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I work for a Government department in UK. I have a staff of 80 people at a number of locations and we turnover around £85m per year. I listen to the podcasts as I travel around. Much of what I hear is directly relevant and useful and I only wish I had been listening 15 years ago as I am sure I would have been able to do a better job. However there are times when I wonder if there are differences between working in the public or private sectors that would mean that managers would need to things differently. I usually try to equate taxpayers to shareholders for example and while this works some of the time there are times when the comparison breraks down. Are there any podcasts that look at the issue of management in the government sector?

Mark's picture

We have no plans to make different podcasts for different industry groups or specialties.  We try to focus on individual managment behaviors, rather than groups of managers. 

A way to think about this is that our guidance is good for 90% of managers 90% of the time.

I don't think managing in the government is more than 5% different than the for profit world, and that 80% of that 5% is in financial stuff.

Mark

afmoffa's picture

Even if M-Tools had podcasts about government, I suspect their advice would largely draw upon their experience working for the US Federal Government (US Army counts, right?) You might not find that advice germane to your UK government workplace. I say that as someone who holds Mark and Mike's advice in high regard.

For most of us, the answer is to listen to Manager Tools for the general, universally-applicable stuff, and then listen to someone else for industry specifics. There are times when Manager-Tools' advice is wrong for my industry, and there are even times when a trade journal for my field is wrong for my company (which is British-owned, by the way). Mark and Mike are right most of the time, and it's my job to spot those occasions when I need to follow other guidance. I think it's to your credit that you realize shareholders are only a partial analogue for taxpayers.

One of the best things about Manager-Tools is the absence of jealousy: Mark and Mike are frequently talking about other books, journals, and podcasts they like. I'm sure there are podcasts, blogs, or discussion boards where you can get the specific advice you need. Those sources might not be as charismatic as Mark Horstman, but the plus side is those podcasts are probably a lot shorter. (Couldn't resist)

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I've worked across all three sectors in the UK.  In my experience the differences, in terms of day-to-day management grind, between public and private sector orgs are dwarfed by the differences between large and small orgs in the same sector.  There are some differences, public sector tends to be much more heavily audited and focused on following the letter of policies and procedures than private.  Timescales also tend to be longer, where I'm currently working (private sector firm providing skills and consultancy to  public sector bodies) we are often working on programmes that run for 5 or more years and have pay off periods of 15 years or more.  You don't get that in a lot of private sector companies (Big Pharma, Civil Engineering, Property Management and Aerospace are the only ones that come to my mind, no doubt there are others).  One programme will only know if it has succeeded or failed in 60-70 years, by which time everyone currently working on it will probably be dead or many years retired.  That is an extreme case though.

Of the 4 key tools in the trinity I think perhaps Delegation is the one that  travels least well to the public sector, in particular Local Government and NHS after the introduction of Single Status in the former and Agenda for Change in the latter.  Both of these made role definitions much more rigourous and automated the link between role and pay, they also defined (to differeing degrees) that regardless of what your job description says your pay should relfect what you, and others in that role, actually do not just want it says on a  piece of paper that neither you nor you manager has seen in 5 years.  If you delegate heavily you may find yourself in the position that the people you have delegated to can put in a sucessful regrade request as they have been working sufficiently above their grade to earn a jump to the next grade.  Even prior to this I saw a real resistance to delegation in local government.  I guess you're civil service, as you say Government Department.  I don't know if they have an equivalent to Single Status or Agenda for Change. 

Feedback (especially if you follow the guidance of much more affirming feedback than adjusting and starting with affirming) works very well in the public sector.  O3s can also work well.  Coaching works better in some areas of the public sector than in others.  This is mostly to do with differing attitudes to life long learning.  From what I've seen Health/Social care organisations and departments tend to be quite open to it, as does anthing related to Teaching/Education or IT, anything related to law, finance, housing or audit tends to be downright hostile.  These are just tendencies and reflect my experience and comments made to me by colleagues.  Your experience may differ.

 

Stephen

 

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Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack

 

tiomikel's picture

I work for a philanthropic effort with stable annual funding. So, I am in a situation where we do not have to raise money so there are no customers, no competition, no fundraising, no growth. We are small - 40 employees. We are very autonomous in that I am left to create my own goals and measures of success.

Despite this unique situation, I have found it useful to institute one one ones and I am studying up on feedback, coaching and delegation. I've identified significant areas where these will be applicable. In fact, I recommended Manager Tools to one of my direct reports and we're looking at upcoming MT conferences to attend.

The only place I haven't found much help on here at MT or elsewhere is on developing long term strategy. Every book, podcast, online reference that I have checked all reference competition of some kind. Good to Great focuses on companies and profits and even their social sector monograph refers to competition for resources. Because, we are pretty much guaranteed our annual funding, there is little sense of urgency to dig into strategic thinking and I haven't had success finding something to build that sense of urgency. I may cross-post this on the strategy forum just to seek ideas. Because, the bottom line of this comment is that I have found numerous application of Manager Tools to our situation.

Michael

Felipe161's picture

 Thanks for such a prompt reply. From what I have seen the main difference seems to be a propensity to draft in very senior management who maybe don't have any sector or subject matter expertise - I know that is what they pay us for but I think from what i have heard from your casts that you have an expectation that the senior leadership knows enough about the business sector to make good choices, even when they are tough ones. I don't want to come across as some kind of stalker so please don't feel the need to respond 

Felipe161's picture

I think i am confusing the reply function and the write to author function - sorry 

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I am intrigued by what you mean by "propensity to draft in very senior management".  A key issue I've seen relates to the public sector tending to be much more heavily audited.  Many senior managers seem to institute systems where any but the most trivial decisions have to be cleared by them before actioning and all expediture be signed off by them before payment.  I've seen the more junior managers (and individual contributors) often get very frustrated that something that should take less than a day now takes a week because they have to get time on their boss' boss' calendar.

 Stephen

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Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack