Friday, November 05, 2010

An Inconvenient Renewal: Still Relevant?

"An Inconvenient Renewal: Are Managers Ready to Change the Way They Manage?" is three years old today!

The paper's website has received 4,492 visitors since November 5, 2007 (an imperfect measure, I acknowledge), not counting those who came across the document in some other fashion. That's about 2% of the federal public service.

But is the topic still relevant? I would like to hear your thoughts...

10 comments:

C.J. said...

Just above this article on my RSS feed was another post in the SvN (signal v. noise) feed:

"You can’t improve a design when you’re emotionally attached to past decisions..."

I thought it was fitting considering the subtext "Are Managers Ready to Change the Way they Manage?"

George Wenzel said...

It's absolutely still relevant, and will be for many years to come.

Why do I say that? Because when I first read it I was a disillusioned and bitter public servant who wondered what it would take for management to change in a massive bureaucratic organization tied more to blind policy-following than good treatment of its human resources.

Fast-forward to today. Now I'm a newly-minted public service manager. I manage people as part of my day-to-day responsibilities, and need to balance results with developing a team and doing "people management". Many of the concepts in An Inconvenient Renewal are ones that I refer back to, and they help to guide my approach to day-to-day issues in the workplace.

An Inconvenient Renewal is hugely relevant, because it speaks to those of us who will be the managers of tomorrow's public service. The current management might not be paying attention, but those of us working our way upward certainly are. Pioneers like Etienne help to make innovative management less of a fringe activity and more of a norm.

Craig said...

I agree with George.

It is a reference manual for the new public service manager and is nowhere near ubiquitous enough.

Even in the perfect ending where every PS Manager does everything perfectly, they still need a reminder of where policy-vision inevitably leads.

There is still work to be done and it is good to have you back Etienne!

Asif Devji said...

I think the paper remains relevant as long as PS Renewal remains 'inconvenient' for managers.

ThinkTankSquare said...

More relevant as the content is slowly beginning to be understood by a few (step 1 in a long process). This is the work of a few life times and for each and everyone of us, it is the teaching of patience and strategy.

Unknown said...

Yes Etienne,

Now more than ever.

Facing a resizing of the federal public service is only going to create more pressure than ever to rely on top down policy.

Like a recurring theme we are moving forward with some plan developed in Ottawa and more or less out of touch with the operational end of the public service. We are now in the process of reshaping and resizing Public Service organizations and the original intent of the Public Service Modernization Act and Public Service Renewal is being completely lost. From everything I have come to understand about of a top down approach (the flaw in the thinking) I believe we have missed the proverbial boat on PS Renewal. As we struggle to engage front line employees in contributing to realignment of resources and streamlining of processes to in the face of a shrinking Federal Public Service to yes, maximize efficiency and develop economies, we are completely forgetting about Canadians. Those we serve. When are we going to engage Canadians, who in a struggling economy are going to rely more than ever on the federal public service, in the discussion? How will Canadians inform the change and who should we really rely to provide the measure of success?
My personal satisfaction as a public servant will not turn on whether or not my direct manager is good or bad. It won't hinge on the policy box I am told to live in or the terrible waste I encounter as a result of how we do business. It is directly linked to the services I provide to Canadians and to my role as a front line employee. I have linked my personal satisfaction in this way despite the top down approach not because of it. So please, let's all think outside the box, but don't forget to when considering PS Renewal check the "thinking outside the box policy".

And oh yes, ordinary Canadians, those of you for which we exist. Don't worry we will arrive at a cost effective solution soon. At least for those of you who are sufficiently affluent enough that you won't need us. When the sign says out of service what we really should be saying is we are out to lunch.

Unknown said...

Yes Etienne,

Now more than ever.

Facing a resizing of the federal public service is only going to create more pressure than ever to rely on top down policy.

Like a recurring theme we are moving forward with some plan developed in Ottawa and more or less out of touch with the operational end of the public service. We are now in the process of reshaping and resizing Public Service organizations and the original intent of the Public Service Modernization Act and Public Service Renewal is being completely lost. From everything I have come to understand about of a top down approach (the flaw in the thinking) I believe we have missed the proverbial boat on PS Renewal. As we struggle to engage front line employees in contributing to realignment of resources and streamlining of processes to in the face of a shrinking Federal Public Service to yes, maximize efficiency and develop economies, we are completely forgetting about Canadians. Those we serve. When are we going to engage Canadians, who in a struggling economy are going to rely more than ever on the federal public service, in the discussion? How will Canadians inform the change and who should we really rely to provide the measure of success?
My personal satisfaction as a public servant will not turn on whether or not my direct manager is good or bad. It won't hinge on the policy box I am told to live in or the terrible waste I encounter as a result of how we do business. It is directly linked to the services I provide to Canadians and to my role as a front line employee. I have linked my personal satisfaction in this way despite the top down approach not because of it. So please, let's all think outside the box, but don't forget to when considering PS Renewal check the "thinking outside the box policy".

And oh yes, ordinary Canadians, those of you for which we exist. Don't worry we will arrive at a cost effective solution soon. At least for those of you who are sufficiently affluent enough that you won't need us. When the sign says out of service what we really should be saying is we are out to lunch.

Unknown said...

Yes Etienne,

Now more than ever.

Facing a resizing of the federal public service is only going to create more pressure than ever to rely on top down policy.

Like a recurring theme we are moving forward with some plan developed in Ottawa and more or less out of touch with the operational end of the public service. We are now in the process of reshaping and resizing Public Service organizations and the original intent of the Public Service Modernization Act and Public Service Renewal is being completely lost. From everything I have come to understand about of a top down approach (the flaw in the thinking) I believe we have missed the proverbial boat on PS Renewal. As we struggle to engage front line employees in contributing to realignment of resources and streamlining of processes to in the face of a shrinking Federal Public Service to yes, maximize efficiency and develop economies, we are completely forgetting about Canadians. Those we serve. When are we going to engage Canadians, who in a struggling economy are going to rely more than ever on the federal public service, in the discussion? How will Canadians inform the change and who should we really rely to provide the measure of success?
My personal satisfaction as a public servant will not turn on whether or not my direct manager is good or bad. It won't hinge on the policy box I am told to live in or the terrible waste I encounter as a result of how we do business. It is directly linked to the services I provide to Canadians and to my role as a front line employee. I have linked my personal satisfaction in this way despite the top down approach not because of it. So please, let's all think outside the box, but don't forget to when considering PS Renewal check the "thinking outside the box policy".

And oh yes, ordinary Canadians, those of you for which we exist. Don't worry we will arrive at a cost effective solution soon. At least for those of you who are sufficiently affluent enough that you won't need us. When the sign says out of service what we really should be saying is we are out to lunch.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have a look at the creation of Shared Services Canada and the Deficit Reduction Action Plan and how public service senior managers are responding to these.

Anonymous said...

Public Service Senior managers will receive bonuses to lay off the very public servants they are incapable of managing as the majority of senior managers in the Canadian Public Service were promoted to their positions via poor recruitment practices and they do no possess the skills or knowledge to occupy the positions they have. This is most true in IMIT in government.