Public Managers as Public Sales Persons

Through the Masters in Public Administration program at the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, we are constantly confronted with the question of ‘selling’ our program or agency’s worth to stakeholders that public mangers are accountable for. One theory we are indoctrinated with is Mark Moore’s strategic triangle. The triangle consists of public value, authorizing environment, and operational capacity. Each aspect of the triangle is important for the implementation of a public program. Public value asks what a program does to improve the quality of the lives of our stakeholders. Authorizing environment focuses on getting the support of public officials and constituents to do what we are trying to accomplish. Lastly, operational capacity focuses in on the internal structure of the agency to make sure we have the capabilities to implement the program.

All three points are important, but the most important is public value. Why does this program or agency have to exist? Is it worth public dollars and time? We as current and future public mangers must always be the sales people of our program or agency. We, as public mangers, must be the epitome of the why for our organization or program. This concept came up in a TED talk shown in the capstone class for MPA students. For any private or public organization to be successful, every member of that organization must be dedicated to the why. Then the question becomes who becomes the centerfold of that why? Well if you dive into change management theory, leaders must be the essence of the why. There are leaders and there are people who lead. Some wield power and some lead change for a better cause. Public mangers must be the leader who is trying to change our current quality of life for a better cause. That is when successful public mangers are also successful navigators of their political authorizing environment. Once public mangers reach this, they can accomplish real change.

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