September 14, 2012 By Steve Ressler
What does the next generation of government look like? What are the major challenges in government, and how do we recruit, retain and train the next generation of leaders to solve these problems?
Lucky for you, I have answers.
I recently spent two days with 600-plus government leaders at the Next Generation of Government Training Summit co-hosted by GovLoop and Young Government Leaders. With speakers like White House CTO Todd Park, sessions on topics such as analytical insights and more, the audience was engrossed and focused on how to make big change in government.
I took away five key themes about the next generation of government leaders:
So how can you make the most of this next generation of government leaders?
Provide them with problems to solve. Participants got revved up about problem solving. There was overwhelming attendance for three problem-solving sessions, during which senior leaders gave examples of problems they faced and teams had 60 minutes to solve them. Attendees felt they made an impact, and senior leaders came away with new possible solutions. It’s a great way to match the action-oriented focus with your need for potential solutions to real problems.
Leverage their curiosity. As next-gen government leaders seek new approaches like design thinking, encourage this exploration and provide a funnel for these ideas. Have leaders organize brown bag lunches on new ideas and best practices. Allow one of your meetings to be facilitated in a new way or a small project managed in a new approach.
Reconnect to the purpose. The work of government matters, and as government employees, we work every day to deliver for citizens on important issues. Remind folks of the impact they are making — collect and share testimonials and encourage staff to visit their impact area. For example, if employees worked on an IT project that delivers food stamps, they should visit a grocery store to see how their job made it easier for food stamp recipients to make purchases.
The next generation of government is here, and we need to harness the new energy and approaches if we are going to solve the large public-sector problems we will face over the next decade.
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