The first amendment allows Americans the right to free speech, an establishment of religion, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government. In the past, petitioning the government was somewhat of a daunting task. In order for more Americans to be heard on topics that are near and dear to them, the Obama administration created We the People, a platform that allows Americans to create and sign petitions that, if enough signatures are collected, has the chance to be reviewed by the White House staff and receive an official response. The overall purpose of the platform is for government to address important topics the American people would like to see changed.
Lately, the platform has been getting unfavorable reviews regarding the lack of response to the petitions that have been accumulating on the site since its inception in September 2011. Originally, the Obama Administration promised that any posted petition to receive 5,000 signatures would be reviewed and an official response would be issued. After an overwhelming response, the signature requirement was increased to 25,000 back in October 2011. There are currently approximately one-third of the petitions that date back to the first two weeks of the site launch that are still waiting for a promised response from the White House.
Many companies have open forums or launch surveys to gain feedback from their employees about the state of their business or impending changes. Implementing a way for employees to make their voice heard gets individuals involved in shaping the organization and any changes that may incur. This involvement helps raise morale and motivation for employees to adopt those changes. Subject matter experts on leading change, Pat Zigarmi and Judd Hoekstra, developed a change model to help leaders successfully overcome a typically complicated process. This change model promotes nine strategies and outcomes when dealing with change:
- Expand Involvement and Influence
- Select and Align the Leadership Team
- Explain the Business Case for Change
- Envision the Future
- Experiment to Ensure Alignment
- Enable and Encourage
- Execute and Endorse
- Embed and Extend
- Explore Possibilities
As I was learning about these strategies, I felt that the Obama Administration hit a bump in the road when it came to Stage 7, Execute and Encourage. This stage is for impact and collaboration concerns. One reason change initiatives fail is because those leading the change are not credible, they under-communicate, and give mixed messages. Execution on what the Administration promised back in September last year is critical. Without it, the petitions that Americans are posting on We the People just falls on deaf ears.