This post originally appeared on the Canadian Government Executive Blog
You know, I have been around long enough to know better, but still choose to believe in stuff like Blueprint 2020, because change can’t happen unless we believe it can. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Pollyanna and healthy scepticism is, well, healthy, but seriously the first step to making anything happen is believing that it is possible.
Can you imagine an Olympic athlete who didn’t think they could? Do you think they would be any good? It starts with belief.
I choose to believe that the individuals that make up the public service can make a difference. Everyone has a sphere of influence that they affect. Most of us can’t change policy or re-arrange the functions of government, but we can choose how we do our jobs and interact with those around us. When something stupid gets in the way, we can hold up the flag of Blueprint 2020 and maybe stop a little of the insanity.
In his recent post on CGE Blog, (see Does Blueprint 2020 hold Wouters? ) John Wilkins says that authentic public service renewal “…calls for a bottom-up approach, top-level commitment, and continuous improvement.” I agree with his statement, what’s more I think it could already be here.
A bottom- up approach
I know a bunch of Public Servants that have taken the Clerk’s words to heart and take ownership for implementing good ideas within their sphere of influence. What if they all did?
I choose to believe that despite their constraints, leaders actually want to the right thing most of the time, but it doesn’t really matter because they have opened a can of worms and will have to do something, it may not be revolutionary but even a “measured response” (see Blueprint 2020: Raising expectations for real change ) is better than nothing.
Blueprint 2020 discussions are taking place across the public service and some of those discussions must be turning into conversations that lead to mutual learning and eventual improvement. Learning is infectious and when individuals decide to take ownership for their own improvement the institution either goes along or becomes irrelevant.
There you go, easy as pie. Change is already here, you just have to believe.
Of course it’s not that simple and it’s not that easy, but my point is that our attitude shapes what is possible, and if public servants choose to believe, and I know many who do, then real change is not only possible but inevitable. If you don’t believe me, listen to what Master Yoda has to say.