For the past couple weeks I’ve been thinking about a comment Justin Herman made to me regarding his new colleagues. The rough paraphrase was, “They are great people who are extremely knowledgeable, but they don’t seem to be on the circuit.” This got me thinking about how the majority of people who work for or with the Government are the kind of dedicated workers who come in every day, work hard, are passionate about what they do, and don’t get much recognition for their efforts. These are the people we may never know or names we may never hear about. But this doesn’t mean their contributions are any less than people who are visibly active in the community. They are just different. But they all fight the same battles, have similar constraints and although some are more public than others, all of them are helping to build the foundation for the future.
They are the “Public Sector Ninjas and Rockstars“, the “Gov 2.0 Heros“, “Government 2.0 Voices” and more. What all of them have in common is that they are all leaders in their own right. They come in many different flavors and may all work in different parts of the organizations, but what makes people leaders, whether they are reluctant leaders or not, is they have courage. The courage to be a “catalyst for change both outside and inside the organization” and courage to hold on to their beliefs in the face of adversity. As we all know, trying to change how government works is not easy and is very much a labor of love. Some days it feels like a Herculean task. As my friend, Charlene Li, says,
“No matter how compelling a technology or potential relationship might be, in the face of an immovable mass called company culture, and without the right organization and leadership in place, any digital strategy will fail.”
This is a warning to all of us. It reminds us that we need to value our leaders and recognize their contributions or as Steve Radick says, “…there are many other organizations searching high and low for people just this who are more than ready to show them the love.” We all need each other. We need to support and encourage each other even if we do not agree with that person’s opinion or approach.
I encourage you to think, not so much about the people you know are helping to to transform government, but those you don’t know about. Who are they? How can you help them? How can you help their ideas and solutions get communicated to the rest of the community and beyond? We need many voices, ideas, and solutions if we intend to succeed. There is no one solution or path for Government. It requires hard work, dedication, passion, and a belief in a shared dream of a government that will provide “…increased efficiency, better management, information transparency, and citizen engagement”.