Political Acuity


In today’s increasingly complex governance environment, public servants maintain the time-honored tradition of being non-partisan in the advice they provide to both their internal decision makers and political leaders.

At the same time, being politically astute and knowledgeable about the public and political interface, attendant relationships, protocols and practices, can produce better policy and strategic advice.  We call this “connecting the dots”.

Political acuity is about judgment; understanding an issue, its origins, and the players, developing an approach, and knowing when to act.  This know-how and timing is particularly important in the context of the relationship between public servants, their internal environments and Council and other orders of government. Staff who work in Social Service are often answering to several orders of government at the same time. This can be very challenging and requires well-developed political acuity.

Course Description:

This one-day course will introduce you to the skills and abilities for understanding and cultivating your political acuity. Learn how to recognize and work with formal and informal systems, practices, relationships and cultures so that you can identify impacts, influence decisions and achieve organizational objectives. Practical examples will be used to illustrate these skills and learning will occur through individual and group exercises, case studies and discussions.

Who should participate in this course?

This course will be of interest to Social Service staff who make key decisions and especially to those that write reports for council and other levels of government.

In your jobs you must consult and liaise across departments, levels and interests and this course will give you some helpful, perspectives and strategies. Learning how to navigate the tensions that exist inside and outside your organization will serve you well.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • Your professional ethical responsibilities to yourself and others;
  • To understand what political acuity is and why developing it will help you have a brilliant career as a public servant;
  • To identify and explore how to build and strengthen key relationships;
  • To understand the current environment and its implications for your work;
  • To strengthen your ability to provide strategic advice and direction.