Our system is broken, and we know it’s broken. Our public service – those bureaucracies, institutions, universities and healthcare systems – who once gave our country a massive advantage over others, are fast becoming the Achilles heel of our competitiveness.
We are not getting major projects approved. We are not reducing wait times for surgeries. We are not improving our education rankings. We are not helping the middle class. We are not improving workplace productivity. We are not attracting the smartest people to public service. And we are not building the next generation of public service leaders.
In fact, we are getting worse.
An intervention is needed. And I’m resurrecting this blog to start the conversation.
The root cause of the problem is that we have become complacent about our expectations of these institutions, our bureaucratic leaders are leading with antiquated management philosophies, and the good people that work in the public service are surrendering to a system that perpetuates and rewards mediocrity.
Most have given up on the topic, shake their heads and say that things will never change.
I disagree. It will change. Slowly. It may only change one ministry, institution or agency at a time, but it will change for three reasons:
- The next generation of public service leaders – Gen Xs and Millennials – are far too altruistic, connected and impatient to settle for continued non-performance;
- The next generation of public service employees – Millennials and Gen Zs – will not tolerate antediluvian leadership models, will not suffer in uninspiring work environments, and will not accept the eventual erosion of their aspirational goals and their human spirit; and
- The next generation of the general public – the private sector and private citizens – can no longer afford the cost of government and will no longer sit quietly and politely when they see poor performance in exchange for their tax dollars.
Change requires leadership, and it is time for a new generation of leaders to be properly armed with the strategies and courage needed to make change in our public service.
I look forward to the discussion ahead. I promise to be provocative, as it is too important of a topic to be left not discussed.