Covid-19 response has caused our public sector organizations to retrench and reload.

Now it’s time to lock in on the target.

Public organizations have begun defining their path to operations where our current response efforts are not temporary but have to be integrated and sustained.

This requires the ability to take the long view – sustaining the current intensity of support for front line needs while integrating that effort with the whole mission of the organization.

Several current factors call for this focus on balanced and effective operations:

  • Reopening plans are now being developed in all levels of government.  This requires the skill to reconcile multiple viewpoints and establish consensus without wasted time.
  • Old operating plans cannot carry forward in ongoing response.  Classic strategies ranging from desktop computers in cubicles to just-in-time inventory shipments have been challenged and will require new approaches.
  • Likely budget shortfalls due to shifting tax implications and cost of response will require strategies to derive maximum value from existing resources.

In my last article, I proposed three fundamental tenets that should be applied as characteristics when remodeling operations.  To recap:

  • Capacity:  The current ability to do work.  Capacity is about where we are today on the fundamental building blocks that do work in our processes.  We increase capacity (and its close sister, capability) when we improve the operating model.
  • Agility: Maximizing our resources by designing effective processes.  We have to build understanding concepts such as constraints, throughput, and velocity as we remodel our processes to eliminate unproductive, antiquated, and duplicative actions that do not contribute to the creation of value.
  • Resiliency:  The ability to maintain quality service in less than ideal circumstances.  As we learn and adapt, our organizations need to reduce single points of failure and build an organization that can take the bumps in the road without cracking and breaking.

Applying these principles to our organizations involves first engaging individuals in the organization to capture a tactical view from their seats.  We need to take our current business out of our brains and our emails, and capture the collective wisdom on barriers, changes, and new priorities now, not waiting for an after-action report, because we can’t realistically project when it will be “after.”

Public Sector leaders then need to incorporate these viewpoints into a greater whole that builds consensus on needs to sustain the current activities, while rebalancing actions and priorities so that our deferred work does not become the next crisis.

Several of our clients have begun applying these principles through facilitated New Normal Design Exercises in recent weeks, and report outs are forthcoming.  We will be profiling Public CPOS as well as other Public Administration Officials in how they have begun their pivot to the New Normal.

Let me know what you’d like to see in these profiles in the coming weeks, and join in the conversation below.

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