The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) serves a community of 45,000 people spread across 1.2 million square kilometres and operates in an environment of 11 official languages. The GNWT communications team provides vital service to citizens spread across 33 communities in some of the most remote and culturally distinct regions of Canada.
The communications team in the GNWT faced several inter-connected challenges:
- The team was small relative to the scope and scale of the communications requirements, with approximately 40 employees spread across 14 distinct government departments.
- As the GNWT in its current form had existed only since 1999, the approach to communications governance was relatively informal.
- The GNWT’s consensus government model added a layer of complexity in clearly defining communications authority, processes and strategy in a way that would be culturally appropriate and operationally effective.
The Results Map® Solution
We partnered with the GNWT communications team to offer support in the following areas:
- A three-day Results Map® Master’s Program to equip the communications team with a consistent strategic communications methodology.
- A series of consultative workshops with the communications community to engage employees in the process of shaping a new operating model for the function.
- Workshops exploring how strategic communications can help fuel organizational performance among departmental staff and executives.
- Project support on modernizing the communications governance and business processes using a series of design thinking workshops.
- A Strategy Lab workshop to formalize how government-wide and/or thematic planning is managed from a central agency perspective.
- Results Map® helped to level-set skills and knowledge in strategic communications across the function to get everyone in the organization on the same page. Qualitative feedback from employees and leaders was that the Results Map® System was useful in establishing a common methodology and nomenclature among practitioners, making it easier to collaborate across departments.
- Internal clients and executives consistently reported that the consultative skills used by communicators, including the use of the Top 10 Questions in Strategic Communications, elevated the quality of the client service relationship.
- The updated business processes and governance structure for communications have contributed to improving the team’s efficiency, reducing churn and solidifying employee engagement. This also improved the alignment of communications messages and tactics across departments.
A debrief on the Results Map® partnership with the GNWT pointed to the following key learnings from the engagement:
- A critical success factor: designing the various Results Map® interventions to focus on co-creation and collaboration. Consistent with the general culture of the GNWT, this approach also helped solidify buy-in for sustainable results.
- While the project initially focused exclusively on the communications community, it was important to shift the effort to include interventions with internal clients and executives to build a truly corporate approach to a new communications model.
- Given the mobility of the communications profession, focusing on knowledge transfer in the Results Map® model was paramount. By establishing an internal Results Map® “train the trainer” structure, the onboarding process for new employees integrated Results Map® tools and best practices in a cost-effective fashion.
As a relatively small organization with limited communications resources, ensuring those resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible is critical to our performance in serving the people of the Northwest Territories. The Results Map® approach has been instrumental in helping create a shared understanding of and commitment to strategic communications at all levels of the organization, as well as supporting the development of tools and processes to better deliver on the government’s communications priorities grounded in proven communications best practices.Shaun Dean
Director of Cabinet Communications