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.