Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Inside Story

Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Inside Story

Article excerpt

It has often been said at management seminars that managing change is like wrestling a gorilla. But having the strength and perseverance to implement change is critical in today's jungle.

In the public human services world, too many executives and managers know that the jungle they face includes dealing with limited funds, stagnation, process problems, increased public and legislative demands, and an aging infrastructure. Too often, public human service agency staff ask, "How can we step back and see the forest when our daily functions require intimacy with not only trees but bark itself?"

Changing an organizational environment requires an ability to embrace a very large vision. Managing change requires the inspired reordering of the familiar into something new, the foreign into something of value. It requires a mental remove from today's problems and issues, and an imagining of a broader future that is nothing more than dreams, but with a will to turn those dreams into a reality. Managing change requires us to look at leadership.

In the corporate world, appointments and dismissals of chief executive officers (CEOs) make headline news and have a substantial influence on stock prices. Corporate performance is often described as a product of one individual's leadership. The success of such corporations as Coca-Cola, General Electric, and IBM is not considered a product of the thousands of people they employ, but of the individual leadership qualities of Goizueta, Welch, and Gerstner.

But leadership in a vacuum isn't leadership at all. What impact can any CEO have speaking to an empty room? It is the people who work for an organization and their willingness to accept, embrace, and further a leader's vision that ultimately determine results. Managing change successfully involves both leaders and staff embracing and performing leadership duties at all levels of an organization.

That's the underlying message in our cover feature, "Making Service Integration a Reality," by Nancy L. Polend of the APHSA staff. As we continue our coverage of service integration, the need for public human service agencies to integrate services is apparent. Yet service integration requires a massive change to take place within a human service agency. …

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