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Mangement Cousel Newsletter: Issue 3
Public Sector Growth

There is not much support for growth in the public sector. Outsourcing or privatizing reduces the numbers of public servants, and lowered spending reduces the numbers of government programs. This has met with wide spread support, albeit with some discussion of "reinvesting" or strategic spending for such matters as child poverty or employment.

The private sector is currently emphasizing growth and a growth orientation. Why? Because it has been shown that constant "downsizing" or creating value for shareholders by focusing on cost reduction has not proven to be successful long term. Growth equals challenges -- shrinking equals stresses.

Can we conceive of an approach in the public sector where the positive features of growth are resident, while not breaching the maxim of lowered or contained spending?

"Mission Possible" by Ken Blanchard of "One Minute Manager" fame presents an interesting question: "Which approach is better -- improving what is, or creating what isn't?" He postulates that both are needed.

If public sector organizations answer "YES" to both elements of this question, it is possible that a positive attitude, reflective of growth in the private sector, could be achieved.

For example, if one focuses on "improving what is" the benefits of service improvement and lowered costs could be achieved, with a sense of accomplishment being shared by employees.

And as we have not solved all of the social, health, and educational requirements, creating something that isn't must also be embraced, again with a sense of accomplishment to be shared.

But underlying this must be stability and confidence for the employees, for it is they who will undertake this work. Presuming that this condition can be established, then Mission Possible suggests an approach to creating a "growth" like atmosphere in the public sector.