Community Content

Enhancing communication at a county government

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A County government needed more effective communication throughout its office and among its many constituencies.

Between the financial crisis and major changes to the employment picture in this U.S. county, government services took on an even more important role. Worried residents, demanding elected officials, concerned employees and a staff with more on their plates and fewer resources made for a challenging mix of issues. The County’s administrator wanted to change the dynamics of these relationships. Why couldn’t communication be more effective? More streamlined? Could changing communication change the county for the better?

For the members of the senior administrative staff and a selection of other constituents, we conducted a daylong training session -- The Face2Face Communication Learning Program. The program includes the 4Ps, CORE and HEAR tools. The three tools cover how to communicate (purpose, picture, plan and part); what to communicate (changes, objectives, reasons and effect) and how to listen effectively (honor, echo, ask, respond). Participants learned the tools, then practiced them in a variety of situations, including stand-up meetings and small group discussions to present an idea upward to a supervisor.


The tools are designed to help people communicate more effectively with everyone, making it easier to have face to face discussions, conduct conference calls and even improve email. The business results are an improved environment – rich dialogue and discussion, knowledge sharing, better questions and answers – and a more motivated and empathetic team.  The County saw immediate changes in its relationships internally, and between the administration and elected officials. The County administrator for example, said the tools revolutionized his department, bringing focus to his communications and reducing wasted time spent tracking information down. Completeness, forthrightness and openness are three reported results of the training. The County even conducted a follow-up session for individual contributors to help drive the tools more deeply into the organization.

Contact Sean Williams via his ATD profile for further information, including another short case study regarding a department of a state government. Or, visit  

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