How stakeholder consultation planning changes the conversation in a town:
What do you do when your town thinks it’s suffering, the key stakeholders can’t agree on what to do, and they see others as the reason for the problems?
In an effort to revitalize the downtown area a key stakeholder group in Port Hope, an attractive town of 16,000 people on Lake Ontario asked for help with their brand position. Facing uncertainty, including waste cleanup issues, and a perceived inability for collaboration among the town’s leaders, the economic outlook for the town was at best fuzzy.
The recommended way forward was to go beyond the immediate group and develop the brand strategy among all key Port Hope stakeholders, including the citizens.
On June 15 they will begin to implement stakeholder consultation planning sessions. The aim is to develop a brand positioning for the town and create sustainable outcome-driven activities, e.g., attract more visitors to the town.
So, what’s going to be different about the approach to this consultation? We’ll be using Solution Focused questions. This will allow inclusiveness without getting side-tracked by narrow issues, open up a route forward, and allow the group to steer their own ship (‘Port’ Hope!) Here’s a sampling from the agenda:
How do we see this meeting being useful to us as stakeholders?
What makes us proud of Port Hope?
Other towns like Port Hope face uncertainty. Despite that, who’s making progress and how?
What are the 5-6 key issues/opportunities we need to discuss as a group?
Suppose over time we make progress on these issues, what do we see happening and how do we see it being useful to us?
What are the small-steps tactical priorities over the next short while?
How do we see this session being useful to the community? How do we sustain our involvement? What micro steps can we take as individuals?
How might these better questions make a difference? They will help the community figure out what they have in common about;
- What’s already working
- What they want to happen
- Doing something right away
My bet is that it will galvanize the citizens into seeing that Port Hope is highly capable of being an economic and social success.
Looking forward to reporting the outcomes.
What Solution Focused questions would you ask?