This post is a continuation from All About Decision Statements: Part 1.
Getting the decision statement right is important because it establishes the scope of what is being decided. Once adequately documented, we can “look inside” the scope of the decision to determine what is on the table for engagement and what’s not. Being able to tell participants what aspects of the decision they will be able to influence is important, as is being able to tell them what is not. The givens support clear and authentic communication.
The other thing that is so important about the decision statement is that it helps us establish the “decision process” – that is, the steps we will take to actually make the decision. This allows us to see visually, over a specific timeline, the milestones we will pass and decision points we will create as we progress towards the ultimate decision. Being able to communicate the decision process does two important things:
- We can tell stakeholders how the decision will be made (accountability), and
- We can identify places in the decision process where stakeholders can have a meaningful role (integrated engagement).
Developing Your ‘Public Service Announcement’
The decision statement will also eventually become one of your key messages when it comes to communicating to the public and stakeholders about the engagement. I like to think of this stage as drafting a Public Service Announcement. That is, one succinct bundle of information that ignites action – in this case stakeholder engagement.
Developing the PSA assumes that you have completed the issues and stakeholder mapping, and have conducted the pre-consultation key stakeholder interviews during which you asked the question “Why is this decision important to you?” The answer to this question allows you to tease out the community and stakeholder group values that are at play. As part of your engagement planning process you also will have set engagement objectives. Remember the outcomes and outputs you want the engagement to generate.
Knowing these three pieces of information allows you to develop the PSA:
1. Values Statement e.g. Because the region of Metropolis values conservation and protection of safe water, and because the residents of Metropolis value affordable access to safe / clean drinking water…
2. Decision Statement e.g. …the Regional Council is conducting a review of all groundwater recharge areas and will put in place protective measures by the spring of 2017.
3. Scope of Engagement e.g. During the fall of 2016, residents and commercial water users are invited to provide input on the development of a new zoning category and a monitoring program, including a registry, for lands that will fall into the new category.
Again, we recognize that crafting a decision statement can be challenging. We hope these blogs have been helpful in clearing up questions you may have. Let’s continue the conversation online – pose a question or dialogue starter with us and our online community on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.