Our Exec Team meeting this morning was given over, as it is once a month, to scrutinising the progress of our transformation programme. Lots of talk of “pipelines”, “idea summaries”, “benefits realisation” and the like.
In the course of the meeting there was also some conversation about change in general and how well the organisation is embracing it. The issue was the extent to which the business as usual focus of our managers and their teams is preventing them from applying the resources needed to deliver on the change agenda. Service redesign make big demands on any organisation’s resources, and we do have to maintain service delivery. That goes without saying. So what is the answer?
I fully accept the idea that change is the new normal. In public services the way we do what we do is, in a nutshell, unsustainable. Current service formats are by and large unaffordable into the future. We have to identify and implement delivery approaches which safeguard services and access to them in forms which are not only affordable but which also match the aspirations of individuals and communities. We have to accept that the expectations of service users in relation to public services are increasingly shaped by the 24/7 self-service availability of the all the other things we all do in our lives. At the council we just have to get with the programme….
Which brings me to the question of the extent to which a corporate transformation programme is a straightjacket constraining innovation in the organisation rather than supporting it.
My response to that is that it’s certainly not our intention to constraint and require conformity, but some things have to be corporate. And somethings are in fact better done at scale across the whole organisation. But in the new normal every team needs to get on and do what it can to innovate and improve. The questions we have to ask ourselves before we act at team level are “how will what I plan to do now impact on others? Does it complement the big picture or contradict it?” What I am saying is get on with it, but be mindful….