Monday, June 19, 2017 - 12:00
How to place agility at the core of your public sector organisation

The world around us is changing at a rapid rate. Economies, industries, markets and technologies are constantly evolving. For organisations to stay thrive and stay competitive in changing environments, they need to be agile.

For the Australian public sector, practising the art of agility presents a unique challenge due to the sheer scale and size of both state and federal governments. Stability is also incredibly important in the public sector. A certain level of stability needs to exist in order to maintain the institutions, infrastructure and services that the community and country relies on. Fortunately, you don’t need to sacrifice stability for the sake of agility. In most cases, they are complimentary.               

To build agility within any organisation, you need two things:

  1. A dynamic capability to move quickly and be responsive to the changing needs of your clients.
  2. A stable platform that can act as an anchor while other parts of the organisation change around it.

So how do you build that dynamic capability in a public sector organisation without sacrificing the stability that’s required to deliver on core services? Here are some actionable steps to place agility at the core of your public sector organisation.

Embrace diversity

To increase agility among public sector organisations, leaders need to embrace diversity at every level. Whether that’s through legislated and/or regulated initiatives, or through a more informal cultural approach. By providing an inclusive workplace that supports diverse team members, organisations can respond to change more effectively.

Avoid unnecessary decision-making hierarchies

There are plenty of scenarios within the public sector where multi-tiered decision-making hierarchies are vital for protecting the integrity of government processes. However, it’s important to review the decision-making structure of public sector organisations to make sure they’re able to deliver the services that citizens need, when they need them. At times, there will be situations where individuals are attempting to get an outcome from a government department and they’re left waiting endlessly for decisions to be made. Avoid unnecessary decision-making hierarchies where possible as it will impede an organisation’s ability to be agile.

Remain customer-centric

Customer’s expectations of service have changed drastically in recent years. In an era where individuals can have nearly every consumer product or service delivered to them at the touch button, public sector organisations must recognise that they are operating in the same customer-centric environment. Customer service is a capability that can be developed at every level of an organisation to ensure the needs of stakeholders are placed front and centre when designing a new process or delivering a service.

For public sector organisations reviewing their training and development programs, they need to ensure that the are developing the same skills and capabilities that their private sector counterparts rely on for a competitive advantage. Diversity, autonomy and service excellence are crucial elements for building a more agile organisation. In addition, a commitment to building agility as a core organisational competency will allow public sector organisations to continue adapting in increasingly dynamic and uncertain environments.

AIM is committed to developing capability in the public sector. We will partner with you to develop your people, from entry-level graduate training through to senior executive development programs. View our full range of courses and book your training today. Alternatively, please call 1300 658 337 to speak with an AIM Training Advisor.

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