Sunday, March 29, 2009

Round Up: The Clerk's Report, a New Community of Practice, Social Media, and more!

First, if the the column two weeks ago on the use of Twitter interested you, you may want to read this post about Governments Experimenting with Twitter c/o @davefleet. I also wanted to thank everyone who commented on it, Mike and I had an email exchange regarding the post and the comments but it was hardly rant worthy so I am not sure if sharing it will provide any value to the discussion. Let me know if you want me to post it and I will.

2 Important Reports, and a Video

The Clerk of the Privy Council released his 16th Annual Report to the PM. While I am reserving comment, others have not so feel free to check out some of the MSM coverage. I will say that I think that the best snippet is:

The business of government has become markedly more complex than in the past. Today, almost every department and agency must deal with global challenges, using new tools and asking people to work in new ways – in integrated teams, often across organizational boundaries.

Oh an while you are doing all of this reading, you mine as well also take in the Third Report of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service; or some newly minted Reports on Plans and Priorities to learn more about your department (or other departments).

I would also encourage you to watch this video that Doug found on the PCO website and head over to his blog to find some context, again I am reserving comment, but perhaps it has something to do with the hiring spree that I have heard so much about.

New Community of Practice

If you are interested in joining the new GoC Web Analytics Community of Practice there is some must read information here.

Social Media

This is a really neat piece on Social Media and History, maybe that is why the new UK primary curriculum requires children to master Twitter and Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, just to the south, the US Federal Government Signs Deal With YouTube, Flickr and Other Social Sites, and apparently are also rolling a Digg clone.

On Equity in the Public Service:

There are a couple of different sources saying that visible minorities making gains in public service and that the number of minorities in PS higher than reported. While others are reporting that there is something fishy with the data.


Here is a letter arguing that retired public servants have wisdom to offer and another arguing that Public servants should represent the ideals of a nation.


Update: Just wanted to share my deck from Friday

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to share the deck I used for my presentation on March 27th in Toronto to the National Managers Community, and thank everyone in attendance for the opportunity to talk to them.

Two things, the first is that some of my slides use some heavy animation so they don't translate to slideshare very well. So if you see something that looks like a bunch of overlapping graphics just ignore it for now. Second, imagine that these slides were projected onto a 25 foot screen behind me.

Without further ado, here is the deck:

If you were in attendance on Friday, feel free to send me an email to follow up. But to be honest, you will probably get more out of reading the paper then just viewing the deck. If you haven't seen me deliver the presentation and are interested I am happy to try to help.


Ps - If you haven't already read the Clerk's 16th Report, you can do so here.

Friday, March 27, 2009 Weekly Column: Two Important Things to Public Servants

Although I have a whole slew of excuses for not writing a proper column this week (and a Google calendar and a loving wife that can back me up), I won't bother you with the details.

So, in lieu of providing you with a comprehensive article on a cutting edge issue, I would rather leave you with two short, but incredibly important things (selon-moi):

  1. If you raise your hand (or voice) to complain, you'd better be willing to get off your ass to do something about it. Otherwise, I expect you to grin and bear it.
  2. If you aren't willing to accept and celebrate small successes, then you will be met with nothing but large scale failure.

See you in Toronto today.

Friday, March 20, 2009 Weekly Column: A Common Sense Case for Using Twitter to Engage Citizens

Over the weekend I tweeted a link to a twitter update that I got via an RSS feed I have in place to monitor twitter chatter regarding my department. In it @graceeechen said:
EVERY FEMALE Service Canada phone representative I spoke w/ was the biggest condescending b****! but the MALE ones are SO incredibly nice!
[Note that @graceeechen's updates are not protected and appear in the public timeline, hence I have no problem with linking to the information.]

When I tweeted the link, I noted that this is why Government departments should be monitoring twitter chatter. My tweet sparked a conversation where others voiced their disagreement given the flavour of the tweet in question, and I admit my initial reaction was similar: this tweet is hardly the model for meaningful feedback. It is hard to see value in it for four reasons:
  1. 140 Characters is most likely insufficient to address the issue in a meaningful way.
  2. It is easy for a reader to infer that @graceeechen is generally dissatisfied with service she receives from female client representatives regardless of service provider.
  3. The way @graceeechen expresses her opinion has very little immediate value to the service provider against which she is complaining (Service Canada in this case)
  4. @graceeechen's tweet seems to offer very little promise of value down the line; i.e. it doesn't look like an opportunity to engage without risking deterioration.
Yet, I was (and still am) compelled to move beyond my initial reaction. I am compelled because:
  1. 140 characters may be insufficient in a single iteration, but nothing limits the exchange of tweets or the suggestion of moving the discussion from twitter to a different medium
  2. It is easy to overlook the fact that @graceeechen was very satisfied with the service she received from the male client representatives at Service Canada.
  3. The lack of context around the complaint renders me unable to judge what exactly happened in her interactions with Service Canada.
Let’s for a minute consider a hypothetical situation:
What if @graceeechen was asking for information about Nobody's Perfect and felt discriminated against?
According to Service Canada's website, Nobody's Perfect is a program delivered by the Public Health Agency that aims to help "parents who are young, single, socially or geographically isolated or who have low income or limited formal education".

What if what she thought was "condescending" is actually some part of a larger pattern, which is to say that maybe other people have had similar complaints when trying to access the same information.
Again, this is just hypothetical, but unfortunately, if we don't engage, we will never know.

If you think that my hypothetical above is reaching then consider this: as it stands right now, there is nothing in that tweet stream except @graceeechen's initial complaint.

Luckily, for Service Canada, she is a relatively new Twitter user and has only 30 followers. Unfortunately for Service Canada, 30 people who have all chosen to subscribe to her updates, have been notified of her disdain for the service she received. Arguably the comment from someone they know is far more valuable to them then any Service Canada commercial, no matter how clever. (Note that I wanted to link to the commercial, but Service Canada doesn't have a youtube presence.)

One bad experience, quickly passed along to 30 other people. Technology like Twitter is accelerating the speed at which word of mouth travels. When word travels this quickly, it places greater importance replying promptly.

So let’s consider what might have happened if someone from Service Canada jumped in, apologized, asked her to substantiate her complaint and to identify something that would have made her experience with Service Canada a better one (in 140 or less):
@graceeechen Sorry your experience with Service Canada fell short of your expectations; we are looking to improve service. Any suggestions?
Now there are a whole spectrum of possibilities that could arise out of this invitation to dialogue with the government, but in their simplest form they would look something like:
  1. @graceeechen engages and provides value
  2. @graceeechen ignores the tweet and moves on
  3. @graceeechen responds with inflammatory remarks
If she responds and engages in dialogue, Service Canada gets direct feedback while conveying the message to @graceeechen's 30 followers that Service Canada is interested in improving its service delivery because they will all get the @graceeechen updates directed at say, @ServiceCanada (btw that twitter id is already taken by twitter squatter).

If she ignores the tweet and moves on, it still shows up in the search results and shows anyone listening that Service Canada did its due diligence by following up.

If @graceeechen decides to take the gloves off and be confrontational, Service Canada doesn't look any worse for the wear. In fact, I would argue that if @graceeechen chooses this course of action it actually undermines the legitimacy of her initial complaint, and Service Canada looks better off for actually having tried to engage her as a citizen. If things become uncivil, all Service Canada has to do is withdraw from the exchange. Anyone looking at the timeline will understand what happened and attribute blame accordingly.

Ultimately, I think that whatever course of action @graceeechen chooses is irrelevant. The true value comes from reshaping the relationship between government-as-provider and citizen-as-consumer into a relationship where both the citizen and government are working together to constantly build and deliver better services. Leveraging twitter will allow public servants to create another feedback channel - and yes there is a whole host of issues around that (but that is another post, try reading this in the meantime). These relationships can only be reshaped by bringing citizens into the conversation, or in this case taking the conversation right to the citizen.

Other Opportunities Lost?

Finally, here are a couple of other quick little tweets that show that in fact people are talking about our departments right now. But before you read those, remember that 3 citizens, using less then 420 characters combined, reached a total of 277 people in about 1/1000th of the time it took me to pull this column together.
  1. Why is HRSDC soooo hard to get through? Too much text, very little useful info. Could be condensed into 5 pages with LINKS and Phone numbers by WriterWriter (179 followers).
  2. At Service Canada. I must say, they're very friendly by AngelCastaneda (74 Followers).
  3. Why can't the service canada office get it right?! by Shine2U (24 followers).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Round Up: A Little Self-Help, Improving Access to Government, a Lesson On Social Media from the Private Sector and more!

Here is a very quick round up, I am fairly busy this week and it will show.

A Little Self-Help

  1. Interview your legend and other advice
  2. Ask yourself questions so the whole team learns

Improving Access To Government

Here is a paper by W3C on Improving Access to Government through Better Use of the Web. Here is the abstract for those of you whom are interested:

eGovernment refers to the use of the Web or other information technologies by governing bodies (local, state, federal, multi-national) to interact with their citizenry, between departments and divisions, and between governments themselves. Recognizing that governments throughout the World need assistance and guidance in achieving the promises of electronic government through technology and the Web, this document seeks to define and call forth, but not yet solve, the variety of issues and challenges faced by governments. The use cases, documentation, and explanation are focused on the available or needed technical standards but additionally provide context to note and describe the additional challenges and issues which exist before success can be realized.

Lesson On Social Media from the Private Sector

This video contains valuable insight for those of us looking to use social media behind the firewall.

Blogs We Like

David Eaves blogged on why GCPEDIA will save the Public Service.

Doug blogged why information policy in need of an update. He also provided a link to a paper that I have since added to my pile of to do reading.

While Peter blogged about boring government and social media using a "nugget" from Seth Godin as a starting point....

... and Amanda gives you 4 easy steps to get stuck in the web of rules. If you are interested in a more serious discussion on the matter, she also wrote an article in GCPEDIA that you can contribute to here.

  1. Turnover at top threatens PS reforms
  2. The Vancouver police are using Facebook to recruit.
  3. Twitter, blogs and other Web 2.0 tools revolutionize government business

Friday, March 13, 2009 Weekly Column: WTF is Public Service Renewal?

In what Mike deemed "probably the most honest post yet" I made an off the cuff remark about writing a presentation called WTF is Public Service Renewal. The thought occurred to me after having seen and written about the What the F**K is Social Media deck that made the rounds a while back. I eventually abandoned the project because I could never distil it to a point of being able to present it in a meaningful way. As it turns out, that was probably a good move considering it led to the considerably more practical Scheming Virtuously. That being said, we never really addressed in a direct fashion what we think public service renewal really is. I think that it comes by implicitly in our writings here and in our discussions with others, but in the vein of Etienne's more proper treatment of the subject, here is our very own rendition.

WTF is Renewal?

Simply put, I think renewal is as simple as people having open and honest conversations.

When I say people, I mean people. I don't mean faceless bureaucrats, groups or levels, or relative positions in an org chart. I mean you and me, him and her, us and - well - us, because there is no them.

When I say conversations, I mean conversations. I don't mean dictating, hearing without listening, or feigning interest. I mean conversations powered by their transparent, participatory, authentic and collaborative natures.

WTF should we care?

The writing is on the wall, the traditional communication model (monologue) is dead.

There is so much noise out there, we shouldn't be adding to it. We should be offering people (both employees and stakeholders) what they want: the new communication model (dialogue).

WTF can we do?

Be social and engage one another. Leverage new social tools behind the firewall whenever possible. Be cautious not to approach renewal from a “if you build it (social media behind the firewall) they will come” standpoint. It doesn't work. Borrowing a line from a recent presentation given by @aaronjuliuskim on Government 2.0: a fool with a tool is still a fool.

Essentially what I am trying to get at is that in order to renew the public service, public servants need to adopt the mantra of the social media evangelists - share, because the more you share the more power you have.

I know this is a difficult thing given that we are in an organization that has operated on the complete opposite premise - power belongs to those who hold knowledge.

WTF do I need a conclusion for?

Renewal is new ideas, roles and responsibilities.

Renewal is trust, even if that means failing.

Renewal is keeping conversations alive and focused.

Renewal is a culture of open…

… WTF does public service renewal mean to you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Update: 2009 National Managers Community Leadership Awards: Public Service Renewal.

The 2009 National Managers Community Leadership Awards has thus far eluded our attention thus far [h/t to Laura] for bringing it to our attention and a big thumbs down to me for forgetting to include it in the last round up.

I have reproduced the content verbatim below:

Announcing the 9th Annual
National Managers' Community
Leadership Award Theme:

"Making a difference in Public Service Renewal- Excellence in Initiative"


The theme for this year's National Managers' Community (NMC) Leadership Award 2009 is "Making a Difference in Public Service: Excelling in Initiative." The criteria centre around the initiative shown by managers to find effective solutions that exceed expectations. This award recognizes and rewards managers who are using their initiative to achieve results in ways that meaningfully engage their employees and that effect positive organizational change.


A manager, leader or team who has demonstrated initiative in at least one of the following areas:

  • Developing programs and initiatives that support a culture of renewal and achieve a generational shift in the public service;
  • Engaging employees and other relevant stakeholders in exploring new perspectives and new ways of doing things;
  • Building and leading effective teams, networks and communities;
  • Sharing best practices, learning tools, knowledge within and between federal organizations to create change and achieve solutions;
  • Empowering, coaching, mentoring, motivating and supporting employees to use their skill and initiative; or
  • Recognizing employees for their initiative and contributions and rewarding results.

This nomination is open to all managers at the EX minus one level and below (and/or equivalent).


Nominations will include a one-page (maximum) summary of the accomplishment(s) of the nominee(s) in relation to the above criteria. The nomination must also include the support and endorsement of three individuals. These endorsements may come from peers, supervisors, clients, partners and supervised staff. The completed nomination form, along with supporting documentation as described above is to be sent to the National Managers' Community Regional Coordinator in the nominee's region (

A selection committee will be convened in each region comprising members of the National Managers' Community Regional Committee to review the nominations.


Awards will be presented at a regional National Managers' Community event. In the case of a team award, the team may be asked to select one person to accept on behalf of the team.


For more information please contact your Regional Coordinator (see ( or contact Anne Gillis (902) 368-0126.

Click here for the original page

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Round Up: Mass Collaboration and the New Transparency, MSM on the Recession, GCPEDIA and more

You may have noticed the different title for the round up. I just wanted to thank @TariqAlexander for pointing out that it may be more advantageous to our readership if we give you a sense of the content in the roundups rather then just the date.

Speaking Engagement

First of all I just wanted to let you know that I will be speaking to the National Manager's Community in Toronto on March 27th. Keep an eye on their website because I hear there will be details there soon.

Mass Collaboration and the New Transparency

I got to watch Us Now at the CSPS. It was a great film, if you want more information on it you can read Mike Kujawski's blog post. In it you will find a great link to a summary written by Richard Akerman.

It just so happens that 2 of the panelists at the CSPS screening were also on the Agenda with Steve Paikin discussing the New Transparency.

Here is a related article on how Dell uses social media to gather employees ideas and another discussion on Open Source Government Transparency Projects (#osgtp). If you are interested in these projects @NoelDickover seems to be the person to talk to.


Laura had an interesting post entitled: Assure mediocrity: create more rules. Here is a (very powerful) taste:

At a time when the government is trying so hard to become an ‘employer of choice’ and our Universities push out graduates trained in traditional communications, journalists and engineers, who among the professionals working in the government is trained in ‘bureaucracy 101′? I shouldn’t even have to understand how to escalate issues through the hierarchy to get work done, much less teach my staff how to do so. I feel like I’m corrupting people instead of nurturing their growth. I should get to talk about collaborative work practices and using social media for professional development and citizen engagement instead.

Make sure you read down into the comments as well. If you are interested in this topic, then you might want to provide some input into the Federal Public Service Code of Conduct.

MSM on the Recession

  1. The Public Service is not safe from recession; and
  2. Public servants in BC polled on taking ‘free’ time off to avoid wider layoffs

GCPEDIA Challenge

Here are some new pages of interest to public servants using social media on GCPEDIA. I would invite you all to contribute to them if you have additional information that may be of use:

  1. Public Servants on Twitter
  2. Public Servant bloggers

Speaking of public servant bloggers, I have created a single feed using Yahoo Pipes that will allow you to subscribe to all of the blogs listed in the GCPEDIA article.

Finally, @laureent wants your help fostering a discussion on Mentorship Programs in the Public service. If anyone has any resources they could contribute please visit the page and share your experience.

Two Inspirational Tweets

I just wanted to leave you with two nice little tweets that I came across this week on twitter:

  1. @DGTweets: ‘Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel, for what he must aim at is to make things better than they are.’
  2. @micah: My hiring strategy: I will believe in you today, if you will surprise me tomorrow.
Oh and thanks to all those who commented on last week's column.

Friday, March 6, 2009 Weekly Column: Blogs and the Government of Canada

There has been a lot of discussion in the public service blogosphere (the unofficial one anyway - if such a place now exists) about whether or not public servants should blog. Opinions fall on both sides of the discussion with varying caveats, and so this weekly is our contribution to that discussion.

Recently, David Eaves blogged a great piece on Why the Government of Canada Needs Bloggers (don't forget to read the comments!) that I simply had to respond to.

David's article identifies a recurring theme in his travels, namely:

... that public servants feel they are suffering from information overload. There is simply so much going on around them and it is impossible to keep up with it all. This is especially true of those in the senior ranks.

He then posits that this is the very reason that:

... the public service needs bloggers. Not to communicate with the public but to help public servants manage and understand all that internal knowledge and information.

I won't go on quoting Eaves verbatim, but I would like to address the points he raises, because they are important. (I have summarized his points in italics then responded below).

Blogs are Meta-Data

Eaves: Blogs are a filter. They sift through information, retain that which is relevant and present it in a manner that is digestible (e.g. readable and accessible) by their audience(s).

If you want to know what we are up to or what is going on in the world of public service renewal, you do one of a number of things. You come to the blog (or pull up your RSS reader), you search the tags to find what is relevant to you, or you go right to the twitter hashtag (#cpsr). As Eaves rightly points out, you are here because you are interested in what is being written and assembled here.

Think about what this blog does as its “core business” – we regularly assemble round-ups that aim to present you with interesting and relevant information because no one else is doing it (that we know of). Moreover, since we’re aggregating information, we’re generally free to present a variety of views on a particular topic. The fact that we do it here (because we love to) means that you don’t have to go out and try to get the information on your own. I assume that you come here instead because we give you the context that is most relevant to you as Public Servants.

Blogs at the Front Line

Eaves: Allowing bloggers (internally) at the front lines would provide a valuable opportunity for senior managers to see the reality on the ground.

I would go a step beyond what Eaves is saying here and argue that blogs at the front lines allow everyone (e.g. all levels) to engage in a conversation about the reality on the ground. Keeping that conversation rolling here allows people to engage the material on their own terms. They come here precisely because this isn’t a briefing note. We aren’t forcing anything on anyone. If you are interested in knowing more about the issues faced by the public service today from the perspective of a couple of relatively new public servants, then you come here to share in that experience.

Relevance, Reputation and Merit

Eaves: Relevant information rises to the top, and reputation and merit guide it there (not official or bureaucratic top down authority).

For obvious reasons we have not tried (nor will we ever try) to monetize the site. Yet, we do understand that we are building a brand by sharing stories that we can all relate to and by engaging issues that Public Servants are facing. We hope that this blog is a space that you trust, that you feel is open and that welcomes your contribution and gives you information that is relevant to you as a Public Servant.

If people considered what we write in this space solely on our substantive group and levels then it wouldn’t get very far.

The only reason that this blog succeeds is because you visit it. It’s like twitter – if you have no followers you are just talking to yourself. We need you - your encouragement, your emails, your tweets, your invitations to participate, your comments, and your participation. In short, it is your readership that makes this site relevant.

You give us that authority, the bureaucracy doesn’t. In fact, it can’t. It can’t because no one has been mandated to engage in these conversations, they don’t fall into checkable boxes on renewal actions plans.

Is Blogging Enough?

While I was commenting on Eaves’ post, I saw a trackback link to an article and found this gem (in direct response to the Eaves piece) by @hjarche on Why the Government of Canada needs Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). Jarche's counter point is that the Government of Canada needs more then just bloggers – it needs a comprehensive approach to Personal Knowledge Management (PKM).

Jarche contends that:

… blogging is not enough because managing information overload is more a question of attitude than skills...
… that public servants really need PKM; [it is] a way to help make sense of the information flows that face us…

According to Jarche, PKM is made of four elements:

1. Sorting & Filtering (e.g. Feed Readers & following on Twitter)
2. Annotating and Filing (e.g. social bookmarks)
3. Tentative Sense-making (e.g. Blog posts & Twitter Posts)
4. Engagement and conversations in these venues and others

I already manage my personal knowledge in this way, and truth be told, I manage the blog in this manner. I sort, filter, annotate and file using twitter hashtags #cpsr. I condense the essence of the resource including the URL, the context, the hashtag, (and often the retweet) into 140 characters. Then I use that system to make sense of it all, I turn it into a blog post and provide context for each item I tweeted. Then we publish the post and invite conversations into this space (as well as others).


I think that the “business model” we use here in this space could be equally applicable to government departments looking to foster that internal dialogue around issues of relevance to its business. I am positive that the skills sets required to do this work exist in every department and in every region: it’s just a matter of putting them to use.

Jarche mentioned that he didn’t think the problem was a skill problem, but an attitude problem. I agree, but I would like to qualify that a little by saying that, in my experience, the most problematic attitude is the one that doesn’t see the value in using new and evolving skills, and by extension the value-adding processes attached to them, like blogging.

I would go even one step further and say that any department looking to actively engage their staff in that mysterious thing known as public service renewal, to consider adopting the model we have in place here, and start talking to people about the issues they care about in their departments.

Epilogue: Why We Do It

I got this email after my talk in Edmonton, it pretty much sums up my reasons behind going out and engaging people in conversations that matter to them:

Hi Nick,

I was in attendance at your talk in Edmonton last week. Your ideas and enthusiasm spurred me to do a little bit of scheming of my own. Amazingly, the results have already made themselves apparent!

Some chats with the right people at the conference resulted in a meeting this morning, which has resulted in me being selected to facilitate the Orientation to the Public Service (OPS) courses offered by CSPS. Being able to do large-scale training and facilitation is something I've always wanted to do, but they aren't really functions of my current position, so this was a huge win for me.

A little scheming and some creative pitching to my manager have given me this opportunity, and your talk was the spark that enabled me to make the right contacts and convince my boss to let me pursue this. I'll be going to Ottawa in a few months for the "train the trainer" session, and I'd consider it an honour to buy you a beer as thanks while I'm there!

Thanks once again for your talk and your work. It's people like you who give hope to the rest of us that we can effect positive change in the public service!



Hey GW – I will gladly take you up on that offer, and thanks to everyone who helped me get that opportunity to share some time with you, and again, thanks to everyone for stopping by this space. Without you, we'd be talking to ourselves.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Round Up: March 4

[Note of caution, this is fairly long round up, but I have tried to give context to everything I am pointing to, in the obvious hope that you will click through or engage in whatever discussion you feel most interested in.]

New Blogger

First of all I would like to welcome a new public servant blogger to the fray, friends meet Amanda. You can also catch an article she wrote for CGEM here.

Be Angry(!)

Apparently being angry at work is good for your career, who knew? I would caution you however that always being angry at work is probably NOT good for your career (or your mental health).

On Leaders

In continuing to foster our discussion about leadership, I came across this in a tweet by @DGTweets: Why Can't We Figure Out How to Select Leaders? Here is my favorite musing from the summary on leadership:

Some of the more interesting [questions about leaders] included Kapil Kumar Sopory's suggestion that we look for "... the person with the biggest fire inside of them...." Rowland Freeman would ask, "... how will the selected individual handle power?" Edward Hare suggested that results fall short of expectations "... because we don't understand motives (of the candidate for the leadership position) ... How many aspiring leaders are not genuine or authentic? They're the ones that scare me." These comments raise the question of how much theory tells us about selecting for harder to measure characteristics such as possible behaviors under fire and motives as opposed to skills and past accomplishments.
NB: There are also 88 comments on the thread, here are a couple of my favs:

(12) Way too much thinking and evaluating going on. Maybe we can't see the forest for the trees? I watch how people treat and support others. I knew a Coast Guard retiree that became a grade school janitor that ended up becoming head of a school district. Why? Because he knew how to treat people, connect with the kids, teachers, and parents. It wasn't about all the fancy degrees, publishing, and ego. He cared about the kids and their future. Look at the heart and soul of people. See what they do. You will find leaders... (Phil Clark, Clark and Associates)

(17) The criteria for hiring future decision-makers, beyond their education, is often subjective. In many successful cases where the new hire became and effective leader, we had to first convince the hiring authority to look beyond stereotypes and beyond their first-choice, to hire that person.

God may have created man in his own image, but business leaders who use that same measure are often disappointed. (Robert Stevens, CFA, President, Douglas-Allen Inc., Executive Search)

(39) Hiring is a skill like any other skill.

I don't fix my car brakes because I don't have the skill and I might die as a consequence... (Luis X. B. Mourao, Senior Manager R&D, Bang & Olufsen)

A good leader is easily spotted a mile away. The problem is that we often ask the wrong questions, and our internal compasses are sometimes off track... (Marquen Joubert, Senior Vice President, LynRay Engineering)

I think that these comments are all pointed, especially given the conversations I have been having with people on the subject of leaders being promoted into leadership positions because they were technically competent, not necessarily because they are good leaders. Truth be told, I heard this was an issue before I even joined the Public Service.

How We Interact with the Public Should be Simple and Genuine!

I think that Seth Godin's short and simple blog post on Looking for Yes is highly relevant to any government line department.

Moreover, I think we should strive to make all of our interactions with the Canadian Public this genuine.

Reform: HR Processes

Here is an absolutely fantastic piece by David Zussman on simplifying the government hiring process, here's a taste:

... [the committee] has issued two frank assessments of the HR governance system. Specifically, they concluded that the regime was too complex and unwieldy for a modern organization in competition for talent, there were too many rules and constraints that governed the HR system, and there was too much duplication of effort within central agencies and in individual departments.

... the government folded the former Public Service Agency into the Treasury Board and created the position of chief human resources officer (CHRO) to head the new branch. The new CHRO, Michelle D'Auray (former Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans) will oversee a narrower set of corporate functions that includes co-ordinating government-wide employee surveys, monitoring the impact of demographics on hiring needs, and, most importantly, developing an integrated compensation system for the whole of government. Second, many of the responsibilities of the Public Service Agency were dispersed into individual departments, making it clear deputy ministers are the centre of the new HR regime.

About Twitter

If you are interested in knowing more about Twitter and how you can use it, here is a 10 minute TED talk on Twitter, and article that examines whether or not twitter is efficiency engine or workplace distraction.