Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Reaching Goals Through Coordination and Teamwork

*Excerpt from Keeping It Local: A Guide for Managing Congressional District & State Offices, Chapter 3, copyright Congressional Management Foundation. 


    • Develop systems and office practices that allow an office to work effectively and maintain its focus on strategic goals.

    • Monitor progress on strategic goals in multiple ways: action plans; weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings; and regular progress reports.

    • Hold all staff accountable by recognizing outstanding performers and addressing the sub-par work product of others.

    • Use formal and informal strategies and communications to address the three fundamental obstacles to good interoffice relations: distance, different core functions and the drive for efficiency.

    • Coordinate activities among all offices by scheduling annual planning sessions; promoting collaboration; and sharing news and information frequently.

  • Create a good working relationship between the Chief of Staff and District/State Director through mutual respect and open, honest and frequent communication.
    • Pursue a new and major initiative without scrutinizing how it would affect the strategic plan, goals and office resources.

    • Let critical activities, such as planning and relationship building, be delayed by less important, but more pressing activities.

    • Undertake a major project without first drafting a comprehensive action plan that includes tasks, responsibilities and deadlines.

    • Try to cram project work into a single weekly staff meeting. If extensive planning or discussion is required, schedule another meeting with the relevant staffers.

    • Confuse a communications channel with a command channel. Directives and decisions should follow the prescribed chains of command, but simple requests and information exchanges should be common and routine among staff.



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