Building a Better Task Force
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a big fan of task forces. I am too. The model of teams working in a co-operative and creative way to problem solve is famously helpful.
Key is bringing together stakeholders with diverse perspectives. Diverse voices in open and respectful dialogue are essential to creative solutions.
So often, groups get caught in blame cycles that keep us arguing about the past and not addressing the future. The story reported in the NY Times today highlights the negative effect of blame and narrow thinking on the way government does business. The state legislature, the governor and the city at odds on education dollars is a good example of how blame and dissonance can hamstring policy and hurt our kids.
I salute the Mayor and his intentions to fight poverty in NYC. As the mayor assembles his task force I encourage him to include diverse voices on the team to break the cycles that so often envelop groups: blame and groupthink, for example. People with first hand experience of poverty are a rich source of practical knowledge and new ideas.
People from the community need to be on the task force. I urge the Mayor to bring on members of community groups like FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality), Make The Road By Walking and Welfare Rights Initiative, for example.
Not only do people who know the real effects of current policies bring important perspectives to policy making, the work of team building helps expand all members' points of view. And expansive views and visions are just what a task force should deliver.