Successful public participation requires authenticity. Authenticity requires participation to be meaningful, not perfunctory. That can cause stress for organizations that have dabbled in public involvement in the past, but have done so with minimum commitment. They want credit for engaging their stakeholders but they avoid any serious involvement because they really don’t know what to do with people when they engage them. Asking the public to help you is a most effective and obvious solution. But sadly, that’s a difficult thing to do for leaders who think that they always need to show their independence, strength and, well … leadership. They’re afraid that they’ll jeopardize their status by appearing vulnerable and needing advice. But asking others for help engages those helpers and gives them skin in the game, which benefits everyone by driving better, supported, consensus solutions.