There was a 15% increase in productivity for the agency because of the new operating model.
A large government agency needed to change its business processes to become more efficient. The agency allocates grants to third-party organizations that deliver a range of frontline social services to citizens. The organization previously adopted standard business processes, but the benefits were short-lived because of a high degree of resistance to change. The leaders engaged BCG to deliver a client learning and enablement program to drive lasting change. BCG helped realign processes, structures, and capabilities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery and standardize the experience for customers.
Over the course of eight months, BCG designed and implemented a new operating model with common business functions that ensured consistency and efficiency across the agency’s business lines. The effort started with a bottom-up culture and change-readiness diagnostic, including workshops, focus groups, interviews with senior leaders, and all-staff surveys. The results identified several cultural risks in which individual attitudes conflicted with what was needed for change to succeed—particularly a reluctance to standardize processes. (Employees felt that vertically integrated business lines led to better accountability but also to high variability in processes and costs, as well as duplication of efforts.) That meant the agency would need to address the people side of change for the effort to take root.
Aligned with the case for change, BCG implemented a change program designed to motivate and enable senior leaders from across the organization to successfully lead and promote change efforts. Through an extensive series of workshops and practical training, 22 of the agency’s senior executives were trained in change leadership. By the end of the program, these leaders were cascading the case for change themselves throughout the organization. Overall, the effort led to greater standardization in processes, a marked change in behaviors, and an increase of 15% in productivity. A more lasting change is that the agency’s leaders—and the overall organization—are now enabled to drive change in the future.
To solve 21st century problems and retain their credibility, governments must escape their silos and get up to speed with digital services.
Obstacles to scaling agile in the public sector are not to be underestimated. But governments that succeed can deliver faster and better and more cost effectively.