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Building Commitment to Reform through Strategic Communication

by Helen R. Garcia Cecilia Cabañero-Verzosa

Strategic communication is a powerful tool for creating broad-based support for reform and change initiatives. Much has been written about why communication matters in reform efforts, but there is scant material available to help those who manage reforms apply communication concepts and approaches to their own programs and policy-reform initiatives. 'Building Commitment to Reform through Strategic Communication' attempts to bridge that gap. The authors present a pragmatic and systematic approach for reformers ready to use communication strategically to achieve their reform goals. The Five Communication Management Decision Tool helps reformers and their teams develop a framework for their communication strategies. This decision tool helps managers see change initiatives through the eyes of those who will be affected by the reforms. When the decision tool is used in the early stages of the development of change programs, reformers gain an even deeper understanding of the stakeholders' perspectives on the reforms, which influence stakeholder opposition or support for them. Such understanding will not only be instructive, but possibly transformative-for both change agents and those stakeholders whose support is critical to the success of reform. Reform agents may recognize the source of stakeholder resistance and be able to revise reform goals and redesign change interventions. Stakeholders who have a shared understanding of why the status quo is not acceptable and change is necessary are more likely to create coalitions of committed allies and supporters who will work together to achieve reform goals. This workbook illustrates how the decision tool can be used for various types of change and reform initiatives-from policy reform, to country and donor partnership agreements, to sectoral reforms. Tested and used in learning interventions across cultures, regions, and sectors, the tool has been used successfully by teams in government, nongovernmental organizations, the business sector, and donor agencies. The book will be of great interest to readers working in all of these areas.

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