Friday, December 12, 2008

CPSRenewal Weekly: Scheming Virtuously

Fellow Public Servants,

Mike and I have been working on producing a paper that reaches beyond the typical weekly column. We started back in September and have finally concluded. In this, our last weekly column before the holiday season, we would like to share it with you and ask you to share it with others.

The paper, entitled, Scheming Virtuously: A Handbook for Public Servants is meant to help public servants find ways to get involved and be innovative within the public service – to build a culture of stewardship within the public service. In short, it is another tool for those of us looking for or working towards renewal.

This publication is prefaced with a mandatory disclaimer, which for clarity I will reiterate explicitly here prior to linking to the document:

“Yes, we are federal public servants; however this paper is not sponsored or endorsed by the Public Service of Canada.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Public Service of Canada, its Departments and/or Agencies, or their employees.

We have put this guide together in the spirit of the Clerk of the Privy Council’s call to get involved in Public Service renewal, and our own struggles with figuring out how we can actually do it.

In the spirit of what we’re presenting here, this paper is the result of our own virtuous scheming. This document has been a long work in progress, made even longer by the fact that, strictly speaking, the production of this paper doesn’t form any part of our actual work duties.

For the record, this document routinely took a backseat to our substantive work, and never the other way around.”

That being said, you can download the PDF here (easier for printing and circulating via email) or, more interestingly, you can read and edit the document on GCPEDIA here.

We would like to encourage you all to read the document and supplement the “Hints” subsections within the GCPEDIA article. We are specifically looking for more concrete ways to build renewal from the ground up.

Well that's it for us here at cpsrenewal.ca until the new year. We are looking forward to your feedback about SV, and as always, feel free to drop us a line any time.

One last note, while there may not be anymore posts until the new year, keep an eye on my twitter stream, I will use it to share links that may be of interest over the holidays.

Cheers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Round Up: December 9th

Suggested Reading

1. David Eaves blogged a great piece on why StatCan is (or could be) like Google. Here is a taste:

The other week I gave a talk on Gen Y, Gen X, Technology and the Future of the Public Service at StatCan’s manager’s meeting. The speaker before me apparently told the gathering that they “should be more like Google” if they want to recruit young talent. During his Q&A one of the managers asked how a government agency be like Google (a legitimate question I thought) and the speaker didn’t have much to say. Frustrating, no?

Definitely.

But I think there is a good case. While the idea of StatCan emulating one of the best performing, young, hottest companies in Silicon Valley may sound far fetched, it needn’t. StatCan can be like Google. In fact, it already is.


2. The President of the National Council of Visible Minorities in the Federal Public Service gave the following address linking public service renewal and employment equity. It is very interesting (to me at least!) given my passion for renewal and the fact that my first job in government was in the area responsible for the Employment Equity Act.


3.Why You Need to Be a Happier Manager c/o Harvard Business Publishing.

Comments on this Blog

First we got a comment from mgifford:

Would be treat to see more acknowledgment about the use of MediaWiki for this collaboration mechanism. I posted the following earlier this week.
The post mgifford links to in the comment above highlights the fact that in creating gcpedia/nrcan wiki the government has deployed an open source technology and that this fact is a very important and oft overlooked one. Go ahead and take a look, there are some other articles of interest there as well (In fact, just added their RSS to my Google Reader).



We also got a comment from KP who opined:

Nick/Mike, I say GET ON WITH IT...what are you waiting for? I find that, as usual, you tend to put your obstacles at the feet of the senior management (i.e. we are not that bright or adept when it comes to WEB 2.0) rather than forge ahead on your own. I'm a DG and I launched into GCPEDIA the day it was announced! Check out my page under users, Katherine Parker, and under projects, Prospectors and Developers Association....this is an inter-departmental wiki site for several departments at the senior management level. So no more excuses okay?


I have several thoughts. First, let me assure you that we are indeed doing our best to "get on with it" and "forg[ing] ahead". Both Mike and I have user pages on GCPEDIA (we even have permalinks to them on the right hand bar of the main page); and we are planning something for this Friday takes our unofficial contributions to the renewal fora to a new level.

Second, the purpose of the column we wrote last week was to try to shed light on the types of conversations that are now occuring around the GoC in light of GCPEDIA's launch. I have been working hard in my own official role to push towards incorporating GCPEDIA and have been met with many challenges along the way. I know that may seem vague, and I am not trying to skirt the issue but this blog is simply not the platform for me to comment on my official GoC duties.

Finally, there are a lot of contributing factors that allow (or restrict) public servants from making contributions to GCPEDIA. For example, being a DG or working at NRCan may provide you with a greater level of freedom then people at other levels or in other departments. Maybe it affords you less, I don't know. The point is that it is typically easier said then done. Colloquially speaking, I had a DG ask what Wikipedia was the other day, the variance in experiences and acceptance across the GoC is a major hindrance to GCPEDIA, which is why we advocated some high level communication encouraging people to check it out and engage.

Again, stay tuned for Friday's column.




Friday, December 5, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: Running the IT/IM and Work Culture Gamut

Some of this may sound familiar, but it is a discussion that is happening all over the public service right now. The first part is a mix between new information and some recycled content from a previous weekly, so bear with me if some of this seems repetitive.

The Speech from the Throne

When it comes to information and knowledge management, many departments face a number of interconnected challenges surrounding human resources, information technology, siloed activities and siloed culture.

I mentioned in passing last week that I found it encouraging that the recent Speech from the Throne (SFT) offers public servants the opportunity to implement measures that will allow them to work more effectively and streamline the way they do business. More specifically:

Part of a solid economic and fiscal foundation is the sound management of government. To make Canada’s national government more effective, our Government is committed to reform and streamline the way it does business.

Our Government will pursue innovative reforms to the administration of programs and services, drawing on the successful experiences of other governments around the world. It will build partnerships with third parties and the private sector to deliver better services at a lower overall cost.


I think that these statements are the most important ones from the SFT for anyone in the field of Information Management (IM), Information Technology (IT) or at their confluence (IM/IT). It may also be the most important statements for Gen Y public servants or anyone looking at recruitment, retention and renewal strategies.


The Challenges

As a member of Gen Y, I can attest to the fact that we have grown alongside IT. We remember when the web was entirely text-based, what it was like to wait more than a few seconds to download a single still image, and a time when ‘Google’ wasn’t a verb. We have seen the exponentially increasing rate at which information can be found, managed, packaged, repackaged and shared. We have also seen the similar growth in the breadth and depth of the tools and services with which we manipulate this information. For us, ubiquitous access to information is now the norm.

Herein lies the challenge: the IM/IT infrastructure of our workplaces simply cannot satiate our technological customs. Outside of the workplace, we continue to live our entire lives being able to appropriate new technologies as they emerge. We organize our lives in such a way that technology blends seamlessly into it. Yet, at work we are forced to do things the way we used to do them 5 to 10 years ago.

We are stuck using outdated operating systems; using antiquated tailor-made applications and unintuitive interfaces; we can’t install our own software applications; we lack the physical capacity to view streaming media; and we are routinely frustrated by filters that limit our access to legitimate information.

In short, our use of technology at work is completely counter-intuitive to our use of it everywhere else. I can’t help but wonder how much of the problem stems from an inability to provide the physical capacity and how much of it stems from an inability to trust the end user to act responsibly with their IT resources.

New Hope – But Questions Abound

There are a number of us out there in the public service working towards better practices in IT/IM across departments. One only needs to look at the Government 2.0 Best Practices Wiki to find out exactly who these people are, and what they are doing.

I know that we have written extensively on GCPEDIA already but it represents one of these new hopes. Yet, it also raises a very big question – one that came out in a number of conversations I recently engaged in at a wiki-workshop at NRCan. Namely, if Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) already built this, should we build our own, or simply leverage what is already there?

To that I say two things. The first is that I am pleased that we are no longer stuck on the question of if we should do it, but rather have progressed to the question on how we should do it. The second is that your choice of how to proceed is really based on the depth of your vision and your evaluation of the risk.

For example, if departments choose to implement their own wikis they are working to break the siloed culture within their own departments, but if they choose to leverage GCPEDIA then they are showing others that they are ready to blow not only their internal silos, but also interdepartmental silos, out of the water. Obviously, my preferred option is the latter, whereby public servants mobilize across all departments and allow the maximum amount of participation while minimizing the duplication.

The Lack of an Official Communication

People I speak with are also worried about how they will be perceived for using GCPEDIA. Given that TBS is not actively marketing the use of GCPEDIA, many public servants don’t even know it exists, so people who do know don’t feel safe using it. Instead they fear being scolded for ‘playing around’ on the internet when what they are actually doing is working with a legitimate work tool provided by a central agency (as long as they are using the tool properly).

So what are the departmental policies around using GCPEDIA? What? Aside from those set out by TBS itself, no department has any? (At least to my knowledge – correct me if I am wrong)

Alright … but do they need any?

Do I need an approval to engage in GCPEDIA? Do I need an approval for every article I create there?

Well if we put the question on its head, we could see that since anyone across the government could edit and contribute to the content, having the approval of a senior manager in one department really doesn’t accomplish much other then perhaps ensuring that the content is relevant and that commas are in the right places (in their own view). I think that the preferable option is to have senior managers encourage their staff to engage in GCPEDIA more broadly. An interesting caveat may be to challenge a manager to change the content themselves and offer them the support they need to do so.

For this reason, I believe that some sort of communication needs to be made about the legitimacy of GCPEDIA and its viable uses as a transformative work tool. I understand the need for organic growth and the process of self selection (FYI, Mike and I have self-selected and are planning on inputting something into GCPEDIA in the near future) but there needs to be a high level endorsement of some sort to communicate to senior managers across the public service that this is the future of collaboration and information management within the public service (if that is, in fact, the long term goal of GCPEDIA).

Final Remark

As one of those people who have self-selected to take the (for now) ‘calculated risk’ of engaging in GCPEDIA I can always justify my actions by arguing that the simple fact that TBS has provided this tool for us to use makes its very use legitimate.

Besides, I don’t know about you but I have never asked permission or for approvals to use an application installed on my desktop – Word, Power Point, Outlook, etc – or use the departmental intranet? Nor do I need approvals for documents that are still in draft status – the same status that GCPEDIA affords its articles. If we want a collaborative work culture across the GoC, then we need to start creating a culture where turning to and engaging in GCPEDIA is the norm.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Round Up: December 3

Here are a couple of things that may be of interest:

  1. Federal employees earn more then private workers
  2. PS hiring under fire
  3. Audit finds fault with 14% of top bureaucratic appointments
  4. Failure to Accept Responsibility is a Failure to Lead c/o Havard Business Publishing
Also you may notice that we have added some new ways to get in touch with us on the right hand side of the page, we now have links to both our GCPEDIA and facebook profiles. You can also now follow me on twitter. I am trying to deepen our use of social media to foster discussion on public service renewal. In addition to this, Mike and I would like to do some podcasting or even set up a youtube channel, but we really don't have the time right now.

Cheers... and keep your eye on the Governor General. Interesting times ahead.


Friday, November 28, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: Opinions are like ...

I recently found myself in the situation where I needed some advice vis-à-vis my career. Like anyone in my situation, I found myself turning to my peers.

Everyone I told my story to was more then happy to chip in his or her two cents, and I was happy to collect. But herein lies the problem, what do I do as a relatively new public servant when more experienced public servants give me different or even contradictory advice? In short, I was in a spot where I needed to make a dollar (quickly!) out of what made sense.

It got me thinking back to when I first joined the public service and the problematic nature of career advice for new public servants. Looking back, I think it is an especially precarious field for new public servants to try to navigate. I have said previously that I feel as though there is an implicit and immediate level of trust among new public servants that has yet to manifest between new public servants and their managers.

The result is that new hires are more likely to seek advice from people they consider to be their peers, peers who are not necessarily senior public servants or managers. It is also my experience that the new recruits whom are most in need of the advice that their managers can provide are also the least likely to seek out that advice. This harkens back to the conversation we had a while back about the importance of simple conversations taking place about the public service being more important than the official discourse -- incidentally, something that Mike Kujawski hammered home during his armchair discussion yesterday at the CSPS, but I digress.

I have spoken to many new recruits, and even some of the not-so-new recruits, who have found themselves stuck in precarious positions and now asking me for advice. Their question -- how do you tell your manager, the person responsible for assigning your work, that you aren't being challenged enough, without implying a 'management problem'? -- is pointed, and one that I cannot yet answer with any degree of certainty.

If I had to offer my own advice on taking advice (the irony!), given the title of the post!), I would say that you need to do two things. The first is trust your judgment above that of anyone else. Even if it turns out that you didn't take the best course of action, at least you took it yourself. Call it a learning experience. Second, make sure that whatever you do with the advice you are given, be it following it to the letter or ignoring it completely, make sure you trust your own judgment and make sure that you can live with yourself when it is all said and done. At the very least, I can say that that approach worked for me, in what was a difficult time in my career, albeit for different reasons.

But hey, you should take what I say with a grain of salt, because we all know what opinions are like... hey maybe you could share yours? Where do you go for career advice, how different has that advice been? The irony of asking for even more opinions hasn’t escaped me, but we want to know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Round-Up: November 26

News

  1. No recession in Ottawa
  2. How to land a job in Ottawa
  3. 'Whistleblower' sues PSAC over dismissal
  4. Advisers accuse PSAC of selling out rights claim
  5. A tale of two contracts


Blogs

Etienne has a new domain name, update your RSS feeds accordingly.

Mike Kujawski thinks that Social Media will be hot during the recession. He lists a couple of compelling reasons, reasons that proponents could find support for by leveraging the recent speech from the throne's specific commitment to making government more effective (at least in my opinion):

Part of a solid economic and fiscal foundation is the sound management of government. To make Canada’s national government more effective, our Government is committed to reform and streamline the way it does business.

Our Government will pursue innovative reforms to the administration of programs and services, drawing on the successful experiences of other governments around the world. It will build partnerships with third parties and the private sector to deliver better services at a lower overall cost.

Other

Also, following PSAC's lead, CAPE has tentatively agreed to 6.8% over 4 years.



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Round-Up: November 25

News

My director came by my office and dropped an article for me to read, entitled Digital Diplomacy: New Technologies, New Players . It is about DFAIT's use of Web 2.0 technologies. It's a great read, here is a small excerpt:

All of these initiatives are innovative and worthwhile, but they still fall far short of how opponents of Canadian policies use Web 2.0 technologies to get their messages out.

Here is a response from a fellow public servant to Randall Denley's article - Unions need to wake up to the reality of today's economy - that we linked to yesterday.

Regardless of where you sit on the issue, here is a small selection of the press coverage around PSAC's acceptance of the 6.8% over 4 years:

  1. Economic woes temper public-sector wage demands
  2. Federal employees agree to 'tough times' wage deal
  3. Biggest government union trades money for job security

Apparently the Clerk of the Privy Council may be moving onto a diplomatic position, more info c/o the Toronto Star.

Blogs

Etienne has another hope filled post on his blog worth reading.


Happy Tuesday Everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Round-Up: November 24th

Things inside the GoC

  1. PCO put up a power point presentation from a PS Recruitment fair.
  2. The fall edition of Its my day is up and running.
  3. You probably want to read the speech from the throne if you haven't already. Here is the relevant snippet on Public Service Renewal:
The Public Service of Canada is a key national institution. Public servants inspect our food and police our borders. They deliver programs and services to millions of Canadians in every region of this country, from our largest cities to the most remote Arctic communities. Drawing on the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service, our Government is committed to the continued renewal of the Public Service.

News
  1. Don't ignore value of digital generation
  2. PS faces forced wage controls
  3. Ottawa public servants face stagnant wages, fewer colleagues
  4. Unions need to wake up to the reality of today's economy
  5. How clerk's job moved to the centre of power
  6. Federal public service faces challenge of renewal
  7. Civil service hiring outlook remains healthy

Blogs
  1. What's the Fuss Over Leadership? c/o Etienne
  2. On-the-Spot Job Offers: Real Solution or Quick Fix? (c/o Etienne - we really like this one!)
  3. For What it's Worth c/o Paul Crookall @ CGEM. (I was also @ the Osbaldeston Lecture, I hope to provide my reaction in the future, but in the interim you can get the flavour of the lecture from Paul's blog posting.)

Interesting Armchairs being offered @ CSPS

  1. Depression Was Not Part of my Career plan (EN/FR)
  2. Bottom Up Change: It Starts with an Individual (EN/FR) (by our Friend Etienne Laliberté)
  3. Government Blogging - Best Practices and Tips for Success (by our friend Mike Kujawski)

Other things of interest
  1. 10 Ways to Make Office Slacker Pull His Weight

Friday, November 21, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: An Interview with a GCPEDIA Wiki-gnome

As we mentioned earlier, we requested some information from the good people at Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) regarding GCPEDIA. Here are our questions [CPSR], followed by TBS's answers [Laura@TBS]

[CPSR]: How is GCPEDIA being used by people at TBS right now?

[Laura@TBS]: I cannot speak for the whole department but I can, however, give you some examples of how my group has used the wiki. I work in the Information Management Division, Chief Information Officer Branch (CIOB) at TBS so to start we have used the wiki to set up collaborative spaces for all of our committees (e.g. on Information Management Policy and Management Accountability Framework) as well as some of our discussion forums. We plan to use this tool as we collaborate on documentation and to foster discussions. This tool is enabling our committee and forum members to collaboratively comment and change documents on the most updated copy.

TBS has used its own departmental wiki as a proof of concept before moving forward with the larger scale government-wide wiki - GCPEDIA. Over the last year, we have used TBS Wiki to do some really awesome collaboration. For example, TBS is currently implementing a change initiative and we were able to use the TBS Wiki to foster an employee collaboration process. All employees were encouraged to use the TBS Wiki to post ideas and vote on potential options for how CIOB could change. The wiki also allowed everyone in CIOB to stay up-to-date on what the Change Group was doing.

But really, this is SO much more than just what TBS is doing on the wiki. We need to be talking about what everyone is doing (or could be doing) using GCPEDIA. This is a Government of Canada wiki so I think I would encourage every public servant to go and check out GCPEDIA - www.gcpedia.gc.ca and see what’s happening!

[CPSR]: How frequently is information being accessed?

[Laura@TBS]: It’s hard to say exactly how frequently the information is being accessed; a little less than a week ago Ken Cochrane spoke about GCPEDIA at GTEC 2008 and since then, the traffic has been growing exponentially. Right now we have 654 registered users (by the time I finish writing this message to you we will probably be at over 700 users). We have over 1,000 pages of content and it’s growing very quickly.

It’s so much more than how many “hits” we’ve received, how many people are visiting, or what information is being accessed. It’s about how many edits have been made, how many pages of content have been created, or more importantly is how are we are working together and collaborating.

[CPSR]: How has it affected internal communications and work place culture since its inception?

[Laura@TBS]: I think it’s way too early to tell. I like to think it’s starting to open things up. I love to believe that this is moving us from a culture of need to know to one of need to share. I have very high hopes!

How should users approach content generation, specifically in cases where information is already found on departmental intranet or internet sites. (e.g. departmental mandates, Acts of Parliament, etc.)

GCPEDIA should always link to information available at another location e.g. information that can be found on a departmental internet site. However if information is behind a firewall (i.e. intranet site) and you believe it could be of use to people outside your department, we strongly encourage you to put it on the wiki. That being said we are all responsible to consider security implications before posting information. We cannot post confidential material on internal sites that is above the security level of the site.

Although one of the coolest tools I’ve seen the Government of Canada come out with recently, GCPEDIA is not a replacement for a departmental Internet or Intranet site – more like a close partner.

It does one thing really well – wiki collaboration.

[CPSR]: How will GCPEDIA impact departmental intranet sites? (and other departmental Wiki's like NRCan)

[Laura@TBS]: GCPEDIA is an evolving platform for online collaboration and has the possibility to evolve into many different things. As we see how things evolve we will be in a better position to say how it will affect departmental intranet and wiki sites.

[CPSR]: How is GCPEDIA being marketed to public servants and encourage their participation?

[Laura@TBS]: Since this is a community-driven tool, we are using word of mouth as our primary marketing tool. We also have a base of people in TBS ready and willing to give presentations for those who are interested in what the wiki is and how they can use GCPEDIA.

I think it’s an idea with so much potential it might just sell itself!

[CPSR]: Thank you so much for your time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Round-Up: November 18

Here are some links that may be of interest:

c/o Ottawa Citizen

  1. Government assets could be sold to balance budget, Flaherty says

Here is the snippet you probably want to know about:

Mr. Flaherty also said the government is looking at controlling the rate of growth in the salaries of public servants, and is continuing a strategic review of expenditures at all government departments.

c/o Havard Business Publishing

  1. What leaders need to do right to move up
  2. Confessions of an unrepentant BlackBerry addict

Friday, November 14, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: Plan B

My apologies to everyone but this week has been quite hectic for me. I started a new job this week (which added to my commute!) and Remembrance Day took its toll on my home life (my brother-in-law is currently deployed in Afghanistan). Mike and I have also been working on a discussion paper we hope to share with you shortly. To Mike's credit, the ball is back in my court.

Given that we've been busy, we planned on cheating a little bit with this week's column. We were planning on sharing responses to some questions we put to TBS about GCPEDIA, but have yet to receive them back.

So here goes Plan B

I was watching the Agenda with Steve Paikin on Monday and Darin Barney made a great comment about technology and the mobilization of people in the context of the Barack Obama presidential campaign. I have cut specific references about Obama and the US so it fits within the context of public service renewal.

It is important to keep in mind that [it] used emerging technologies to great effect but it didn't succeed in mobilizing an unprecedented number of young [people] because it used facebook and youtube. It succeeded, I think because it offered young [people] something they haven't had for a long time ... substantial positions they could be enthusiastic about, a sense of tremendous stakes and opportunity... a chance to say something real about the kind of country they wanted to live in. It’s this that moved them, not facebook and youtube, even though that may have been the means for communicating that message... I think it is very important to understand that we may be selling young people short if we think we can engage them simply by connecting with them via the new technologies they happen to use.

At it’s core, Barney’s statement emphasises the importance of how technology is used over the simple fact that technology is used. Facebook, youtube, and social media are all just vehicles. The message, and what people do with it, is still paramount.

It has been widely documented, and should be fairly obvious by now, that young people are mobilized electronically more than ever before. Facebook, youtube, blogs… web 2.0 is simply a fact of life for young people. Barney is correct when he asserts that thinking that any entity can engage the interests of young people simply by having a presence on these sites is selling them short.

I fear that government departments may be too eager to deploy web 2.0 solutions to show potential recruits that government ‘gets it’: they’re innovative, ready to communicate and to work with you on your terms. But therein lies the oversight that Barney points out. Simply putting up a page or an ad on facebook or an ad on youtube without the means to actively engage them is unlikely to have any substantial effect.

Even something as simple as an interactive webcast with a Deputy Minister on PS renewal, followed up by an dedicated intranet forum on and an invitation to explore ways to get involved within my own department has, last I checked, been met with very little uptake.

I can’t help but feel for people like Etienne who have made incredible efforts in terms of bringing something to people in a method that they can engage in it. Truth be told, I am as guilty as others are in terms of consuming the knowledge he is sharing without actively contributing to it. I think his frustration is understandable and warranted, but I also think that one of his original premises – bottom-up renewal – is as valid today as the day that he first employed it.

Deploying the technology is simple (recall the people, process, technology problem), mobilizing people is the truly difficult part). The web (and thus web 2.0 technologies) allow us (those interested) to share information across the public service, but I think (at least my experience has led me to think) that the most effective place that public servants can make organizational and cultural change is in their own department (at least for now)… again I think this is where something like GCPEDIA can play an enormous role. Moreover, those of us working in areas of Knowledge Management, Planning and Exchange (did I mention I have a new job now, guess in what area?) have a responsibility to start actively collaborating better and facilitating the collaboration of others.

I am really interested in what you all think about this? What do you think about the relationship between technology and engagement? Is the public service too caught up in an if you build it they will come approach to web 2.0 technologies?

We are interested in hearing comments from users, implementers, practitioners and target group members (or anyone else we may have missed).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Round-Up: 'bout time.

Like I said, a lot has crossed my desk these past few weeks. Hopefully this post captures most of it. Yes this post is rushed ... sorry but rushed updates are better then no updates!


Blogs


Etienne has started posting the results of his unofficial survey on PS Renewal:

1. Challenges of Conducting the survey
2. Access to Web 2.0 and PS Renewal related websites
3. Interest and Usefulness of PS Renewal related websites
4. Getting Involved in PS Renewal
5. Ideas on How to Get Involved

We also wanted to wish AIR a happy anniversary. Btw since drafting this update his blog has seen a slew of new posts – go check it out.

Over the course of his posts Etienne mentioned that:

The figures are better for my friends at CPSRenewal.ca who, despite the fact they use the same platform as I do (Blogger), are able to be reached by an additional 25% of public servants (that means 65,000 more people!). That is a relief, since I think their blog is the single best source of news on PS Renewal. But why is my blog blocked more than their's? I don't know...


The reason that our blog is more accessible then Etienne's is that we registered a unique domain name that doesn't end in ".blogspot.com". Our reasoning (dictated to us by our experience) was that the blogspot domain was routinely blocked by internal firewalls while a unique URL was more likely to reach more of our colleagues. The result was our deliberate purchasing (with our own funds) a domain name to use.

In other blognews GCPEDIA has been garnering some coverage in the blogosphere (outside our own coverage of course). Check out these posts at Spaghetti Testing and SoSaidThe.Org respectively.


2008 Public Service Employee Survey

You should be getting or already gotten a link and an access code in order to complete the 2008 PSES. More information can be found on their website. It goes without saying that this is a good opportunity for you to participate.


Opportunities for Public Servants Abroad

Interested in working in Afghanistan as a Public Servant? Check out this webpage.


News


The Ottawa Citizen published an article called Rise of the Public Sector. Here is the snippet on renewal:

... efforts at public sector renewal should continue and be more widely publicized. In Ottawa, the Privy Council has been leading a reform and renewal effort on the grounds that a well-functioning public sector is crucial to our competitive performance, and that argument will now resonate much more than it has in the past. Slogans that might have seemed pretentious or empty in the recent past -- being the "best employer in the country" -- now have a chance of being given a fair hearing. People who might have aimed at a corporate career may now see some attractions to working in a sector that is, on the whole, untainted by "greed" and now clearly responsible for the well-being of both the economy and society.

I also came across an article entitled The public service must lead change out of Atlantic Canada.


A cool new space for civic-minded young Canadians?


[h/t to Robin for sharing this with us. Here is an email from someone from PPF looking to start an initiative targetted at youth.]

From: Vinod Rajasekaran [mailto:vinod.rajasekaran@ppforum.ca]
Subject: PPX : a cool new space for civic-minded young Canadians

Hi!

My name is Vinod and I am a Research Associate with the Public Policy Forum (PPF). I thought you’d be interested to know that the PPF is starting up a new venture called PPX that is focused on engaging young Canadians – PPX is youth-designed and youth-led.

So, what is PPX?

It is a new kind of space that brings together young Canadians from all fields and sectors to learn about, inform, mingle, collaborate on, influence, and discuss issues that matter to Canada and the world.

Why are we doing it?

Young Canadians care about their communities. But traditional ways of engagement do not respect or reflect the ways in which they organize themselves, interact, and hope to influence. Public issues need to be seen as relevant and worth participating in.

What will we do together?

Using a mixture of web 2.0 stuff (blogging, texting, Facebook, etc.) and events (cappuccino sessions, lectures, dinners, etc.) in new and creative settings, we will generate approaches to tackle issues affecting Canada and the world, strengthen relationships between young professionals and Baby Boomer executives, increase collaboration between the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, and reinvigorate public debate.

We don’t have a website just yet, but do have a Facebook page where we have discussions, post events, and share ideas. I invite you to check it out and join the group.

Also…the first PPX project is a workshop on retaining young talent. A few words about it: Lately, attracting and retaining young talent has become a challenge for businesses, NGOs, and the public service. To help address this issue, organizations need to better understand the values, interests and priorities of Gen Y on the nature of work and the workplace. While some studies by HR experts exist, rarely has an opportunity been created to bring together Gen Ys, who are the workforce of the future, to develop recommendations.

This workshop is still in conceptual stage but, if you have any ideas or thoughts, feel free to email me!

Here is the link to PPX Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=43065177400&ref=share


Thanks and look forward to hearing from you on PPX!

Cheers,


Vinod Rajasekaran
Research Associate / Associé à la recherche
Public Policy Forum / Forum des politiques publiques
1405 - 130 rue Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 5G4
Tel/Tél 613 238 7858 x 230
Fax/Téléc 613 238 7990
Vinod.Rajasekaran@ppforum.ca

Friday, November 7, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: Too Busy Dodging Alligators to Drain the Swamp?

I have to level with you; I am pretty excited about GCPEDIA, and the tag line, People & Knowledge is a great fit. At the time of drafting this weekly column, there are 688 users and 1,003 articles.

People, Process, and Technology

I sat in on an IT Modernization Workshop this week (completely unrelated to GCPEDIA), and the facilitator said something that really struck me. He said that what we were engaging in wasn’t really a discussion on IT modernization per se, but a discussion on IT enabled business modernization. Below is my adaptation of what he shared with the group.

Organizations that succeed in modernizing their IT solutions are the ones who modernize their business delivery models as well. There are three elements that need to be addressed (in order) when undertaking IT enabled business modernization:

  1. People do the work, so they have to be on board. People can be sticky: they get accustomed to doing things a certain way, and they can be proprietary. Changing old habits is incredibly difficult. Typically, people account for 70% of the problems that arise during IT modernization.
  2. Process is simply the chain of actions that create results. Process usually accounts for 20% of the problems during modernization.
  3. Technology is the enabler. It comes into play once people and process are aligned. Technical solutions typically only accounts for 5% of the problems during modernization projects.

It is no surprise that the sticking point is people. I think convincing people to use and create content for GCPEDIA will be the most difficult part of rolling out this type of initiative.

As Etienne pointed out in one of his more recent posts “[online] user participation often more or less follows a 90-9-1 rule:

  • 90% of users are lurkers (i.e., those that read or observe, but don't or very rarely contribute);
  • 9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time;
  • 1% of users are active participants and account for the majority of content.

Couple the 90-9-1 rule with public service culture and what do we get? Well only time will tell, but given the potential that I think GCPEDIA has for the future, I think there should be people creating content or facilitating content creation as a part of their full time jobs. I can tell you this much – I am moving my substantive position into an area where I deal primarily with knowledge management. My first order of business is to bring GCPEDIA to the attention of my managers and initiate discussions about how we can leverage it to better manage our own knowledge and share it with our colleagues from outside our department.

A Tremendous Opportunity

Truth be told, I was in the midst of creating my own personal wiki on a USB stick (using portable applications). Once it was completed, I was planning on unveiling it to Senior Management as a better way to manage the transition between Ministers, increase collaboration, and retain corporate knowledge.

However, as I said, I am moving into a new area so those wheels have ground to a halt. In retrospect, given the presence of GCPEDIA, I wonder how departmental initiatives in similar veins would overlap with the admittedly great work that TBS has done with GCPEDIA. I have a lot of questions around how GCPEDIA is impacting, and will continue to impact, internal departmental communications and intranet sites, but those will have to wait for another day. My interim conclusion is that GCPEDIA represents a tremendous opportunity for knowledge sharing across the Public Service. Furthermore, it is an opportunity I encourage you all to take.

Getting the Ball Rolling Part I

Having coordinated my departmental briefing book by email and diskettes (ugh!), I know that a wiki could be a better way of doing business, especially when it comes to internal collaboration. I also know for a fact that every federal department in the country just delivered briefing books to their Ministers. So why don’t we drop all of the (non-secret) notes into GCPEDIA?

If you want to create a central repository for knowledge, GCPEDIA seems to be a good place to start. All the notes have ADM and DM approvals and all of them are available in both official languages. I can’t think of a better way for someone to learn more about another government organization (or even their own) than by centralizing all of this information in GCPEDIA. If I were to do this today, I could easily add over 100 articles to GCPEDIA - an increase in the current article count of 10%!

While this little suggestion seems entirely tangible to me, I think that this type of push is something that needs to come from the central agencies. A collaborative call to open up our briefing books (again, minus the secret material) made by both TBS and PCO could go a long way towards creating useful wiki content, a lot further then this blog’s recommendation anyways.

My only fear about GCPEDIA was summed up nicely at the IT Modernization workshop. When asked about how we were proceeding with IT Modernization, one participant aptly responded: “We will be too busy dodging alligators to drain the swamp”. What he meant to express was his worry about the operational necessity of the day precluding our ability to address the root causes of our knowledge management problems. Given the depth and speed at which information can be made available, it is imperative that we share knowledge more effectively and efficiently both within and across federal government departments, and I think that GCPEDIA represents a tangible means through which we can start to drain that swamp.

Getting the Ball Rolling Part II

True to the 90-9-1 rule, a very small percentage of people have self-identified as “wiki gnomes” - motivated wiki-savvy public servants. That’s not to say, of course, that many public servants are neither motivated, nor wiki-savvy. As above, it could simply be the case that, despite being eager to drain the swamp, dodging alligators simply takes too much time and effort. But in another case, many might have the concern that management may not allow the level of participation that wiki-gnomes might want to engage in. While there is undoubtedly a discussion underway about how participation can be justified from a number of official standpoints, let’s think about it in a different way.

The concern, and the desire for a solid foot to stand on, though valid, may be slightly misplaced. Rather than justify participation to your manager, see if there’s an opportunity to work with your manager to piece together assignments that integrate content generation into your deliverables.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Quick Note from CPSRenewal.ca

Hi Everyone,

I Just wanted to drop you a quick note saying that we have been very busy these past few weeks, and there has been a lot of things that have caught our eyes that are worth pointing to.

That pointing will most likely have to wait until after this week's weekly column. I simply haven't had the time to pull together a post.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, October 31, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: IM/IT Open Source of Off-the-Shelf?

A couple of days ago, we pointed to this article. The main premise of the article is that economic uncertainties are leading our country into a federal deficit and that Parliament's new budget officer has taken to reviewing one of government's biggest and riskiest capital costs -- large information technology projects.

To be honest I have zero experience with large Information Management / Information Technology (IM/IT) projects on a government-wide scale, so I can't really speak to it with any degree of certainty. However, what I can speak to with greater certainty is the opportunity to reduce costs of IM/IT at a lower – say the program – level. If you want evidence that the sum of small contributions aggregate quickly, I ask you to look into the success of the Barack Obama fundraising campaign.

Perhaps this is a by-product of my own experience with technology (being Gen Y, and all), but my gut reaction is to ask why we aren’t using more open source technologies in government? They are easy to use and do not require licensing. I am told that software licensing costs the Government of Canada approximately $750 per machine, I was also told that that particular network has approximately 65,000 users… and that is a lot of licensing fees.

Conversely, it should be mentioned that procuring new hardware doesn’t mean additional licensing fees for new software if the new hardware replaces the old hardware (e.g. licenses are transferable). The point is that the majority of licensing fees have already been paid and have already been paid over the preceding fiscal years. It should also be mentioned that not all Public Servants are attached to computers, but then again there are usually number of empty workspaces in any given office building with active licenses attached to them.

The only conclusion I can draw here is that determining the potential savings from open source is an extremely daunting task. Therefore, while I am drawn to the idea of moving to open source, I’m unsure as to whether or no it’s the right move.

Lacking the requisite background knowledge, I did what anyone in my shoes would do: turn to the internet. In my search, I stumbled upon a paper out of Bond University entitled Open Source or Off-the-Shelf? Establishing an institutional repository for a small institution. It provides the rationale for the university’s decision to go with an Off-the-Shelf product instead of an open source product and in so doing, lays out a comparative analysis that perhaps we can draw some lessons from.

The paper explains the costs and benefits of the two options, precisely what I’d set out to explore in this column, but what really struck me was a single question in the comparative analysis chart: How does open source sit in the culture of the organization?

Great Question

It is probably the first question that should be asked. Why bother conducting a cost-benefit analysis if the culture doesn’t jive with the change? Sadly, the paper doesn’t explore the issue beyond posing the initial question. This leaves me in the position of simply having to make an experience-based guess. My estimation is that the corporate culture within the GoC has one foot firmly placed in favour of off-the-shelf solutions, while carefully looking for the right place(s) to slowly bring down its other foot on the open source side.

Enter GCPEDIA, the GoC’s new wiki – one of those ‘right places’ that has been carefully being identified as a ‘right place’ to step (Aside: We are planning a more comprehensive response for our next weekly, and to be completely honest, I am quite excited about the opportunity to contribute to GCPEDIA and have already started brainstorming around how exactly to do that in both my official and unofficial duties as a public servant).

At least in the context of GCPEDIA, I think that open source and open culture are poised to be mutually reinforcing. Not only that, but I think that these types of opportunities are set to grow in number, and I hope that those who have advocated for their implementation take full advantage of them. For some reason, the old adage, use it or lose it, comes to mind.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Round-Up: October 29

News

The Federal Government's own Wikipedia (GCPEDIA - only available from behind the firewall) has been mentioned in the main stream media.

Check it out - at first glance it looks pretty good, perhaps we will poke around a little more and put together a weekly column on it for next week (I have already started this week's column).

In the meantime, you could flashback and read our very first weekly column, Public-Wiki-Service? How a Simple Wiki Could Change the Way We Work. We published it back in May, 'nuff said.

Blogs

Etienne has another post that addresses the issue of personal initiatives and official languages (read the comments on his post for my take).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: My Glass Isn't Half Empty. It's Just Too Full of Other Things I'd Rather Be Drinking

Like I said last week, Mike didn't have a chance to vet the column prior to me posting it, but he did check it after the fact. He found it to be equal parts entertaining and poignant, but did take slight issue with being called “a glass half empty kinda guy.” Here's what he had to say (verbatim):

probably the most honest post yet.

And my glass isn't half empty. It's just too full of other things I'd rather be drinking ;)

I thought Mike's comment was not only insightful, but likely representative of most people. We are all (and I mean everyone, not just public servants) working to fill our glasses with more of what we want to be drinking. But allow me to elaborate in case you might be thinking that this column is going to be about talking down the work we do.

I think what we all want is to maximize the amount of space in our respective cups that is filled with our respective liquids of choice. I mentioned previously that I believe that the majority of new public servants are moving away from the concept of work-life balance. Furthermore, I think it is the very metaphor of 'balance' that people are shying away from. Rapid gains in technology permit us a more blended lifestyle re: work and life – what I previously called work-life integration.


If “Balance” Is Out, What Is In?

Keeping with the glass metaphor (my apologies to non-wine drinkers), what's in yours? Red, white, rosé? Is it dry, earthy, or herbaceous? Heady or neutral? How does it finish? Is it smoky, soft or spicy? Etc.

Whether or not you like wine, the underlying point is that each of us holds a uniquely shaped glass. We have our own preferences in terms of what actually fills that glass and just how full we think it should be (or would like it to be) at any given time.

This includes all aspects of our lives, but the prevalence of the “traditional work week” for public servants (at least in terms of hours) makes that particular portion of our glass increasingly important. Personally, one way in which I strive to achieve my optimum balance is by getting involved in extracurricular activity. By this I mean any creative work (i.e. work that aligns strategically with the organizations mandate and/or seeks to improve its work culture) that I undertake that falls outside my required and substantive work.

(NB: Mike had a much different conception of “extracurricular” when he referred to his glass being full of ‘other things he’d rather be drinking’. We all have outside interests, but I want to stick to how this applies within the confines of the traditional work week, and do so in a manner that we can all relate to).

In my brief time in the public service I have noticed that, generally speaking, junior public servants tend to be the ones more actively engaged in extracurricular activities, or at least they require less arm twisting before they are convinced to get involved. This is understandable given the difference in work loads between junior and senior public officials.

Differences in workloads are often combined with differences in time pressures. Generally speaking, time pressures are more keenly felt by senior public servants. I have heard repeatedly, from both junior and senior public servants that time pressures (i.e. short or unreasonable deadlines) tend to result in junior employees being left out of the loop while senior employees are forced (or choose) to keep the work to themselves simply to ensure that the reputation of their unit is kept intact and that they meet their deadlines. The result is that on-the-job learning opportunities for new employees are often lost to the need for expediency (real or otherwise).

If we bring it back to the metaphor of the wine glass, we see that junior public servants, lacking the opportunity to fill their glass with the substance of work, are likely to turn instead to extracurricular activities to fill it, while senior officials are forced to sacrifice their opportunity to engage themselves in extracurricular activities to the necessity of the day.

What we have here is a negative feedback loop: junior public servants are unable to build the requisite experience base because work is withheld, while senior public servants cannot delegate work because junior public servants lack the experience to complete the tasks. The cycle perpetuates itself as new recruits have time to engage in extracurricular activities while senior officials can't. This problem has some interesting implications for approval processes when junior public servants are trying to get approvals from senior ones to implement some of the creative thinking that they have been able to do in their free time (but that is a column for another time).

From what I can tell, this negative feedback loop has adverse effects on both junior and senior public servants. Among other things, time-pressured senior officials are more likely to be agitated easily, have insufficient time to actively manage their employees’ performance and of course to engage themselves in extracurricular creativity.

While less time-pressured junior officials fall victim to a shallow knowledge base (because they lack the depth of exposure to a varied workload), feel underutilized, or come to the false conclusion that light workloads are the de facto modus operandi of public servants.


Let’s All Raise a Glass

The seemingly obvious solution is to find ways to occupy more of the free time of junior public servants while occupying less of the more senior ones. This is something I have little experience with but feel strongly that it will be an increasingly important part of how the culture needs to shift within the public service. Freeing up some time so that bureaucrats of all groups and levels can engage more efficiently in substantive work and in creative thinking should help all of us move closer to a tastier combination in our respective glasses, now that’s something I can drink to.

Cheers!

(Again, my apologies to non-wine drinkers everywhere!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tooting Our Own Horn

We got an email the other day from one of our colleagues that we decided to share (in part and with permission) with the rest of you. Here it is:
I have been reading your blog for the past month or so and have wanted to write you since, but I haven't found the time (a common PS complaint) or the words (my own deficiency) to express what could be summed up in two words: Thank you.

More specifically, thank you for openly discussing the issues and challenges that face the PS as both an entity and as a workforce; for providing your colleagues (in the broadest sense of the word) with interesting articles, links, questions, technologies and possibilities; for questioning, explaining, and exploring what it is we do, how we do it, and why we do it; for making a discussion such as this accessible; and for having the courage of your convictions to post some of the more difficult or negative realities while still believing in the PS and the opportunity that exists (just to name a few).

Thanks - we always love hearing that what we are doing resonates with people. Catch you all later.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Round-Up October 20

News

  1. BC Public Service ranks in the Top 50 employeers in BC (ranked # 4)
  2. Here are the top 100 rankings nationally, all we are saying is have a look.
  3. Hard financial times could mean a freeze on public service hiring.

Other Publications

I came across this interesting read from the OECD: Cultural Change in Government: Promoting a High-Performance Culture.

Here is are a couple of excerpts worth sharing:

(Intro): No organization can remain the same without loosing relevancy in a changing society. Governments are now part of a global movement that has been described by many (Barzelay, 2001; Hood, 2000; Kim and Moon, 2002) as an era of new public management (NPM). Public cynicism and frustration with government have led to many policy developments to provide catalysts for high performance organizations. The current challenge is not to determine whether to change but how to change to increase organizational effectiveness and global competitiveness. In order to respond to such challenges, many organizations attempt to carry out various organizational initiatives. Without an alteration of the fundamental values and expectations of organizations of individuals change remains superficial and short-term in duration. Failed attempts to change often produce cynicism, frustration, loss of trust, and deterioration of morale amongst organization members.

(Culture Change): Human organizations build up tremendous inertia over time, and it takes tremendous initiative and determination to budge them. It takes large amounts of energy for people to shift beliefs, habits, thinking, and rationale away from how things have always been done. Such changes require a long-term commitment and sustained application of time and energy from leadership and the organization (Fitzgerald, 1988). It is also critical that the cultural-change processes are viewed as ongoing, not as a project with an end. Senior leaders should be directly supported by a personal executive coach for at least the first few years of the change process so that they can sustain the commitment and effectiveness in role modelling the new cultural behaviors. It is important to point out that if the leaders do not change, culture will not change (Crane, 2002: 205).

(Creating a High Performance Culture): High-performance organizations also recognize that all employees-both those involved directly in the mission and mission support help create organizational value and that job processes, tools, and mission support arrangements must be tailored to support mission accomplishment. A dedication to continuous learning and improvement can not only help an agency respond to change but also to anticipate change, create new opportunities and pursue a shared vision that is ambitious. Incentives that are result-oriented, citizen-based and realistic are particularly important in steering the workforce and subject to balanced measures that reveal the multiple dimensions of performance. Incentives should be part of a performance management system under which employee performance expectations are aligned with the agency missionstatement, and in which personal accountability for performance is reinforced by both rewards and consequences.

(Practical Application): ... those who lead government reform should persuade and/or communicate with ordinary government employees for better understanding and broader participation. Without such efforts, the simple delivery of reform measures from the top would be too naïve to succeed. [Enter our Blog]

(Conclusion): Cultural change could happen at different levels ranging from visible to invisible levels. A change in process or policy does not necessarily lead to cultural change. Therefore, it is fair to say that real cultural change requires that the organization's members accept the changed behaviors, beliefs, or assumptions and that the change is sustained over a relatively long period of time.



Friday, October 17, 2008

CPSRenewal.ca Weekly: We've Got Nothing, AKA This Is Not A Column.

Loyal readers (if you exist) I just want to let you know that this is not a column... in fact you should just stop reading it right now.

Every week we strive to provide you with material that focuses around a single subject matter.

This week is somewhat different.

It is about 10:30 Thursday night and Mike (and his wife) just left my (and my wife's) place. They came over for dinner and instead of generating a column this week (Mike is on vacation, both from his official and unofficial duties), we simply talked shop over dinner.

It was a refreshing change to our normal interactions and, to be honest, it is a skill that all public servants must master. Given the absence of a formal column this weekend, and the context of this (less formal undertaking) I have a couple of things to share.

First, the inside scoop on our blog. While I tend to write the first drafts of our columns, Mike supplements them substantially, acts as a sounding board, provides in depth editing, and keeps my more radical comments in check. However, if you saw the exchanges between us (before we sanitize them for the blog) you would also notice that he is a glass half empty kinda guy, with a sharp wit whose is quick to point out any irony within the Public Service. We work seamlessly together through the 'interweb' without every having worked together in a formal setting. He is an incredibly valuable part of this collaborative undertaking, and this space wouldn't exist without him.

That being said, we are two very different people with completely different goals in government. In this sense I suppose we are fairly representative of the next generation of Public Servants -- tech savvy, educated and diverse. (FYI, among other things, we are currently working on a deck right now that uses our commonalities and differences to explain the complexity of the "renewal message", I haven't run this by Mike yet, but I would like to call it, What the F**k is Public Service Renewal (Regular readers of the blog should understand the inference).

I suppose it goes without saying that given that this is the 11th hour, and Mike, probably to his chagrin, has not seen this or provided his edits and insights, I really only want to share one thing here today.

At one point our dinner conversation's focus turned to development programs. The general consensus around the table was that once you peel back the "opportunity for promotion without competition" facade of development programs, you quickly realize that tackling the getting promoted without a competition can be more time intensive then simply applying for a competition. Furthermore, once you understand the competitive process, it really isn't that complicated. The cruel irony here is that development programs are generally considered under the rubric of retention strategies. Yet, providing a development program that can easily be bypassed (time-wise) by a competition is actually an impediment to retention, essentially making development programs some sort of quagmire.

Our conversation flowed naturally from the subject of development programs to trying to judge the speed at which we should be trying to climb the corporate ladder. FYI - there was no consensus here. We have different goals, come from different backgrounds, and work for different departments. From our conversations with others, we know that this is a concern for many newer public servants. Furthermore, this is not an issue that can easily be addressed in a very general sense (remember, variance of goals, backgrounds and departments).

Given the demographics, the opportunities for new recruits (competent or otherwise) will most likely come fast and furious. Some will take the quick promotions, some wont.

Here is one scenario...

Those that move up quickly are more likely to bottom out more quickly (i.e. they will not be able to deliver on their responsibilities because they lack the requisite experience base). While those that choose to move more slowly will be less susceptible to bottoming out quickly (i.e. their experience base will be larger and they will have more to draw on). Here's the kicker -- those who choose to move more quickly may be managing those who choose to move more slowly.

Talk about issues ... (remember that is just one scenario ...)

I could go on, but it's late, this isn't a column, and I don't have a good sound board.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Round-Up October 13

I started poking around on BNET Business Network website and found some pretty cool stuff I wanted to point to:

  1. 3 ways to connect with Gen-Y Workers
  2. Kiss your brand goodbye
  3. Gen X is unhappy at work
  4. Are you at war with Generation Y
  5. How to start a mentoring program
  6. The End of Time Based Management
  7. Turbo Charge Meetings
  8. Encourage Excellent Performance

Mike Kujawski has set up a GoC Best Practices Wiki. Mike also has some upcoming armchair discussions at CSPS.

Chamika sent me this timely article that prompted me add another feed to my RSS: Invert the Management Pyramid

Brigitte, in Atlantic Canada pointed our attention to this wiki ... yes, apparently the GoC has a wiki (still a "proof of concept") but there nonetheless.

Event

There is an IABC/Ottawa Speaker Series featuring Mark Blevis and his insights about the return on influence.

Where/When:

The Code Factory at 246 Queen Street from 5 to 7 pm on Thursday, Oct. 16.

Description:

The digital age of communications and public relations has resulted in organizations being able to more easily and more affordably reach and engage with their target audiences -- internal and external.

Mark will examine some real life impacts of social media in action and inaction, discuss the rules of engagement associated with the trust economy, and suggest ways in which digital communications can be used for outreach and relationship building.

More Info/Register.




Friday, October 10, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: Try Our 12 Step Program

If you know me beyond the blogosphere you may know that my resolve to remain an active player in the renewal puzzle was recently challenged. While this blog provides neither the time nor the place to tackle my personal issues, I thought it would be fun to try to renew my own commitment to renewal by creating the equivalent of a 12-step program.

12 Step Program for (re)engaging in Public Service Renewal (applicable to all groups and levels)

1. Admit you are not powerless over renewal.

2. Believe that working in the Public Service, as something greater than yourself, could help you achieve a meaningful living.

3. Decide to turn your attention and skills over to the Public Service and to the care of your fellow Public Servants.

4. Take stock of your character.

5. Admit to your group, to yourself and to your manager the exact nature of your needs.

6. Be entirely ready to demonstrate your commitment to the Public Service by ameliorating yourself.

7. Humbly ask for help from others whenever required.

8. Distinguish sense from nonsense whenever possible.

9. Keep a list of everything you determine to be nonsense.

10. Work to make sense of the nonsensical, but learn from others and pick your battles.

11. Through hard work and experience, seek to improve your awareness the Public Service and build your knowledge of right and wrong and the strength to follow that knowledge.

12. Renew yourself prior to making demands on others or on the organization to do it for you. Carry this message to Public Servants and practice these principles in all your work endeavours.


Let us know – what do these steps mean to you? Do you have a thirteenth (or fourteenth, fifteenth…step)?

Have a great (long!) Thanksgiving weekend.



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Round-Up: October 8

News

Here is an article about public servant pressure. [h/t to Chamika]

The EX's column.

Here is some neat info, apparently the Ontario Public Service is recruiting on Second Life.

Blogs

Etienne talks straight about straight talk and points to Gilles Paquet's and Ruth Hubbard's publication Cats Eyes (which if you recall I sat as a panelist with Gilles Paquet at an HRSDC knowledge talk a little while back), I encourage you to read the article and my speaking notes from the panel.


Call to Action

As always we want to hear from you, please feel free to leave a comment on any of our posts (we love reading them) or send us an email (you will always get one back from us).


Monday, October 6, 2008

Round-Up October 6

Here is a small editorial from the Sault Star entitled, No need to clam up.

Jessica McDonald, BC's Premier Gordon Campbell's deputy minister and head of the public service gave an interview to the Vancouver Sun. Here is a great excerpt:

"The new generation of workers is less interested in a career with one organization for their whole career than they have been in the past," she said.

"We need to grab hold of these employees in their first year and let them design their career path, rather than just assuming -- the way it was in the past -- that where they started is where they want to be out into the long term."

To really change, she said, the public service needs to shift its attitude from within.

"We want people to feel like their jobs are rewarding, like they actually have some influence over their own work environment and how they can do their job the best," she said.

Frustrated federal prosecutors across Canada are quitting over poor pay coupled with increased work loads.

The National Post came out in favour of less government regulation citing the recent listeriosis outbreak while referencing the CFIA employee who sent a classified document to his union.

Meanwhile, a bureaucrat fighting the Public Service Commission has won the right to remain anonymous.

... and, PSAC has [an] opportunity to elect '[their] employer says Fitzpatrick (c/o Hill Times so a subscrption is required) [Aside: Given, how the party that assumes power will approach its relationship with the public service matters (to both public servants and Canadians in general) but union involvment in this issue makes me a bit uneasy. Does anyone else see this as a potential conflict of interest issue? I assume their is an official policy somewhere on this, if anyone could provide us with a link on we would be happy to share it.]

Government of Canada Offerings

Armchair discussions at the CSPS have resumed. Click here to see their Calendar.

PCO just released a great page on their website, The Role and Structure of the Privy Council Office 2008 -- one stop shop for understanding everything PCO does.


Finally - thanks for all your comments (on the blog) and your emails. It is great to hear from you, keep it up.




Archive

Disclaimer


Note that while we work as public servants this is entirely our own initiative and what we post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, our offices or our positions there in.

Notez bien que nous travaillons commes functionnaires, ceci est entièrement notre propre initiative et ce que nous publions sur ce site ne reflète pas nécessairement le point de vue du gouvernement, de nos organisations ou de nos postes.

Subscribe