P2 tip #8: Enjoy surprises and celebrate accomplishments

21 07 2011

Public outreach for complex and controversial projects is hard work. Every day brings something new. And then there are the same challenges that bubble up time and time again: the same question asked for the twentieth time this week, the same complaint heard six months ago, the same stakeholder who calls on a regular basis to bend your ear on some topic marginally relevant to the project.

But, public participation work brings plenty of surprises and delights! Feedback that a map was particularly helpful, evidence that the person you are talking to has thoroughly read the project website, and meaningful comments that have potential to transform the project … these are moments to be acknowledged and celebrated! In the midst of all the day-to-day hard work, recognize these glimpses of success and share your good news.

Big projects are accomplished with baby steps. Don’t wait to celebrate until final approvals are in place, look for the milestones along the way that help the project advance toward a sustainable solution. It will help keep the team motivated by creating a feeling of accomplishment when complex projects have long, hard, arduous processes. And that unexpected comment, early approval, or even a meeting that went better than expected? Cherish the moment and regain perspective to carry you through the next storm!




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