Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum: The importance of communication

Communicating goals, measurements, strategies, problems encountered and evidence of effective and promising practices serves multiple purposes. It strengthens democratic accountability, keeps agencies focused on their priority goals, supports collaboration on shared goals, enlists assistant and enterprise, and facilitates cross-agency learning. — Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum

blogimage_metzenbaumcommunicationIn a recent testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum, addressed the administration’s second-term management agenda. As the former Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget, Metzenbaum identified individual measures that would allow the administration to reach specific goals relating to management. Walking through the process, Metzenbaum reiterated the importance of setting well-formulated goals, with clear measurement, and actionable outcomes.

The measures and practices identified by Metzenbaum, now president of the Volcker Alliance, provide a framework that applies well beyond government agencies. In fact, many of the important strategies she identified have also been codified in our Toolkit. In particular, the importance of communication. As Metzenbaum said in the above quote, communication can have a powerful effect on collaboration and can be the most important tool. For many of our leaders, communicating goals with financial supporters or external partners and providing progress reports allowed them to build trust and continue a project that may have otherwise stalled due to hesitant collaborators.