Political Acuity

 “DEVELOPING POLITICAL ACUITY – CONNECTING THE DOTS”

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.

About the facilitator:

Ronna Hope Warsh has a depth of experience in human services in a variety of leadership roles.  She has worked in non-profit agencies, and in both front-line and senior management roles at the municipal and provincial levels of government. During her tenure, she has collaborated with agencies that provide health care, child welfare, employment, social housing, developmental services, child-care and children’s mental health services.  She has also been a leader on several Boards of Directors in a volunteer capacity.  During her career, Ronna secured millions of dollars which helped to build better communities for vulnerable people. 

Ronna has mentored and developed many staff that blossomed into great leaders. She has developed strong collaborative teams who have worked with her to improve service delivery.  She understands the changing landscape in the non-profit/public sector world and is a strategic thinker. Throughout her career, Ronna has been an authentic leader who has always acted with integrity. She consistently brings passion to her work and seeks input from others. She is a strong proponent of collaborative partnerships and, using this strategy, has been able to effectively leverage resources resulting in many innovative new programs.

Ronna held the position of Community Development and Health Commissioner for the City of Windsor, where she was responsible for 850 staff and a budget of $250 million.  She was known as an inventive and transparent leader.

Ronna received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association and a Community Service Award from Community Living Windsor. In 2014, she was appointed to the Ontario College of Teachers as a Board member.

Ronna has a coaching certificate from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching, and she provides coaching to people on an individual basis, enabling them to move forward toward attaining their leadership goals. She is also certified to administer and interpret results from a number of Human Synergistics Leadership and Organizational Culture tools.

Ronna works with a number of public sector agencies, delivering workshops and managing progressive projects. She also provides strategic advice to organizations, based on her years of experience as an executive leader.