Knowledge Management
January 10, 2013

The emperor’s new clothes

Since joining government I have learned that we love sound bites almost as much as we like acronyms. I used to live in a world where we gave fearless advice and loyally implemented, although there was some confusion because sometimes we were supposed to speak truth to power. Next arrived doing more with less, and the creative types amended this credo to “doing things differently.”

The sound bites continue to proliferate and I am left wondering what we are trying to say. More importantly, I wonder what we are trying to do and what we should be doing.  

There exists an opportunity to reevaluate what our purpose is and question some of the fundamental assumptions instead of blindly following the crowd. We need to be champions of not just change but of a re-think of how we serve Canadians.

I liken the situation to The Emperor’s New Clothes. No one is willing to question what is clearly in front of them and admit they can’t see the clothes; instead they go along without questioning the assumption –that only the intelligent can see them. It is a small child unfamiliar with the culture who challenges this by pointing out that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes.  

I want to be that small child and so I keep my eyes open and voice what I really see, even if it is a truth that others are uncomfortable hearing. I no longer just question how we do things (doing things differently), but also what we are doing (doing different things). It can no longer be about asking an expert – like a tailor – to do something and then strutting in front of the town’s people, it is about getting the town involved to help us see beyond what we want to see.

If we do not do this, we risk being laughed at when we walk through the streets naked.

Tabatha Soltay – agent of chaos, general doer, innovator and networker – is currently on assignment sharing what she has learned from various experiences and is seeking to make the public service collaborative and creative, one project at a time.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Knowledge Management
 
Canadian Government Executive, in collaboration with Dalhousie University, is seeking your...
 
With businesses and government agencies increasingly operating in a highly information-based...
 
The answer my friends is blowin’ in the wind … BOB...
 
How does a mandate for innovation challenge evaluation? Increasingly, the public...
 
The Conference Board of Canada recently published a report titled Leveraging...
 
The Government of Canada’s newly announced Policy on Results replaces the...
 
The world is fraught with uncertainty and risk, making life difficult...
 
Dispersed organisations can be very powerful structures. There is ample evidence...
 
As an executive you’ve probably experienced frustration when you ask for...
 
A leader’s credibility begins with personal success. It ends with helping...
 
The only constant………..Change And the end of all our exploring will...
 
By: John Wilkins A leader’s credibility begins with personal success. It...
 
The Province of British Columbia is doubling down on deepening its...
 
Written by Donald Farmer Too often, we base Business Intelligence today...
 
Successful leaders never stop growing. They continually inform themselves about the...
 
Delays in decision-making or about-face decisions, staffing delays, uncertain policy or...
 
Knowledge is power. Transferring that knowledge within your organization is powerful....
 
Last December, Health Canada held its 12th annual Science Forum. This...
 
Since joining government I have learned that we love sound bites...
 
Governments are increasingly urging – and even requiring – citizens to...
 
The professional requirements for success in the public sector are increasing...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.3 March 2007 Karl Carisse says he’s not a...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.4 April 2008 Worldwide, public and private sectors...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.8 October 2007 Networks are the hot concept in...
 
In today’s knowledge-based economy, businesses and industries increasingly depend on higher...
 
As the pace of public service retirements has picked up, so...
 
Digital records are pervasive in all aspects of our personal and...
 
Many of the young professionals whom I mentor focus on getting...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
Canadian Government Executive, in collaboration with Dalhousie University, is seeking your...