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Building Winning Relationships

“Invaluable Reputation” – Dec. 10, 2013 Andrew MacDougall, MSLGROUP London


Overview

+ Context + Building blocks for partnership + The role of transparency


Biography

Senior Executive Consultant – MSLGROUP

Dcomm to PM Harper

Senior Consultant H&K


01 - Context

+ Budget pressures + Reputation issues + Need for partnership


Context – Budget Pressures

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Governments are facing reputation issues

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Be careful with your partnerships!

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Governments are facing reputation issues

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Because it’s facile

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Reputation and Competence

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02 – The Building Blocks for Partnership

+ + + +

Build understanding Speak the language Reciprocate Plan carefully


Build Understanding • Government ≠ business • Start small and build up – Don’t walk in and ask for the moon

• Extreme cases make bad law – Don’t start in crisis (if you can avoid it)

• Be clear in your expectations – What are asks on each side?

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Speak the Language

• Speak politics – Put yourself in government shoes

• Speak to motive – What problem does it solve – for them

• No surprises – Governments can take bad news but don’t blindside

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Reciprocity

• All relationships involve give and take • Build capital – Offer support on tangential issues

• Remember the words “thank you”

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Plan Carefully

• Government can be big, dumb, slow • Add your voice to the debate – Prepare the ground

• Be agile – Be ready for opportunity

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03- The Role of Transparency

+ Risk management + The new normal (Snowden and social media) + Opportunities for creative approaches


Risk Management • Government moving to transparency – Lobbyist registries etc. • More voices – Rise of social media • More threats • Lower threshold for “news” – More demand for content


The New Normal • Transparency is not a fad – Technology forces it

• Hold to higher standard – Be prepared to explain

• Defend legitimacy at all costs – Gov’t doesn’t have monopoly on ideas


Time to Get Creative • Who you know vs. What you know – Pendulum shifting • Use transparency to your advantage – Build audience

• More opportunities – Embrace the new channels


04 – Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Case Study


A model partnership

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Case Study – Canada-EU Trade Agreement

• Trade a priority – Savvy partners knew context

• Complicated story to tell – Needed third party validation

• Went with trusted partners – Relationships paid off

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Summary

+ Context + Building blocks for partnership + The role of transparency


To Summarise

• • • • • • •

Know the context and the constraints it places Keep your nose clean Build understanding Think politically, plan carefully Give as well as take Transparency is the new normal Embrace creativity

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MSLGROUP.COM

@mslgroup


Building Winning Relationships By Andrew MacDougall MSLGROUP  

Andrew MacDougall, former government spokesman in Canada and currently Senior Executive Consultant in our London office, was recently invite...

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