Communicate effectively or watch your program fail

By Scott Burns, CEO & co-Founder, GovDelivery

In the private sector, we take for granted that effective communication is a mission critical function.  It’s a matter of survival.  If a company has a good product or service, but can’t explain it well, the company goes under.  It’s that simple. 

In the public sector, the value of good communication is harder to measure, but effective communication is similarly mission critical for virtually every type of government agency.  Government may not measure and track quarterly revenues and brand awareness, but consider the following…

"For Two Thirds of Americans, the U.S. Government Does Not Communicate Well about Its Agencies’ Benefits and Services

                                             …Many Unaware Of the Breadth of Services Offered, But View Agencies More Positively Upon Learning More about Them."

Ipsos, April 5, 2010

This is a compelling statistic, but it implies that government communication is about government perpetuating itself which risks distancing communication from mission results.

But, communication is mission critical.  Consider virtually any example of a government program, agency, or function and add (or subtract) good public communication to understand the impact.


What’s your favorite example?

Technology is now making effective and direct public communication more effective and efficient than ever, but as you plan for 2011, you need to make sure that your organization is leveraging effective public communication to create true mission benefit. 

And, don’t forget internal communication because it is critical that there is shared understanding within your organization of the role public communication plays in generating the results your organization wants. 


One Comment


Glad to see you use the word ‘leveraging,’ Scott: “…you need to make sure that your organization is leveraging effective public communication to create true mission benefit.”
I find that most leaders, government or otherwise, don’t understand how social media technologies can be used to leverage their influence, the strategically important aspects of what they’re doing.
For example, with a blog, leaders can select from among a never-ending parade of interactions the ones that they deem strategically significant, and give them a longer “shelf-life.” With a posting to their blog (and the additional leverage of email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc), the story of the interaction gains immediate wider audience while making it significantly easier for that audience to pass the story around to others who they think should know about it.
Leaders are generally reluctant to blog (I have a list of ten common reasons why) but once they understand how a leadership moment captured in a blog post can be leveraged for much greater influence, they’re more than willing to embrace it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *