Dear friend of Lincoln:
I wanted to share a brief note to update you about how our approach to policy is evolving. When I started Lincoln's policy team in 2018, it was a team of one. Even when we expanded a little, it didn't make sense at the time to differentiate our individual views from the organization as a whole.
Over the past year our policy team has grown quite a bit. While we're all committed to the same mission, we nonetheless have different perspectives and expertise. We don't always agree internally, and sometimes even enjoy a healthy intra-staff debate.
Some organizations try to contain this by implementing a "one voice" policy, where the executive leadership decides what the organization should believe. I think this gets too much in the way of intellectual freedom and undermines morale. Other organizations seem to take great lengths to avoid taking policy positions altogether. In my view this isn't practical, and hampers mission-critical work. With our affinity for robust free speech norms, I don't want us to be in either of these camps.
As of today we're codifying this by adopting an "open voice policy." This means all of our staff experts (of mid to senior level) are free to have their own views, endorse positions, and openly disagree with other team members so long as it's within the scope of Lincoln's work, values, and mission. This means we will no longer sign on to coalition letters or issue platforms solely as an institution (i.e. without a staff name attached to it), except for a few special cases and legacy projects.
Looking at how other organizations operate, I believe this is the best strategy to retain and attract top intellectual talent within our growing team, focus our outputs effectively, and internalize pro-freedom values.