Seeing is believing*

One of the biggest issues for communities is the loss of ownership and direction often felt through lack of time and involvement, and even knowing who makes up your community.

The imposition of state and federal political decisions overriding local government have at times radically changed the environment, without planning for how people will live in these spaces.

How can we re-imagine the role of local government and how it interacts with the community it stands for? Perhaps our expectations of what a few people can do are highly unrealistic, but by working together the effect is exponential. When we are not expecting but ‘involved’, not blaming but ‘solving’, it changes the whole dynamic and lightens the load for everyone.

People get involved when there is a vision that connects with them emotionally. Communities can achieve extraordinary things, we just need to know what the values that unite them are, and how to work together.  Facilitating constructive discussions, dealing with difficult decisions, and being open and honest, and real about constraints and outcomes are all part of successful community engagement.   

Perhaps our budgets will involve not only money but people power and expertise, our strategies and options will be open to whoever can think creatively, and the will to do the unrealistic will be an unstoppable tide of people hungry to make things happen.

Having worked with local government for many decades, the not-for-profit, Australian Disputes Centre facilitates the mindset of cooperation. Its focus is on developing the skills for straight talking, deep listening and the ‘interests’ focussed negotiations needed for strengthening working relationships, enhancing productivity and achieving durable and satisfying outcomes; look at the same situation differently and see a wealth of possibilities!

*Copy supplied by Australian Disputes Centre