If your internal planning and reporting systems seem “archaic,” how do you compete in a fast-paced, digital world? The problem was one of six key management challenges raised by Neil Yeates, Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, during a presentation to CGE’s Leadership Summit.
The veteran public service leader, who has held executive positions with Indian and Northern Affairs, Health Canada and Industry Canada, as well as numerous roles with the government of Saskatchewan, is well acquainted with strengths and weaknesses of government systems. He observed that, first, the public service is a major factor in the competitiveness of Canada, and if it is not continuously innovating, it and the country will quickly fall behind
Second, accountability in government is still very stove-piped, despite numerous efforts to institute change, and in a horizontal (Thomas Friedman might say flat) world, accountability must cut across departments and even governments.
Third, whether it’s the crisis of the hour, day or month, the response time expected of public executives has shortened considerably. Gone are the days of lengthy, thoughtful memos; answers are expected within hours, all of which is contributing to a certain amount of attention deficit disorder.
Fourth, those archaic systems and processes: Yeates suggested we might be running the risk of operating in a digital society with an analog bureaucracy, adding that many public sector organizations would likely be out of business if they had to compete with the private sector.
Fifth, the rise of social media. Government’s greatest contradiction might be trying to manage it.
And sixth, he pointed to the shift to an enterprise-wide approach to desion-making. Yeates, for one, has already made an effort to crack that chestnut with the launch of a Deputy Minister’s Advisory Council at CIC to explore program and policy issues from a broader perspective. Though he’s gone outside the organization, the advise is undoubtedly helping address enterprise-wide issues.
The entire video of Mr. Yeates presentation and PDFs will be available on the CGE website.