community engagement, environment, politics

Listen before the shit hits the fan

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Source: True Issues, JWS Research

An opinion piece by Geoff Kitney in the Australian Financial Review that talks about how voters are increasingly tuning out of politics. Its a well thought through article around how politicians are failing to drive the agenda, the shrinking pool of insightful media commentary being driven by the demand for instant news and people being increasingly disconnected from issues that are affecting them.

Why have we failed to come up with solutions to address concerns around climate change (an inadequate Direct Action Plan), renewable energy (RET review riddled with biases) and resource use (let’s keep the mines running while coal prices tumble because we need those jobs) when its consistently been ranked as the top 3 concerns over the last quarters.

Its probably a case of a community that has stopped speaking because the politicians have stopped listening.

I’ve been working on a prop around community engagement for a few days and one thought that burns brightly in my mind is how slow organisations have been in engaging with their stakeholders until an issue impacts on them. Then they get into a mad scramble of trying to drum up support to save [insert cause], [insert impact] and [insert blame].

Active engagement is continuous listening and dialogue combined – in times of peace and especially at a time where the political tides are changing. This is why ccmmunity engagement needs to go deeper if organisations are to remain relevant to the stakeholders they serve. This is when listening allows organisations understand issues, to map out priorities and communicate a clear pathway to address these concerns. Instead of kicking up big save [insert cause] and not finding the support. Or much worse, facing the dilution of 15 similar organisations looking for donors, volunteers and support for the same cause.

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