Pick up any newspaper over the past 6 months and you will have read commentary on such issues as interims earning more than the Prime Minister, the over reliance on Management Consultants by various Departments and the waste of public funds on external support. All this whilst thousands of Public Servants are being made redundant. Great strap lines, but the reality is that these are ill informed attempts at deflection from the real issues and an apparent reluctance in the public sector to utilise external assistance.
Reluctance to utilise interim expertise
Let us sort the wheat from the chaff. Civil Servants are being made redundant because the Departments were long overdue a “rightsizing exercise”. The burning platform is the financial imperative, which is why action is actually being taken this time around. Departments are facing significant budgetary cuts. So how are they going to deliver more with less resource? Departments are not staffed by turnaround and transformational expertise, they have to look to external assistance for that expertise, and that comes at a cost. But do not confuse cost with value, which is what high performing external assistance, like interim management, can deliver.
Departments are indicating a reluctance to use such external assistance for fear of appearing in the press or handing political capital to the opposition or other groups with vested interests, as opposed to grasping the nettle and delivering real change. Leadership is about setting the agenda and getting things done, not about kicking difficult things into the long grass or worrying what others will say when you know it is what you should be doing.