Views For A
David Farrell Responds:
"This too, shall pass!" Those of us who
labor in the fields of change and innovation hear similar
reactions often. And, all too often those comments prove to
have some truth to them.
Today more government employees recognize
that efficiency and effectiveness are a matter of survival,
or at least a key to the continuation of adequate
New political appointees, often feel the
need to put their personal stamp on the organization,
obliterating many previous initiatives. Some key strategies
have proven effective in mitigating the impact of these
Where possible, escalate the
sponsorship to a higher level.
Explore opportunities to seek
sponsorship at the state level, or if that is not
practical, find like-minded directors in other agencies so
that the "critical mass" of organizations is larger, the
experience more diverse, and the initiatives less
susceptible to elimination.
But, seek sponsorship from key career
level employees, not just department executives.
Capitalize on the inspirational potential of
the incumbent while you have him or her, but you simply
cannot count on the successor having the same values and
priorities. Identify key career employees, management and
non-management alike, who will survive the periodic
changes, and nurture their commitment to the process.
Don't just implement-institutionalize and
Lasting results from improvement initiatives
require conscious attention to the implications of change
in the very culture of the organization and the change
process requires continuous management. It is axiomatic
that if the desired behavior changes are inconsistent with
the present culture of the organization, you have to change
the desired behavior or change the culture, else the effort
will fail over the long term.
The implementation process for a significant
change initiative goes through a number of very discrete
and observable phases of support: Awareness, Understanding,
Positive Perception, Installation (pilot projects),
Adoption (compliance achieved), Institutionalization
(policies and procedures) and finally Internalization
(establishing the culture, achieving the vision, affecting
values and beliefs).
Begin with a vision of the future state which
is clear, inspiring and actionable and communicate that
vision early and often. Widely publicize positive outcomes.
Build an image of the organization with employees and
public alike, creating an expectation of continuous
innovation as a hallmark of its culture.
Make sure that the organization's
administrative systems are aligned with support and
reinforce the desired culture. Examples include the
organizational structure; management development and
leadership behavior; communications systems; compensation,
benefits and rewards; education and training; and
performance management systems.
Initiatives that clearly demonstrate measurable
improvement over time, rather than simply reporting
anecdotal data are less vulnerable. A range of measures
that address the interests, including "enlightened
self-interest," of all (elected officials, appointees,
employees and the public) can serve to mitigate the risk of
a shift in priorities with a new regime.
John Runyan Responds
Question for the
July 2000 News for a