Northern Leadership Perspectives: An interview with Dr. Joe Dragon

Wildlife Biologist, professional hockey player and public servant, born and raised in a small First Nations Community in the Northwest Territories, Joe Dragon has returned home as the NWTs Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources. He joins CGE Editor-in-Chief George Ross to share his leadership perspectives. Dr. Joe Dragon was appointed in December 2016 as Deputy Minister...

Bookshelf: The Four Tendencies

At work, we are often trying to satisfy a bundle of expectations, which can be boiled down to those expectations we place upon ourselves and those placed by others. In government, of course, those outer expectations can be powerful, handed down from the public, the minister, and our immediate boss. But we all react differently,...

Enlisting volunteers

Large-scale change occurs when a sizeable body of people gets behind an opportunity and acts on critical initiatives linked to a shared strategy.  Kotter International estimates that companies with highly-engaged employees average 147 per cent higher earnings per share. Dr. John Kotter states that, “… history has demonstrated that it is possible to find many...

The Architecture of Failure

We all ask why governments fail, often spectacularly, to carry out their policy goals through bad implementation. When something goes wrong, we watch the arch of public attention rise, demands for accountability, and then governments move in to fix the problem. Then, we move on. We seldom go back and do a post-mortem on failure....

Five ways to improve strategic planning

Why is strategic planning so dreaded? How often do we actually deliver what the plan outlined? Why is buy-in so low? How many retreats are show-and-tell sessions instead of true strategic discussions? Why do we find ourselves at year-end, engaged in creative writing to provide the impression that we met our goals? A handful of...

Better accountability through combining RBM with project management tools

As the resettlement of Syrian Refugees exemplifies, government programs, currently running on RBM, can be made more accountable if they were managed using PM principles, as well. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has outlined five accountability criteria for evaluating projects: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and impact. Setting the latter two aside, for...

A seat at the table – influence and leadership

Over the last several months, as a participant in the OCG’s Leadership pilot program, I have enhanced my appreciation of the qualities required of a leader and perhaps, more importantly, some of the unique attributes that distinguish an auditor as a leader. Specifically, what I have learned is that effective leadership requires authenticity, humility and...

Forming a strategic vision

High in the Arctic, the Inuksuk is a timeless cultural symbol of the human journey. The Inuit stack rough stones in human form, traditionally as communal landmarks, cairns, or commemorations. They mark their way in a desolate territory without natural landmarks. Far from Canada’s North, the world is teetering on the brink of dystopia. The...

An interview with Marcia Nelson, Deputy Minister, Alberta Executive Council

At the 2017 IPAC conference in Charlottetown, George Ross, Editor-in-Chief of CGE sat down with Marcia Nelson, Alberta’s Deputy Minister of the Executive Council, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Alberta Public Service. Ms. Nelson assumed her current role in April of 2016 and before that has had a distinguished career in Ontario and Alberta,...

Is government doomed to repeat mistakes, or can it stop losing its mind?

Can government remember? Is it condemned to repeat mistakes? Or does it remember too much and so sees too many reasons why anything new is bound to fail? The case for a permanent civil service is that it organises its memory well, and it is certainly better than governing systems which periodically purge their top...