“Over time, leadership matters more than leaders,” Dr. David Ulrich reminded delegates to CGE’s second annual Leadership Summit in Ottawa last month, advising public sector organizations to invest and transfer leadership “equity” to the next generation.
Ulrich, a professor with the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a leading authority on leadership development, was one of a dozen speakers to set the federal public service renewal effort of Blueprint 2020 in context. Change, delegates were told, is the new normal and the public service requires a culture of constant change.
As Vince Molinario of Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions observed, one leader can make all the difference to the success of an organization. And that is certainly true of the seven recipients of the CGE’s Leadership Awards, which were also announced at the summit. All seven exemplified Ulrich’s Leadership Code and were able to deliver improved public service while reducing costs through passionate leadership, courage and the creative use of performance management and technology tools.
The award winners were:
• The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, which, under a new leader, Darren Dalgleish, turned around a struggling organization in just two years;
• The Portfolio Management Office at Canada Health Infoway, which improved transparency, accountability and stewardship of 600 projects with $2.1 billion in taxpayer funding;
• The government of New Brunswick’s Performance Excellence Process, which has gained international accolades for its ability to improve results while building a sustainable continuous improvement culture;
• GCSurplus at Public Works and Government Services Canada, which revived a program for Crown assets distribution and turned it into a highly successful service for internal clients and external purchasers;
• Canada Revenue Agency, Red Tape Reduction, which has significantly reduced tax irritants for small business clients;
• The Ontario Land and Resources I&IT Cluster, Modernization of Approvals Platform, which also reduced red tape for businesses seeking government approvals by developing an online solution that takes minutes rather than months and saved an
estimated $15 million to applicants; and
• Health Canada, First Nations Health Authority, which CGE recognized as a replicable model that may well be a tipping point in the improvement of health care services to First Nations.
“One manager can start change,” Molinaro said, but only a great organization with great leaders can sustain it.