If Sun Tzu Were Consulting for Government, He Might Say…
Know your enemy, know yourself, and opportunities multiply as they are seized. Wise words for those about to live through one of the most significant transformations the Government of Canada has undergone in a generation.
For over 9 years, Systemscope has been a proud GTEC sponsor and offers presentations that showcase Systemscope’s collective approach to helping federal government departments and agencies find efficiencies and deliver better outcomes. As part of 2012’s presentations, Innovations from the Systemscope Lounge was a journey though each of Systemscope’s different practice areas united by a theme of “Thinking in Threes”.
In my introduction to this unique presentation format, I discussed how GTEC’s theme this year – innovation and collaboration to make a difference for Canadians – is part of the message that we who work in or with federal government receive. Innovation and collaboration, however, are ideals that have to be translated into the current context of our actual working environment. We all form perceptions of the current environment through newspaper headlines announcing job cuts, through the Administrative Services Review or the Deficit Reduction Action Plan. How then, can we, as stated in the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee Report, “Get used to a new world”?
The habitual response is to rely on theoretical approaches and survey best practices or conduct environmental scans. The useful response is to bring and share with you insights founded in lived experience. If you’ve lived through major government or departmental changes and been part of transformation at all levels, you might agree that the useful response trumps the habitual one. Our first seminar aimed to highlight the multi-faceted experiences from our various transformation architects and equip you with practical and applicable information.
I was proud to see each of our Systemscope presenters provide our audience with knowledge, whether from Denis’ personal experience with brain surgery and transformation to Kathy’s outlining of how to harness all efforts to enable change or Linda Daniels-Lewis’ Blinding Flashes of the Obvious about Electronic Data Records Management Systems (EDRMS) and Denise’s view on the new Treasury Board Web Standards.
Seemingly disparate in topic areas, each of the eight presentations were views into how many different components of any organization are involved in transformation. My conclusion, and one I hope the audience walked away with, was a call to action to understand the true message and opportunity that innovation and collaboration bring as concepts for all of us.
I framed this call to action with three guiding Sun Tzu principles:
- Know yourself: Understand your own limitations, your organizational culture and capabilities and how you deal with the personalities around you. Also know your strengths and use these effectively to build and maintain momentum.
- Know your enemy: Consider the enemy within – your fears, not just of failure but of success; mistrust; inertial attitude, e.g. “it’s not my job”; understanding real vs perceived barriers.
- Opportunities multiply as they are seized: Each of the presentations offered opportunities to innovate and collaborate. By seizing those opportunities, you will be able to demonstrate value and success, which in turn will bring you more opportunities. You never know what’s around the corner unless you journey to the corner.
I would like to extend a sincere thank you to our GTEC audience. GTEC is a meaningful and significant event at Systemscope as it offers us the opportunity to collaborate and celebrate our long-standing relationships with our federal government clients. We appreciate your support and look forward to our continued innovation and collaboration together.
By Stephen Karam, Partner and Practice Lead, Government Service Excellence (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stephen Karam is a Systemscope Partner with over 15 years of experience providing thought leadership and consulting services in the areas of government service transformation, multi-channel service delivery and related information management projects. Stephen has extensive experience in providing business transformation, project management, and business development services, giving him a unique background that allows Systemscope’s customers to realize the value of feasible service solutions within the context of their business. His in-depth understanding of the Government of Canada’s policies, practices, and culture contributes to his ability to propose workable, reliable, and repeatable business solutions for Systemscope’s public sector clientele. Stephen has more recently focused on government service transformation initiatives, including business vision & strategy, service delivery strategies, enterprise architecture, information management and project management consulting services for Systemscope’s clients.