The Art of Possibility
I am pleased to welcome Noël Latour, Senior Associate, to the Delta Partners Inc. family of management consultants. Noel has had a distinguished career in leadership development, training, operations management, and policy and executive human resource services with the Canadian Boarder Services Agency, Agriculture Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and the Canadian School for Public Service. Noel’s consulting focus is executive and team leadership development in organizations.
The following blog is Noël's first on our site and provides great insight into his view of the modern organization. To learn more about Noël and his professional background, click here.
Canada’s Public Service managers and staff have heard it all: downsizing, rightsizing, cutbacks, program review, working smarter not harder, operational review, strategic review, and now our Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP).
And Canada’s Public Service managers and staff have lived it: downsized, reduced staff, reduced budgets, streamlined operations, amended service delivery standards, outsourced and reduced or cancelled projects and programs.
Against this backdrop, taxpayers’ expectations of their Public Service have evolved and expanded greatly over the last 30 years. Technology has opened doors to many possibilities never before thought possible. Similarly, the face of the Public Service has as well changed. War Veterans have been replaced by the Baby Boomers, now yielding the way to Generation X and more recently Generation Y.
A Beginning, not an End
Overall, this new generation entering the service of their country is better educated, and, with the aid of social media, more plugged in to global economic and program realities. They think, work and engage differently in the workplace. Innovation and results drive their purpose—with a commitment to excellence second to none.
Personally, I see this latest round of fiscal belt tightening to be an incredible opportunity for our Public Service as a whole. This is a time where strong leadership will leverage available bandwidth (people, funds and knowledge) through increased emphasis on strategic and operational partnerships. Those organizations that embrace this way of thinking will truly experience what I see as the “Art of Possibility”.
The Art of Possibility
These challenging economic times will be upon us for many years to come. In fact, may I suggest that the Public Service as we know it requires a transformation. This is a pivotal time, and one where leaders will emerge and organizations with strong leadership will thrive, as they will embrace the art of possibility!
What I see as the “art of possibility” is a transformation in the way the Public Service views itself, leverages its overall bandwidth, and engages employees at all levels to define and achieve results never before thought possible.
Leadership at all levels must be encouraged and developed. And this must be accompanied by increased communications and partnerships across files, with provinces, and including the private sector. We must also look outside our own borders—developing international partnerships that strengthen knowledge, focus, and results, and allow us to more fully explore common ground.
Where do we start?
With over 35 years of service to Canada and Canadians, I have been part of many “refocus” events—and these have invariably been more reactive in nature.
A “possibility” oriented Public Service is one that is able to better identify what needs to be done, partnerships that need to be engaged, and how initiatives will link to common and higher level realities.
I would like to start the conversation here by asking you to consider a few questions as you head into your own period of uncertainty and “possibility”:
- What are some of the leadership challenges you have seen in the Public Service?
- What are the expectations that Generation Y employees have of your leadership?
- How do you best include and engage your personnel?
- Is it time to revisit your organization’s vision, mission, guiding principles and overall leadership culture?
- How can you make the Art of Possibility part of your organization’s culture?
- Effective inclusivity in the Art of Possibility is critical. Why? What does that mean to your business success?
- Current times require open leadership. What does that mean for you? For your business?