5 Paradigm Shifts for #localgov

Most people know I think a lot – I was recently thinking about culture and mediocrity within local government and the wider public sector and have considered the following:

1. Culture
Number 1 on any list in my humble opinion – the culture of local government generally is one that often assumes that external changes and challenges will often pass by and that a slower pace of change is sometimes considered as the most appropriate way forward. But that is no longer a valid assumption

The Old Paradigm: “Head down and it will all go away.”

The New Paradigm: “Embrace the new direction and provide leadership.”

2. Mindset

You often get people who simply turn up and literally sit in meetings and contribute nothing…I’ve always been a fan of the rule of two feet, if it isn’t working for you leave.

Old Paradigm: “Just put your body in the room.”

New Paradigm: “Show up with a creative, open mindset.”

3. Group Wisdom

Obvious perhaps, but just because someone has been promoted to the top of the organisations, it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean they know more than anyone else…In my personal opinion most senior people are actually more politically aware than intellectually aware.

Old Paradigm: “All wisdom exists at the top.”

New Paradigm: “Listen and make space for various voices.”

4. Environment

I’ve only really recently appreciated this one, most people are forced into cultures that require them to sit in rows, in quiet offices, without any real social interaction even when the rooms are open plan. I understand that the sector is rationalising property assets and encouraging hot-desking and the like but we really should think about what we are trying to do…

Old Paradigm: “Do what is normal.”

New Paradigm: “Approach space creatively to serve the purpose.”

5. Vision

For me this could have also been called purpose…why do we do the things we do…A recent session at Open Space South West creatively called “reducing isolation and helping those who give a shit”

Old Paradigm: “Work to get paid.”

New Paradigm: “Make your work about something bigger.”

That is enough for me for now…


3 thoughts on “5 Paradigm Shifts for #localgov

  1. I think this is good ground for lots of contributions from others, and an excellent thought-provoker. Two from me:

    From my own perspective, both inside and outside local gov, I see a lot of people working in local gov complaining that expectations of them are unrealistic, that they are being “picked on”, and so on. Mostly from those refusing to acknowledge how much the world has changed and is leaving them behind.

    Old paradigm: “Not for nothing are we called an Authority”.

    New paradigm: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    Risk averse local government is incredibly slow to explore and exploit new opportunities from technology, legislation, etc. At all levels you will hear and see the effects of people basically saying “Just keep your head down. It’s a fad, and it’ll pass.”

    Old paradigm: “We’re here because we have a long history”.

    New paradigm: “The one thing history teaches, is that history doesn’t teach very much.”

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