Engaging Residents & Political Discourse
Often political candidates or parties, from national races on down, try to motivate voters through consequences (“Vote for me, or things will go very wrong!”). It’s my commitment to always speak honestly with voters, so let me tell you what I think: the sky isn’t falling in Munster.
There’s a reason why I, and you, choose to live here. If we continue with the status quo, I don’t believe the town will quickly come crumbling down. It likely will remain relatively good through this election cycle and the next. However, I believe that my approach and my skills can catalyze the town to be much better.
Munster undoubtedly has room to improve: From addressing today’s challenges to planning for Munster’s future success as the world and technology change rapidly around us, our town’s decision-making would improve greatly if we did a better job of engaging residents in decision-making processes and had a more well-rounded council.
First, engagement is low: A very small group of people elected the leaders who govern our town (only 14% of registered voters in Munster voted in our previous town council election). Also, a small number of residents attend town council meetings. Our council isn’t fully benefiting from hearing the questions, preferences, and ideas that residents could contribute to the council’s decision-making, if residents felt more informed and engaged. I believe the council can do more to engage residents by meeting them where they are every day (eg, on social media, in their email boxes). By regularly receiving concise, easy-to-understand updates from the council, residents can conveniently stay in touch with the decisions being made in our town and can provide their valuable input on the decisions that matter to them.
Second, every Munster resident (regardless of political party affiliation) would benefit from the higher quality decisions that would result from a more well-rounded council. Research shows that teams with diversity of thought and experience make better decisions than teams where everyone is alike. When a team must negotiate different perspectives, its analyses are more comprehensive, and it creates better solutions. In the coaching world, we view conflict simply as a new solution that wants to emerge. It takes skillful, open-minded leadership to navigate conflict and bring to life the positive change it represents. As a certified professional executive coach, I am trained to work with teams to take advantage of the upside of conflict. This skill is known as “constructive interaction,” and it is a game changer for organizations that learn to do it effectively.
Evolving from our current single-party council to a council that includes a broader array of perspectives (e.g., Democrats, representatives from younger age groups, professionals with current global work experience) will enhance the decision-making, problem-solving, and creativity of our town. We can’t be afraid to do things differently than they’ve been done in the past; a single-party homogenous council is not best equipped to solve the complex challenges organizations like our town face today or in the future. As a former management consultant, I have advised organizations across the globe on how to improve operations while spending less. As a current executive coach, I’m certified in helping leadership teams continually improve their decision-making processes. I’m also required by my employer to stay informed about the latest technological trends (e.g., big data, machine learning, automation). In short, I would add valuable new perspectives that our town council currently lacks, as we work to ensure that Munster remains a premier town into the future.
So, I’m not going to tell you that if I don’t win Munster is doomed -- it’s not. But if I’m elected I promise to push us to do even better for our residents: to evolve with changing times, to create more vibrant lines of communication between town council and residents, and to work to achieve a shared vision for a future of Munster that is brighter and better than today.
I hope you’ll join me in the effort to make Munster better than ever.