every level are unapologetically pursuing a restructuring of government finances. So what does this flurry of financial maneuvering translate to with respect to the types of services governments provide? Good question.
Government is not sustainable as a provider for a high quality of life when it experiences an annual financial “crash diet” of massive cutting. Below are three recommended actions you and your organization can immediately use to light the match and convert the heat into fuel for forward progress:
- Decide What Business You’re In. Government is indeed in business… in the business of public service. With fewer dollars available, it’s crucial that citizens, elected officials, organizational leaders and interested members of the public sector workforce engage in an authentic process to determine what “business” their government will be in. Priority setting is never a painless or simple process, but it’s an essential segment of an overall prescription to cure what ails government. When priorities are established that reflect constituent preferences, a powerful linkage is created between budgetary dollars and the application of resources to ensure the desired outcomes.
- Buy the 2012 Model for Service Delivery. The Shared Services model is quickly becoming the norm for a number of government agencies throughout the U.S. Departments formerly operating as a stand-alone function are being blended together in a way that achieves cost savings and improves productivity The most popular are Procurement, Information Technology, and Human Resources and can involve multiple jurisdictions – municipalities, counties and even school districts – creating new service provider models. Leaders in other organizations have embraced an entrepreneurial approach by utilizing a fresh revenue channel and “selling” their services to adjacent government jurisdictions. Some of these services include; Planning, Technology Services, Building Inspections, Weed Abatements and Right-of-Way maintenance. County governments, in particular, are in an enviable marketplace position to benefit from these new arrangements as are large municipalities in metropolitan areas. Transit operations, water and wastewater services, and parks districts are already in this “space” of providing their services on a regional level, thus expanding their customer base and diversifying their revenue portfolio.
- Keep Your Ear to the Digital Ground. You might be all a flutter about Twitter, but it’s time to Face(book) it and realize your organization must embrace a credible and useful social media campaign to building a stronger community. It’s referred to as social marketing and it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Building a community is a two-way street, so government cannot simply push out information! Government organizations must include pulling in information from the community and enlist people who are interested in being involved or have the proverbial “skin in the game.” For more tips on digital marketing within the public sector, read this article Patrick and a co-author wrote on “Digital Government: Creating a Social Media Game Plan” http://www.gettingbetterallthetime.com/articles that includes a number of practical tips and techniques your organization can use immediately.