Breaking down Silos
Many of the decisions made in City Hall come down to Yes/No votes. This fosters opposition and suspicion of people with different perspectives or interests. It’s easy to fall into generalizations or stereotypes when facing a high conflict, high stakes, decision, but it’s rare that this approach gets the best results, especially if details are being negotiated on the fly in a public hearing. I am very clear about my values and priorities, but I also know that we don't win on the issues that matter if we only listen to one perspective. Understanding others doesn't mean we agree, but it does mean we can find a more strategic path forward.
My goal is to engage and hear out all parties as early as possible in the process, acknowledge and give space for the intense feelings that arise in these situations, facilitate understanding and dialogue, provide some guideposts for possible solutions and reduce barriers to communication. This isn't just a nice thing to do. It helps us better manage risk, avoid unintended consequences and build support on challenging issues.
Over time it is often possible to surface practical options that make the final decision more acceptable to everyone. These processes aren’t comfortable, and it’s rare that everyone is satisfied, but over time our communities are strengthened and our ability to navigate these situations improves and subsequent processes get better results and are less stressful for everyone.
In order to navigate COVID-19 recovery, climate change and energy transition, City Plan implementation and zoning bylaw renewal we need to support and develop the capacity of community leaders and connect across different interests to navigate these significant generational challenges. Our success depends on it.