2021朝邦文教基金會對話新訊息 夏季刊

經濟部水利署落實有品質的會議,樹立公務新典範

WRA Sets New Example for Public Sector with High-Quality Meetings

                                                                           (English follows Chinese)


你的人生參加過多少會議,是「會而不議、議而不決、決而不行」呢?每個人都知道高品質的會議是創新的場域,是與會者暢所欲言的空間,更是領導者全力傾聽的時間,若真心話能取代膚淺的場面話,一場又一場的會議將可以改寫許多人生,創造更美好的社稷。經濟部水利署「與署長有約」榮獲朝邦文教基金會所舉辦的第二屆對話影響力獎金牌獎,從每年一次的跨領域會議中,透過誠摯對話、溝通,開啟互信、合作關係。

「與署長有約」樹立公私對話新典範

當代的環境問題往往牽涉到跨領域的知識,非常複雜,很多政策的討論很難依恃充足的知識證據。尤其在現今社會,任何公共政策的推動都將面臨多元的民意,水利署體認到民眾信任薄弱的氛圍下,益增政策對話的困難,因此主動搭建公私對話平台-「與署長有約」,至今邁入第十年,非僅是冰冷文字的民眾信箱,而是採相互共學、傾聽民意的面對面方式直接對話,不迴避高爭議的治水政策,營造友善的討論開放度,開啟公私部門合作契機。十年對外與對內開誠布公溝通,經濟部水利署「與署長有約」樹立公私對話新典範。

監督不是彼此耗竭能量無止盡對立

隸屬於經濟部,掌管全國河川、水利、水資源的相關業務、政策與法規之擬定及執行的水利署,為了解決易淹水地區的問題,於民國95年經立法院通過「水患治理條例」,核定8年1,160億特別預算。經費的分配與治理工作,往往在不同的政治理念與專業角力之下受到外界許多質疑與批評。當時水利署深深感受到「資訊平等才能開啟對話平台」,陸續召開公聽會、組成在地諮詢小組,進而組成專家治水會議。當年社團法人全國社區大學促進會也因為關心台灣河川問題,協助成立治水監督聯盟,並且在這連續十年的「與署長有約」扮演了重要的支持夥伴角色。

社團法人社區大學全國促進會楊志彬秘書長在分享會中表示,社區大學以解放知識為己任,網絡遍佈台灣城鄉。由於水資源是民生重要課題,十幾年前即開始關心台灣河川問題,並促成治水監督聯盟,展開監督政府水資源投資與建設的角色。然而與其是彼此耗竭能量無止盡的對立,不如建立關心水的社群,從公聽會繼續延伸發展對話的無限可能,讓溝通成為一套系統作業,因此遂成了這場長達十年的「與署長有約」,並且與水利署建立了長期的合作夥伴關係。賴建信署長認爲:「這種夥伴關係不是相互取暖,而是互相砥礪。」這個「與署長有約」不但延伸了公私協力的對話,也開始更深入、廣泛的交流。

信任感從會議前充分準備開始

相較於其他政府單位委託公關公司協助對外溝通,水利署選擇的是與利益關係人「直球對決」。在溝通之前,一定要求事前的充分準備,賴署長認為:「信任感不僅是在會議中建立的,更是靠會議前充分準備」。水利署不論是內部或外部會議,對話的各種元素就在會議中展開。為了讓每個人都能感受到尊重並且安心的發言,署長總是先讓其他與會者先發言,聽取事實,有時就像是真心話的較量,要等到所有的事實都浮現出來時,最後才做出決策。

輕諾則寡信 誠意尋解方

水利署相關的每一個會議上的所提的議題都充滿挑戰,可能涉及生態保育,也可能與民生經濟有所衝突,有的訴諸於家計苦情、有的考量自然反撲的風險,其中也不乏倡議團體的理念,以及遊說團體的策略溝通,該如何提供各方都滿意的答案呢? 賴署長表示,愈是面對錯綜複雜的問題愈是不能迴避,只能用理性的溝通化解爭議,甚至坦承需要更多的時間尋找的解方,不能因為要息事寧人而輕易給承諾。署長認為:「輕諾則寡信。若只想給一次承諾,現在就可以答應各方要求;若想給永遠的承諾,就必須先知道團隊能做到甚麼樣的程度,現在無法馬上答應大家!」,「但誠意很重要,我們需要持續創造好的對話環境,不斷尋找最好的解決方法。」經濟部水利署署長如是說。

同理聆聽喚起公務人員熱情的正義感

過去的機關黑文化、迂腐的潛規則,往往讓民眾對公職人員失去信任,也讓許多好的政策因為得不到民眾的信任而窒礙難行。要建立公職人員的正義感與信任感就要先從內部做起,而會議就是一個「試金石」。署長認為:「若不能從內部文化鼓勵同仁在會議中放心表達,之後的黑函檢舉與關說,讓正義被事後追殺,或是官場倫理大過事實求證,就會讓會議成為推卸責任或是分攤風險的場合。如果有不正義存在,同仁就難以產生熱情,這也是現代史上他國的借鏡。」「因此主管要能喚起公務人員熱情的正義感,因為公務人員做的任何決定都會影響很多人,你不能輕忽任何的決定。」賴署長表示,這是他畢生堅守的信念。

署長把握每一次在不同的場合與同仁們會議,並且喜歡私下與同仁們交流,他認為這是很重要的對話時刻,了解同仁們工作與生活上的困難所在,並找機會協助同仁解決,因為他相信:「不能解決同仁的小問題,同仁就不能發揮他的力量解決社會的大問題。」這樣的信念,讓署長在面對跨域合作時,也會先去解決對方的問題。他認為讓大家有共好的願景,整合資源,排除困難,是領導者該做的事。在合作的基礎下,主動解決問題的意願也很重要,「不要期待自己的困難永遠有人來幫你解決,跨域合作下沒有人願意跟被動者繼續合作下去!」署長如是說。

集眾人之智捍衛水資源

「清淤泥就像拖地板,拖地板的家人平時你不會覺得重要,但當他不在的時候,你會覺得他變得很重要」署長說。今年台灣遭逢五十六年來最嚴重的乾旱問題,也顯示出氣候變遷的問題已迫在眉睫,水利署長久以來在台灣水資源的政策與推展上默默的努力,也透過各種的溝通管道大聲疾呼大家珍惜水資源,並且清除永無止境的淤泥與淨化水源,這些已成例行性的水資源工作,就像大禹治水,無法以一己之力,而是需要集眾人之智與眾人之力才能完成。這些沒有打鬥只有真誠對話,解決問題的會議,絕不會在媒體上出現,然而許多問題輪廓就是在無數次的反覆討論中逐漸清晰,出席會議者也是抱持善意行動參與,就算有不同的意見也會提出替代方案。無論是內部或外部的會議,我們都看到水利署將對話的重要元素融入在組織文化中,為捍衛台灣的水資源而努力,期待下一場「與署長有約」的真誠對話!

對話影響力獎的目的在肯定個人、組織、社區積極推動對話元素(平等待人、同理聆聽、浮現假設、包容等有效溝通方式),完成組織變革/達成創新社區發展。並藉此活動喚起更好、 更有效的對話,讓對話綜合能力專注聆聽、包容多元等,得以走入日常生活與工作實踐,促成和諧、兼容並蓄的公民社會,第三屆對話影響力獎徵件中,歡迎各組織、企業報名。

#第三屆對話影響力獎:https://reurl.cc/Gd8N1A


CP Yen Foundation Dialogue Newsletter,
 Summer  Issue   May  2021

WRA Sets New Example for Public Sector with High-Quality Meetings

How often do you find yourself in meetings that lead to no decisions,  no actions? We all know high-quality meetings open the space for innovation, stimulate open dialogues, and bring time for leaders for deep listening. If superficial conversations can be replaced with meaningful ones, meetings can change our lives and create a better society.  The “Meeting the Director General” event at WRA (Water Resources Agency, Ministry of Economic Affairs) , the winner of the second annual CP Yen Golden Dialogue Impact Award, demonstrates how the annual cross-disciplinary meeting opens up mutual trust and collaboration through authentic dialogue and communication.

 “Meeting with Director General” event sets new role model for public-private sector dialogues

Due to the multiple disciplines and hard, complex technical facts involved in environmental issues, it’s often challenging to access and present the specialized knowledge in policy discussions. At the same time, public issue discussions often face very diverse opinions. WRA felt the need to strengthen the connection with the public

to better communicate the policies; thus, the event “Meeting with Director General” was organized. As the bridge between the government and the citizens, the “Meeting with Director General” event by WRA is well into its tenth year. It’s more than a mail box filled with letters by the citizens. It’s a dialogue platform for mutual learning, and active listening, a way of direct face-to-face dialogues. The meeting event steadily communicates openly with the public, setting an excellent role model for dialogue between government and the citizens.

Monitoring measures do not need to result in endless confrontations

Under the auspices of Ministry of Economic Affairs, WRA oversees national affairs on rivers and streams, water conservancy, water resources, relevant policies and legislations. In 2006, Legislative Yuan passed the “Flood Management Program” with an 8-year, 1.16-billion-dollar budget for the program. Conflicting interests and ideologies created doubts about the allocation and execution of the budget. Realizing that dialogues can only take place on the basis of information equality, WRA started to organize public hearings, local counseling teams, and then expert-paneled water control meetings in attempt of resolving disputes rationally. Deeply concerned about water conservancy issues, NAPCU (National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities) became actively involved by assisting to establish Water Management Monitoring Alliance. It also played an important role in organizing  “Meeting with Director General“ event series.

Yang Chih-Pin, Secretary – General at NAPCU explained that community universities are, with the mission to promote knowledge, are spread all over Taiwan. Recognizing the importance of Taiwan’s water resources, NAPCU started to monitor the rivers in Taiwan and established Water Management Monitoring Alliance. The alliance looks closely at government’s investment and facilitates concerning water resources. Instead of standing on the opposite side from the government, the alliance builds community of people who are concerned about water issues, organizes public hearings, and to open up possibilities of open dialogues so dialogues can become systematic. Through “Meeting with Director General” over the past ten years, the alliance has built a long-term collaborative relationship with WRA. Dr. Chien-Hsin Lai, Director General of WRA said: “The relationship is not about cuddling up together but about growing together.” The “Meeting with Director General” event not only extends the dialogue of public and private collaborations, it also deepens and broadens the interaction. 

Building trust with well-prepared meetings

While some government institutions communicate through public relations professionals, WRA prefers to have direct interactions with stakeholders. Dr. Lai pays attention to the preparation work before any communication. He said: “Building trust does not start at the meeting but through prior preparation.” In the internal and external meetings, all the elements of a dialogue occur. To show respect and to build a safe space for open discussions, Dr. Lai always speaks last. He would listen carefully to all sides and wait for all the facts to surface before making any decision.

Easy promises sabotage credibility. Search for solutions with sincerity.

The issues raised in the meetings are often challenging. The issues involved various aspects including ecological preservation, daily lives, family issues, or other issues as well as strategies and ideologies of specific interest groups and lobbying agencies. In facing these questions, how is it possible to reach solutions that satisfy everyone? Dr. Lai refuses to dodge complex issues and strives to resolve rationally. He admits that some of the issues need time. To him, it’s not a good idea to promise lightly. He says: ““Easy promises sabotage credibility. I can easily promise you everything right away. But if I want to make a long-term commitment, I need to know what my teams can achieve first.  I cannot commit right away!” He adds: “Sincerity is important. We want to make sure we can maintain the space for good dialogues. And we are always looking for the best solutions.”

Empathy ignites the passion inside public servants

The negative image of corruptions and hidden rules in bureaucratic systems in the past had severely damaged the public’s trust toward civil servants. As the result, even good policies face obstacles in implementation. To ignite public servant’s sense of rightfulness and responsibility, it’s necessary to start internally. The Meeting with Director General serves as a testing stone. Dr. Lai tells us: “We have to start by encouraging our colleagues to speak honestly, free from the fear of being revenged upon. If the work culture emphasizes personal issues over facts, it’s easy to dodge responsibilities in meetings. Without the sense of rightfulness, it’s hard to generate passion. We have all learned hard lessons from modern history.” “Leaders  have to ignite the sense of rightfulness inside civil servants. Because actions of any civil servant affects many people. You cannot overlook any decision.” Dr. Lai firmly believes in that. 

That is why he never misses opportunities to interact with colleagues. He believes all occasions are important for dialogues. He can understand the difficulties they face and find ways to help them resolve the issues. “If you can’t solve their tiny problems. They won’t be free to work on big issues.” With that, when the Director General works with other departments or disciplines, he tries to resolve their problems first. He feels the role of a leader is to consolidate resources and resolve problems for the  common good. It’s also important to be proactive in resolving issues. “Don’t expect someone always being there to solve the problem for you. In theses cross-disciplinary collaborations, no one likes to work with passive people,” said Director General Dr. Chien-Hsin Lai. 

Collective wisdom to protect water resources

“Cleaning muddy river sediments is like mopping the floor at home. You never think it’s important until the floor becomes too dirty.” Dr. Lai says. We are facing the most serious drought in 56 years. This is one of the signs of threat from climate change. WRA has been promoting water conservation for decades through various communication channels. Cleaning out the muddy sediments and purifying water are also part of WRA’s routine responsibilities. These quiet efforts are often unseen by the public. Most of the issues only become clarified after the numerous discussions. Fortunately, almost everyone attends meetings with good intentions. Even opponents for certain issues attempt to bring alternative solutions. What we see from these internal and external meetings is the effort by WRA to include key elements of dialogue in its culture as it works to preserve Taiwan’s water resources. We are very excited to see the real conversations in the next Meeting with Director General! 

The purpose of establishing the Dialogue Impact Award is to recognize efforts on personal, organizational, and community levels to promote elements of dialogue (effective communication such as treating others fairly, empathic listening, surfacing assumptions, and inclusiveness), facilitate organizational changes/innovative community development and more. Dialogue Impact Award aims to help promote awareness of dialogue in public society, to enhance social harmony and civic cultural literacy through consolidated skills such as focusing, listening and inclusiveness.

The Third Dialogue Impact Award is now accepting applications from organizations and corporate enterprises.

Registration site:

https://reurl.cc/Gd8N1A

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