Change Management
May 7, 2012

Transformation: More than an executive decision

As an employee of the Ontario Public Service, I’ve been looking at the current transformation initiative with much excitement and some reservation. I’ve come to realize that transformation is more than just an executive decision. It takes all of us, working together with our collective values and vision, to realize the goal of being a top workplace of the future.

And that means you are a leader. Whether that’s a large or small “L”, what you contribute each day affects your colleagues, friends, peers, staff – and all those on the outside looking in.

Positive and consistent messaging is starting to become the norm. Old jokes are fading and discussions are shifting to how the OPS has changed as it redefines itself into a workplace that understands and embraces the importance of values.

Regular team and individual meetings between staff and management are the rule. Open communication relating to work assignments is more common, and many managers have communicated their availability to talk with staff as the need arises.

Change of this magnitude takes time, forbearance, understanding and consistent messaging. And change means many things: continuing to build and maintain our credibility with citizens, employee engagement, consolidation of processes, development of best or common practices, going green, embracing diversity.

I know you’ve heard all of this before; in fact, the message may have come from you. This time, however, the messaging is coming from me – a revitalized employee. I, along with many, many others, have begun to understand that we are a part of a group that is 65,000 strong. From social workers to policy analysts, paramedics to engineers, microbiologists and more, we are the foundation of the policies, programs and services that our elected governments develop and deliver.

My career and resulting journey within the OPS began in June 1980. After 28 years, I feel a sense of accountability, ownership and belonging. I have developed, grown, nurtured and been nurtured under the umbrella of this employer for whom you can do or be anything. I survived the bleak times of the early 1980s, the Rae Days of the 1990s and the cuts of the new millennium. Attitude, I learned, is everything and the journey is what you make it. And attitude can influence change.

However, in my 28 years, I have never seen anything that compares with, or has motivated me to action, as the transformational journey that is currently underway.

It seemed to begin around 2004 with the words and vision of Tony Dean, former Secretary of Cabinet. Was it political? Who knows? But it sent a breath of new life into an old business. Although Dean has moved on, his successor, Shelly Jameson continues the transformation agenda.

Diversity is a large component of the transformational journey: we can be the best we can be because we no longer exclude those that may be the best in their field. To the ongoing discussion on the topic I would offer the following:

Though the provincial government was founded in 1867, and we’ve come a long way, some old things have become new again. Our diversity goal of today – to create an organization that is inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible for all of our employees…that reflects Ontario’s population at every level and one that welcomes and celebrates and nurtures talent in all forms – is it so different from the historical challenges of the mid 1860s? I see amazing similarities.

Remember Sir John A. MacDonald trying to bring to the same table the one-third, English-speaking, Protestant and the two-thirds, French-speaking, Catholic populations? His success was Canada. He transformed this nation into one that embraced the diversity that was theirs.

Was this an “executive decision?” No, but a vision, shared with much collaboration, work and edification of the other, a vision communicated with consistent messaging so that the people themselves embraced it.

Fast forward to the OPS of 2009. Is transformation an executive decision? Or is this, too, a vision, shared with much collaboration, work and edification of the other? A vision communicated with consistent messaging so that we, too, not only embrace it, but also become participants in its evolution. Pride in our workplace, respect for each other, gratification in our own contributions: the OPS is now full of individuals who understand the importance and significance of change – especially now. None of this transformation would have been possible without visionary and transformational leadership.

Change in any form is difficult. It takes time to change the way we think, to build a positive bridge between the generations and move towards a more culturally diverse and sustainable plateau.

Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi said it best: “We must become the change we want to see.”


Marilyn Wooldridge is a senior records analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Revenue.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Change Management
 
Leadership, service delivery, change management, performance measurement, big data, transparency, digital...
 
The “Magic Loogie” scene is vintage Seinfeld. It is a pastiche...
 
Welcome to the fall edition of CGE. Since our last issue,...
 
We risk missing out on the potential “Artificial Intelligence” has to...
 
In the 5th century BC, Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem....
 
From research to policy implementation, Canadian public servants possess the knowledge...
 
We all ask why governments fail, often spectacularly, to carry out...
 
Citizens are embracing technology as it rapidly changes. The experience that...
 
Federal efforts to increase the use of data to inform and...
 
Emerging technologies are getting faster and smarter. Cognitive capabilities, robotics and...
 
Canadian Government Executive is honoured to have Michael Wernick, Clerk of...
 
On a recent visit to Ottawa, I had the opportunity to...
 
Does your organization have a very narrow view of what digital...
 
With businesses and government agencies increasingly operating in a highly information-based...
 
Canadian Government Executive media through its upcoming TechGov event is providing the...
 
The answer my friends is blowin’ in the wind … BOB...
 
There’s no shortage of organizations claiming to have a digital transformation...
 
Laskey Hart guest hosts CGE Radio this week with a summary...
 
Rules and accountability are helpful in developing and standardizing processes but...
 
Canada’s top soldier said the Armed Forces continue to be locked...
 
It’s a common notion that young workers born in the mid-1990s...
 
In order to find out which strategies and priorities CFOs are...
 
A small but rapidly growing number of businesses have started hiring...
 
As populations grow and age, the demand for services increases. As...
 
Computer software company Adobe, has migrated more than 11 million pages...
 
Here’s some bad news for organizations contemplating projects that have something...
 
The facility of a top-secret military communications group in Borden, Ontario...
 
As the adoption rate of big data technologies among Canadian companies...
 
By Craig Killough In March of this year, the Prime Minister’s Advisory...
 
Written by  Roxanne Descôteaux When I first became a manager over...
 
Every four years, on average, Canadians elect a government from among...
 
It’s no secret that LEAN has demonstrated great success in the...
 
There have been a great number of change initiatives in the...
 
If you ask any municipal Chief Administrative Office (CAO) across Canada...
 
Change is difficult. The psychology of loss aversion means we are...
 
After serving in the public service for 24 years, Norman shares...
 
The federal government, through Shared Services Canada, is focusing on integrating...
 
The Centre for Creative Leadership has published a paper called Public...
 
“Finding efficiencies” might be an overused cliché, but allied defence forces...
 
Are you overwhelmed by your to-do list? Does so much of...
 
The idea of a merger of DFAIT and CIDA is not...
 
If your internal planning and reporting systems seem “archaic,” how do...
 
Strange as it may seem, a majority of us would opt...
 
What characterizes successful change management? Six leaders and leadership teams will...
 
The British Columbia Public Service is vying for talent in an...
 
In times of change, middle managers make the difference. Sandwiched between...
 
Once again, Policy Horizons Canada has prepared exclusively for CGE a...
 
Like an athletic coach, an independent project reviewer understands what it...
 
In October, Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council, received CAPAM’s...
 
As young public servants, members of the national Federal Youth Network...
 
Canada’s North is at the forefront of unprecedented change and the...
 
Public sector reform can be like falling down a rabbit hole...
 
Transforming Government for the Future...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.6 June 2007 Learning and development are best achieved...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.5 May 2007 Peter Harder retired recently. He served...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.5 May 2007 Karen Ellis est vice-présidente de la...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.3 March 2007 Many leaders view change as an...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.2 February 2007 The 2005 centennial celebration of the...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 Crown relations with First Nations...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.4 April 2007 How will Canada keep on top...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.2 February 2007 So you think you’ve got it...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.3 March 2007 Consider the following recent history: Ontario...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.4 April 2007 “On any journey, it is important...
 
« Toutes choses étant, par une puissance immortelle, de près ou de...
 
Half a millennium since first contact between Aboriginal peoples and European...
 
In terms of performance measurement, incentives for success and penalties for...
 
Changer la culture des employés un outil à la fois Le...
 
"All things by immortal power, Near and Far, Hiddenly To each...
 
The Internet is a key channel for public service delivery. Recent...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.10 December 2007 When new policy collides with entrenched...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.9 November 2007 Youth…still wasted on the young. It’s...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.8 October 2007 When Pat Collins left Ottawa in...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.7 September 2007 By: Guy D’Aloisio, Mchel Laurendeau, V....
 
Quote of the week “We manage our books really well and...
 
Quote of the week “What was clear when you visited some...
 
Quote of the week “(P)ublic service should be a career of...
 
Quote of the week “Government can’t simply step into the void...
 
Quote of the week “…civil servants may be intractable points of...
 
Quote of the week “…thinking government is necessarily the solution to...
 
Quote of the week “If there is gravy at city hall,...
 
Quote of the week “The IPAC DM/CAO survey…provides insight into your...
 
Le problème actuel n’est pas seulement le départ à la retraite...
 
It’s not just that executives are about to retire – it’s...
 
Au cours des derniers mois, de nombreux fonctionnaires fédéraux ont dépoussiéré...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.9 November 2007 Most observers will be acutely aware...
 
Don’t trust anyone over thirty, Jerry Rubin pronounced in 1967. Jerry,...
 
A strange paradox has emerged in the quest for Gov 2.0....
 
CGE Vol.13 No.7 September 2007 Julius Caesar left us with one...
 
While the focus in recent years has been on Web 2.0...
 
How can an organization work seven times faster when it knows...
 
The 2011 federal election has focused on policy and leadership. But...
 
Unless you have been working in a silo, it is obvious...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.8 October 2007 The biggest challenge facing government executives...
 
Wondering why it sometimes seems so blankety-blank hard to get anything...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.9 November 2007 Not long ago, an energetic web...
 
À titre d’employée de la fonction publique de l’Ontario (FPO), j’ai...
 
As an employee of the Ontario Public Service, I’ve been looking...
 
À l’instar de nombreux autres employeurs, la fonction publique de l’Ontario...
 
Like many employers, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) has a sizeable...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
Leadership, service delivery, change management, performance measurement, big data, transparency, digital...