Quote of the week
“It’s a great time to be in government.”
— Bruce Ross, General Manager, IBM Canada
I had a conversation yesterday with Bruce Ross, general manager of IBM Canada. He says there are two reasons why it’s a good time to work in the public sector.
First, there is an unprecedented level of civic engagement, which he believes is a good thing because it speaks to the values of volunteerism and concern about communities.
Second, he believes that it is a good time to be in the public sector because there is so much opportunity for change. And he offers some advice on how to make it happen.
On a macro level, he is on board with current thinking that government can’t do it all alone. He says that governments need to “commoditize” their work, looking for ways to outsource specific, service delivery functions to other parties that, he argues, can probably do it more efficiently.
For managers, some plain speaking about change. He links three elements: leadership, values and behaviours. Leadership, Ross says, not only drives change; it also sets the tone for the organization. The leader needs to embody values that will in turn drive behaviour.
As an example of values and behaviours in action, he spoke proudly of how IBM volunteers have used their talents to support good causes; on the public sector front, one might think about the generous Centraide campaigns that just get bigger and bigger.
He encouraged openness among leaders, arguing that a willingness to try new approaches is what drives change. And he encouraged change-makers to stay the course, his premise being that change is not something that happens without determination.