I was part of an event this morning organized by one of our industry associations of which I am a board member …NACCB (Canada). We had three very senior government technology executives talk about their challenges and how they might relate to our industry.
I was struck by a number of things …
1. This was a sold out event, and the feedback from everyone i spoke to was that it was excellent information and a great way to learn about three different government departments in one place. So … why don’t we do this more?
2. The public sector guys spoke about all of the same “stuff” we talk about in the private sector … productivity, return on investment, value etc. So … we are more alike than most think.
3. These senior people get bombarded with requests for meetings to the point where they need ways to handle it (one has a specific number of meetings a week rule). They gave good advice … call the relevant person in my organization, not me “I am not involved at the level of detail that makes any sense!” So … despite the old sales methodologies teaching us to start at the top and work your way down, the word from “the horses mouth” is deal with the appropriate person!
4. There are perceptions that civil servants don’t work hard and have a stress free life. All three of these executives had private sector experience and, today as senior civil servants all are under tremendous pressure to deliver, from their client base, from the politicians who drive departmental direction and with scrutiny coming at them from every corner (Auditor General, Program reviews, the press etc). It is a great reminder that in order to serve our clients well we need to understand their pain … today some of us in the room learned a little about their pain.
5. Generally I was reminded that communication is a GREAT thing. The more we talk, the more we understand and so often the more we find that we agree about!
It was a good event, the speakers were great and it was time well spent for everyone.
Special thanks to Mostafa Zommo from HRSDC, Peter Bruce from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada and Fil Gagliardi from Fisheries and Oceans.