GR is a strategic advisor, not a cost center. You know it. Make sure others do.
Keep educating your internal stakeholders.
Keep in touch with your team and make it about more than nuts-and-bolts.
Here’s a salute to all the country’s state government relations teams running in overdrive this week. We know how hard you’re working for your organizations.
You’re focused on legislation, regulations, and executive orders that are coming fast and furious. In addition to our legislative tracker, here are three ways that you can work smarter, promote team morale and highlight the great work you’re doing.
1. GR is a strategic advisor, not a cost center. You know it. Make sure others do.
It’s, unfortunately, the case that GR is sometimes seen as costing money rather than making it. You know better: Government relations is the edge of the sword. Every decision affecting organizations in this environment is primarily one of policy, regulation, or executive action. When you talk about your work, position it that way:
Describe the relationship between policy, regulation, executive action, and the organization’s financial health, so GR isn’t seen in a vacuum. Use numbers and words.
Outline the best-case, worst-case, and likely-case scenarios. No one is expecting GR to have a crystal ball. They are, however, expecting you to put your acumen to work and provide a range of possibilities to assist in business planning.
Insist on a seat at the table when making major business decisions. Make the case that GR should be part of business strategy, not reacting to it: You know best what’s possible, probable, and unlikely.
2. Keep educating your internal stakeholders.
It’s important to spread the word about what GR is doing: Communication calms fears and lets internal stakeholders know parsing the situation in an organized, systematic way. It demonstrates strategy; that GR is thinking ahead, not just reacting to the moment. It answers questions before they’re asked, further demonstrating strategy.
Quick, easy ways to spread the word:
Send a short daily email from GR, capturing and explaining the latest developments. Explaining what happened matters; explaining why it happened inserts GR’s voice into the conversation. Keep a static subject line so your audience sees your update as a newsletter.
Post regularly to your organization’s Intranet site, much like what you see with the New York Times or Washington Post.
Record two-minute video updates. Nothing fancy. Use your smartphone.
Share relevant news articles with GR’s commentary, so audiences read them in the context of action you’re taking or anticipating.
Connect regularly with key individuals inside your organization. It’s reflexive to default to group updates for speed but individual updates can merit more appreciation of GR’s role and useful intelligence to drive its work.
In all of this, flag your victories. It’s important to let your stakeholders know that the organization’s effort — as driven by GR — is making a difference.
3. Keep in touch with your team and make it about more than nuts-and-bolts.
As the pace picks up, it’s easy to lose touch and assume team members will read emails and call when it’s needed. Regular and intentional communication isn’t only good for efficiency, however, it’s good for morale.
Quick, easy ways to stay connected and keep it light when appropriate:
Considering using a real-time coordination tool like Slack. This will allow for instantaneous communication and cut down on email.
Dedicate a Slack channel for a topic other than work: sports, TV shows, pets, photos, etc. Give people a low-effort outlet to have fun.
Opt for video calls and in-person meetings. Face-to-face contact makes a difference.
Dedicate a corner of your meetings to funny Tweets, observations about telework, or other musings. In short, keep it light, give people a break and help refill the tank for the work ahead.