Bringing Business Skills to the Public Sector

A public entity has a monopoly in its market. But its existence is still dependent on the revenue that it produces—revenue that funds a number of important services provided by the government. So when its revenue began declining, it was an important problem.

The entity did its first IC Rating™ in the middle of the downturn. The key takeaway was that the entity’s brand was very weak. Brand is actually a very important barometer for any entity, public or private—it reflects the total of everything you are doing in the market. It was also clear that the staff needed to improve its “business skills.” Management got to work and with training and new branding efforts, engineered a turnaround that got the entity back on track. They also launched new technology with the potential to radically improve their business model.

Two years later, the entity repeated the rating process. The new rating confirmed that the brand and the underlying business recipe had strengthened. Although the benefit of initial training in business skills was evident, it was equally clear that there was a need for additional training in order to fully exploit the potential of their new technology. The new rating also highlighted the need for a next step in the development of staff business skills—to build stronger relationships with the private sector business partners that help the entity deliver their services.

Branding, staff development, technology and business recipe—these factors are as important to public entities as they are in the private sector. But, like their private sector counterparts, leaders of public entities struggle with the fact that these factors are intangible, difficult to measure, and hard to manage. So getting concrete information and feedback from stakeholders can be a critical catalyst in “seeing” what must happen to get an organization to the next level.

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