A Change Is Gonna Come: mission, workforce & leadership in government

There are major forces in play affecting government workforces, missions, and cultures.

Here, my reply to a post from the well-known government consultant Bill Eggers. Bill’s post suggested methods and approaches to public sector improvement.


Bill, I would suggest all this, and more. We are experiencing a catalytic time of change for government work and workers. At the Federal level, and also in some states, changes are simultaneously impacting the fundamental missions, and the structure of human resource management. The challenges of recruiting and retaining competent, dedicated employees have never been greater (particularly at the Federal level).

Complex challenges require a foundation of rational cognition and discernment, the capacity to engage in generative dialogue about meaning and coordinated action, and the simultaneous qualities of curiosity and courage.

To meet the clear and agreed-upon needs and wants of citizens requires a right-sized workforce, fully funded to successfully achieve their mission, with both accountability, and commitment to continuous improvement.

All of this demands leadership that both understands the distinction between technical/complicated, and complex/adaptive situations, and which will act optimally in each domain. The knowledge, skills, and methods to succeed are here now. Whether public sector leaders have the courage to adopt them remains to be seen.

What do you and others think?

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