A community with no mandate, united by our principles – OneTeamGov goes Global


How was OneTeamGov Global?

Pure luxury!

The chance to spend a day in the company of 500+ people who share the same simple, highly motivating principles.

A movement so nicely positioned; both inside and outside; #OfTheGovernment, not owned by the Government.

A show of strength in numbers. We filled the QE2 Centre! Now nobody need ever feel alone, even if they’re the first OneTeamGov participant from their particular agency or department.

Seeing a Liberating Structure in action to fill a 14 parallel track, 70 session unconference grid with minimal faff – amazing! James’ write up of the method is much too modest.

The hard but unobtrusive work of the brilliant OneTeamGov volunteers. Every detail of the participant experience considered, so that everyone else could be fully present and enjoy the day.

Seeing familiar faces again. A who’s who of reform in digital government, including a fair few who passed through the learning and development courses I helped to produce and deliver at GDS and DWP.

Meeting new colleagues and kindred spirits from around the world. In particular those who I’ve followed on Twitter from afar. Also, Canada wins at stickers.

How can we stop disempowering people?

The session I pitched had a deliberately ambiguous title – I wanted to know, when participants saw the word “people,” whether they thought first of the people we serve, or the people who deliver service? It turned out to be both, and a consensus that we can only empower citizens if staff are also empowered. It’s also my contention that it’s not the government’s job to empower anyone – everyone should start with power, our job is not to disempower them.

At the end of the session everyone came up with a thing they could do to stop disempowering people. Sticky notes were as follows:

  • Give people data to help them improve their work. Stop using it to performance manage.
  • Make decisions based in data and evidence
  • Set boundaries to empower people in a hierarchy
  • Consider the impact of small actions in the context of power
  • Ask your team to make decisions and state intent rather than ask permission
  • Use the right language. Team leader -> coach?
  • Key question: What do you think?
  • Inform. Inspire, Empower.
  • Emphasise how the different systems disempower citizens.
  • Empower citizens with familiar systems across borders
  • Share stories of success when people use their initiative
  • Use your power to amplify voice of those less powerful
  • Ask questions that people know the answer to
  • We need to cut out the time we ask people to spend interacting with government. What things can you do in your org to reduce the stress / time people have to spend
  • Managers need clear job descriptions out in the open
  • Redefine management roles – to not make decisions
  • Redefine the role of manager – coaches/enablers
  • Amplify voices of others + seek diversity of views

Just some micro-actions for my to-do list!

Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

See also, post from OneTeamGov 2017.

One thought on “A community with no mandate, united by our principles – OneTeamGov goes Global

  1. Nice perspective, Matt, and thanks for proposing what I found to be the most interesting of all the interesting sessions I experienced.

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