Saturday, June 19, 2010

Implement the policy

Implementation: Actually having to do things.

The leap to implementation is much tougher than the leap to policy. Writing policy just requires understanding the issues and inventing an official plan to go forward. Implementing the plan is another problem altogether, you actually have to do something.

The community needs to be willing to step up to help enforce the policy. If people don't care and don't buy into the direction, the community won't want it enforced, and inertia will take over.

If you care about any particular issue, before you waste energy trying to fight about policy, do your research. Understand the policy. If the rules are bad, try to get them changed. On the other hand, if the existing policy is good enough don't waste time fighting the policy battle. That battle's over. Focus your energy on implementation.

After all, action on the ground is what you wanted, right? Implementation is tougher than policy. Knowing the right thing to do is easy compared to actually doing it.

Once a 'good enough' policy is in place, our civic leaders need a couple of things from us in order to implement the changes we need:

Hold their feet to the fire. We need to hold them accountable for implementing the policies. It's easy to forget about something that vanishes from your view, and if you write a great policy, put it in a binder, and leave it on the shelf, you've wasted everybody's time.

Provide political cover. Change is tough and any progressive policy is going to have it's share of change. If one of your leaders steps up and takes a stand to move things forward, then you need to be vocal in your support. Make a phone call. Write a letter. It's easy to just be quiet when things are going your way, but ensuring that your leaders get the support they need when they're doing something you believe in is an important part of the feedback loop. It's part of what makes them keep stepping up.

If the policy is good enough, make sure it gets implemented. Otherwise it's just a waste of paper.

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