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4 Things Public Sector Leaders Must Do To Succeed

Written by on March 19, 2014

Many of the world’s leading organizations link core competencies with their goals and their ability to deliver results.

In the public sector, core competencies are considered critical to successful outcomes.

The Ontario Public Service (OPS) identifies four core competencies.



They include the ability to:

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  1. Transform: Maximize investments and meet the demands of internal and external clients and stakeholders, as well as the general public.
  2. Connect: Build successful relationships with individuals, teams, stakeholders, and partners.
  3. Deliver: Deliver excellent results and be accountable.
  4. Inspire: Communicate the vision and the values of the organization, gaining consensus and motivating people to action.

Sometimes it’s hard to identify how each quality manifests in our day-to-day workplace contributions. What I’ve learned through practice is that these competencies are not stand-alone qualities. Each competency requires task-based capabilities with a strong focus on people.

In my previous role as Assistant Deputy Minister at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO), I led the development and implementation of a strategic plan to make Ontario a recognized world leader in accessibility. At first, things came together very slowly. The legislation provided a process for the development of standards and everything was very prescriptive in terms of what needed to happen.

Standards development committees were established in 5 key areas.  Members came from the disability community, the private sector, government and the broader public sector such as transit providers and hospitals. When I started, our standard for customer service was on the way to being completed. All of the other standards were in various stages of development.

Meetings were quite problematic at first. They were not based on consensus building, even though many ministries were involved. The attitude was that accessibility was not part of the core business for many ministries, so most people felt they didn’t have a role at the table. Some people neglected to contribute at meetings because they didn’t want to offend other stakeholders. The challenge was to take that situation and turn around the completion of five standards that would become regulation.

I had to figure out a way to Connect with my ADM colleagues in a way that would bring them onboard and make them part of the solution. We needed to Transform our thinking by adopting an enterprise-wide approach instead of treating issues in a silo manner.

I was able to establish a different kind of committee for the Assistant Deputy Minister that brought everybody together into consensus. This was the time to Inspire each stakeholder in the process by communicating our vision and the values of the organization, gaining consensus and motivating people to action. Consensus was essential to delivery because there is no way we could go ahead with the new standards without cooperation and collaboration from key stakeholders – like the Ministry of Transportation.

We successfully Delivered the accessibility standards because we focused on integrating the strengths of each key competency.

People matter and relationships matter – if you can’t develop crucial working relationships, you can’t deliver a successful outcome. Successful delivery results from bringing other successful competencies to bear.