Archive for May 11, 2011

Stupid, selfish and lazy

May 11, 2011

A picture speaks a thousand words... Or four

A good friend of mine recently sent me a link to a video of a talk by a guy named Dave Meslin. You can view his talk here.

We’re not normally ones to idly link to other people’s work on our site but his talk about apathy (what it is and what it definitely isn’t) is well worth a watch. We don’t necessarily agree with it all but there are some great points that are worth considering for every local government employee.

Whilst I don’t want to pre-judge your viewing enjoyment there was one thing in there that really struck a bell with me. Towards the end of his talk Dave says that one of the problems is the way we (and here I think he means everyone in Government) think about members of the public.

Too often, we, in the words of Dave, think that members of the public are:

Stupid

Selfish

Lazy

The way we think about the people we serve undoubtedly colours our work.

How often do we stop what we’re doing and re-evaluate our pre-conceptions about the people we work for? Too many times in life I’ve heard people, and sometimes even myself, say things along the lines of:

‘What do they know anyway?’

‘My life would be ok if it wasn’t for the stupid residents’

‘I’d get more work down if it wasn’t for yet another complaint from the councillor’

This isn’t always the case but what if the assumption was the other way round? If our first thought was something like:

‘I’ve just heard something from a resident I didn’t expect; what should I do differently?’

‘My job is to serve the residents first and foremost; if only I didn’t have so much paperwork etc to do I could spend more time providing services for them’

‘Good job the councillor raised that on behalf of their constituent otherwise we might have missed it.’

Maybe I’m overegging the pudding a little but I thought it was a useful corrective to a sometimes easy trap to fall into.

Thanks Dave!

http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_meslin_the_antidote_to_apathy.html

Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line at: welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com 

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