A fundamental issue for the on-going transformation in any organization into a service provider of the future, in particular, is leadership. Leadership at all levels to make things happen. As the leader, the key to managing such transformation was to institute an enterprise wide change management strategy whose key focus was to establish a credible case for change; mobilize support for the management team; communicate; effectively involve all people etc. In these circumstances it was my responsibility as the leader to build capacity to embrace change to ensure that any change initiatives that are focused on creating high performing teams are defined, developed and delivered in a timely manner.
Strategic Planning and Management
As a leader it was my responsibility to ensure that the process of making fundamental improvements in service delivery started with an understanding of the strategic intent, before being bogged down with operational issues and crisis management. An understanding of the entire value chain from the political imperatives which drove policy to how policy was developed and how it was implemented was crucial. This enabled everyone within the organization to not only understand their roles in a larger context but also enabled them in strategizing for the future.
In all the jobs I held effective and efficient service delivery required the need to have a strong administrative support system for performance of core functions. This entailed improving the efficiency of functions in the various business units by making work processes better, faster and cheaper to achieve results. It was also my responsibility and the team I lead to prove the value of our administrative expertise by rethinking how work was done and where required, implement a system that allowed for sharing of information and certain services and created centres of expertise that gathered, coordinated and disseminated vital information about clients, processes, services etc.
Managing and Monitoring Performance of Staff
As both leader and manager I was responsible for establishing an effective control environment as part of my stewardship responsibility over the use of resources. I ensured that the management team set the tone through their actions, policies and procedures that resulted in a culture of positive control. Planning, implementing, supervising and monitoring formed fundamental components of a sound system of internal control. I subscribed (and still do) to the view that successful organizations are those that are able to quickly turn strategy into action, maximize employee contribution and commitment and create conditions for seamless change. Linked to strategic planning and management was the implementation of the performance management system for sections, business units and individuals where performance targets were set to manage staff towards specific outputs.
Stakeholder Management and Networking
The major portion of my latest working life was in local government and stakeholders included councillors, management, staff, trade unions, local communities, general public, higher levels of government, suppliers etc. Effective and efficient service delivery required that relationships with all these stakeholders be maintained. Successful implementation of service delivery programmes and projects sometimes required the organization I worked for to call on the expertise of key players in the broader community to act as source of local knowledge and ensure everyone works towards the stated objectives. The broader community, private sector and higher levels of government were very useful sources of additional ideas and resources.