How did this all came about?
Keys to Success:
Step 1: Practice the 3 Ps: Patience, Perseverance, Polite requests
Step 2: Look for and focus on Common Goals. Acknowledge TXDOT has other priorities and work within those parameters where it is easy to find common ground. If they know you are aware of their priorities and are willing to adjust your request to accommodate that, you should be perceived as someone reasonable that they can work with.
Step 3: Make the first request a "baby step" towards the direction you want to go in, not a giant leap forward, unless you already have some indicators they are open to a bigger change.
Step 4: Give them 2 alternatives for action that you desire. Then be happy with whichever one they choose, even if it was the "least" alternative. Even a small step forward in the right direction is a start towards a better tomorrow.
Step 5: Gather support for your request - information and people. Resources that were helpful included:
- TXDOT Roadside Vegetation Maintenance Manual
- U.S. Dept of Transportation Roadside Best Management Practices that Benefit Pollinators
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service "Get Involved with Rights-of-Way"
- Habitat Highways by National Wildlife Federation
- What is the "Monarch Highway" by Monarch Joint Venture
- Memorandum of Understanding "Agreement for Support of Monarch Highway"
- TXDOT's Roadside Wildflower Program
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Southwest Conservation Plan
- Monarch Conference Report December 2016
Step 7: Give them supplemental info through visual graphics to make it easier to say "Yes" to your request.
- Map showing the area for actions
- Photos of native plant habitat
- Illustration of what you desire
- Map showing connectivity of native plant habitats
Step 8: Follow up with the 3 Ps again: Patience, Perseverance, Politeness until you receive an answer.
Step 9: Graciously give thanks for any type of positive response to your request.
- Email thank you note - send immediately
- Snail Mail thank you note with a photo - something they might pin on their bulletin board to "share with the team"
- Thank both those who took action and acknowledge the same with their bosses so they get another "pat on the back" from their chain of command within TXDOT
Step 10: Try to stay connected / keep in touch with TXDOT representatives to build an ongoing relationship. Let them know how their requested actions have achieved the desired goals. Send a follow up photo. Continue to express appreciation for their actions.