Every town has a different power structure, with its own personalities, its own accountability requirements, its own reporting system and its own state and local statutes. So when we talk about how to be a leader in your community, it’s difficult to generalize too much. However, there are a few principles to keep in mind as you develop your technology plan and advocate for that plan.
Why Should You Get to Know Key Decision Makers?
- You don’t want to inadvertently break the law or ignore an important regulation. Key influencers and decision makers can often tell you about the most important state and local statutes.
- You don’t want to waste your time planning for a project or service that will later get overturned by someone you forgot to consult.
- Other departments and other city employees often have good advice about planning and advocacy. Also, they might have expertise in the particular technology you’re trying to implement.
- You can avoid duplication of work effort. Another city or county department may already offer the technology or the service that you’re looking at.
- There could be funds available for technology that you aren’t aware of.
- People like to be asked for their opinion. If you talk to key influencers in your community, they’re much more likely to support your technology initiatives and much less likely to oppose them. Also, you might turn them into advocates for your project.
- Start by downloading our tools regarding technology decision makers: Quick Reference — What Do You Need to Know About Technology Decision Makers? and Who are Possible Key Decision Makers?
- Arrange a meeting with a key IT decision-maker in your community, or sit in on a meeting of a technology advisory committee if one exists in your local government.
- At that meeting, ask some of the questions. Make sure you get a sense of what their concerns are, who they report to, and how their performance is evaluated. Also, ask for the names of other influential people you could talk to.
To find out more about meeting and working with technology decision makers, see the Further Resources section.