Monday, April 30, 2012

MBR: Scheming Virtuously The Road to Collaborative Governance

I decided I was going to read a book a week for a year, here's a quick review of this week's book.  You can see the ongoing list here.

Basic Info

Scheming Virtuously: the road to collaborative governance by Gilles Paquet

Why I bought it

Actually I didn't, Gilles sent me a copy years ago after having sat on a panel with him and subsequently accepting his invitation to virtuous scheming. Despite my enthusiasm for the book I only wound up reading about half of it at the time as life got in the way (as it tends to do); it's been sitting on my shelf waiting to be finished ever since.

How it connects to the Public Sector

The book argues for a new, more collaborative governance model and points at a number of things that we (public servants, civil society and public intellectuals) could change in order to achieve it. That said, the target audience seems varied and at times the text becomes incredibly complex and frequently invokes Latin and/or French to convey the underlying sentiment.

What I got out of reading it

The best chapters of the book were by far chapters 5 (Stewardship vs leadership) and 8 (An agenda for change in the federal public service), the latter of which tackles the issue of change head on:

"No change will occur if employees continue to perceive that rewards go mostly to those whose policy skills and political savvy are geared entirely to serving mindlessly the whims of their supervisors, irrespective of their capability for meaning-making, their capacity for community-building and their ability to inspire trust and confidence, and to deal with people at all levels." (p198)

The core message being, it isn't enough to simply follow orders blindly, one must speak truth to power at every opportunity.


Ps - Sorry for the lack of post last week. It was an odd week and I took my wife to NYC for the weekend so I was naturally a little sidetracked.

Originally published by Nick Charney at
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