A Taste of Government – Graduate Event
I just love the way that three secretaries brings a hush to every room, no matter how big. Hello and welcome to you all. Welcome to the first 2017 graduate event, a taste of government. Let me first acknowledge the Ngunnawal people and their ancestors of the traditional owners of the land we're meeting on the day, pay my respects to others past and present and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island colleagues with us here today.
I'm Stephanie Foster. I'm the Deputy Public Service Commissioner, and it is my great pleasure to MC the event for you today. My first task is to introduce our star-studded line-up. But before we get to them, I want to spend just a moment on you.
So last year, at this time, we had an awful lot of Sarahs and a whole lot more Davids. This year, I'm pleased to say we've done away with the whole gender thing. The most common name in the room is Alex. And there should be 13 of you out there. I'd like you to raise your hands and give us away. Yoo-hoo.
So David has plunged wildly in popularity and we have just one single specimen today. David. We've got more. Two!
So now we know a little bit about you. Why are you important to us, why are we here? You might be sitting there full of ambition to change the world. You may feel a vocation to serve the people of Australia. Or, as I was 30 short years ago, you may still be exhilarated by the fact that someone is prepared to pay you to stay at home on public holidays. And at the same time, utterly exhausted by the feat of turning up every day by day of the week and putting in a full day's concentrated work.
This is the first of four events at which we bring together the APS graduate cohort, and it's fitting that your first experience should be held at Parliament House and it should focus on your role as public servants on serving ministers and government. And on your role as leaders and on the importance of the values that underpin everything that we do.
And as much as I'd love to talk to you about those things today, it actually my role to facilitate your dialogue with more elevated luminaries. Or as my notes said, a distinguished panel of guest speakers. And here they sit, looking for all the world like they've always been serious, responsible bastions of the establishment.
But of course they, like you, like me, were once graduates, and lest they forget that, let me share in the intimacy of this great hall one little graduate story about each of them.
So firstly to my boss, the Honourable John Lloyd PSM. It sounds impressive, doesn't it? And he really looks the part. John suffers at these events from being the person I know best, about whom I have the very best stories, but I'm going to restrict myself to just one and a relatively tame one today so that we've got something to build on as the year goes on.
So John joined the Public Service Board, the predecessor to the Public Service commission, in 1903. Oh, I mean 1973. As I told him this morning, I was still wearing pigtails at that point. He joined not as one of the elite administrative trainees - and wouldn't we hate to be called that today - but as a general graduate entrant and as such, he was somewhat looked down on as a lesser form of life.
So he now has an absolute unholy joy in, as he says, running the joint. One of his first jobs as a graduate was to rule the red line in the attendance book after the last person to arrive at the appointed time of 8:30. Being a generous bloke with lots of friends who struggled to make the deadline, he used to leave a few blank lines above the red line every morning. He was, in fact, ahead of his time in commitment to flexible working hours.
Let me turn now to Frances Adamson, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Frances joined Foreign Affairs in 1985, a year after the Sex Discrimination Act was passed, and the first year when female graduates in Foreign Affairs outnumbered their male counterparts 14 to 12.
How fitting that she should be the first woman to lead the department. She and her cohorts were called Foreign Affairs Trainees, or FATs, until someone decided that wasn't quite dignified enough for future diplomats. So they became Graduate Trainees, or GTs, easing them into a future life on the cocktail circuit.
This was, in fact, more relevant to Francis than the department realised. She had a very serious flirtation with the idea of becoming a winemaker. I think there might have been a romantic influence there. And she was all ready to sign up for oenology at Roseworthy Agricultural College when she responded to an ad to visit Canberra and see economists in action and became enticed into the public service to the very great fortune of Australia.
And finally, to our third speaker, Chris Moraitis, Secretary of Attorney-General's Department. Chris is the baby of the group, having started as a FAT or a GT, as you please, in 1989. His first real test as a graduate came when he was part of a ministerial visit to Geneva.
He was dispatched to organise lunch and he was doing really well until they asked him what wine he'd like to order. So Chris was just a simple muso from the northern suburbs and unlike Frances, he didn't know much about wine at that age. So saying that he was a bit flummoxed, the restaurant asked if he would like a Semillon, which threw him even more because he had never heard of a grape variety called a Semillon.
So clearly, the Semillon chose well because Chris's career kicked on. The muso, however, has survived. Chris is the practice of no fewer than nine guitars, the last of which was purchased when his wife asked him to go down and buy some sour cream at the supermarket.
Just to even up the ledger, I was going to get self-confessional about my first ever public service happy hour in a gazebo in the gardens opposite Melbourne Victoria Barracks in the shadows of the shrine. And I have this hazy memory of grown men drinking champagne out of my open-toed court shoe, and a senior manager off in the distance shaking his head saying, "She'll be trouble."
But sadly, we don't have enough time to go there. So there's only one message that I want you to take away all of this nonsense before I invite John to the lectern. And that's the nurture of spark that made us select you.
There will be so many pressures, so many influences that combine to squash that. But what we need from you more than anything is for you to be you, to bring your diversity and thought, to have the courage to disrupt our system, and to maintain a burning passion to change the world for the better.
After our eminent guests have spoken, there will be time for questions. We are going to have three of our fabulous event staff standing in the aisles, and what we'll do, as Chris finishes, is asking to come and queue behind microphones so we don't waste time running around the hall.
And without further ado, I now ask the Honourable John Lloyd to take the floor.
HON. JOHN LLOYD:
Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for that wonderful, very honest introduction. I'm very pleased to be here today and I wish you well and hope that you're about to embark on a wonderful career. You are now members of the Australian Public Service and the Australian Public Service has a good, well-developed employment framework.
It's encapsulated essentially in the Public Service Act, which sets out employment principles, employment values and code of conduct. They're all very brief. They don't go to more than half a page. The code of conduct, although it does extend to 13 main items. And I think it's worthwhile becoming acquainted with. They're very sound, fair and common sense standards.
In particular, respect for you as an employee, respect for you to show your colleagues and clients, and fair treatment of an employee embedded in the standards. The Act lawfully makes proper use… It requires you to act lawfully to make proper use of resources and behave responsibly and with integrity.
The Public Service Act has four key themes. It is to create a public service which is a professional, efficient, effective and impartial. Your employment draws on other Acts as well, covering superannuation, health and safety, workers compensation, long service leave, and maternity and parental leave. This sets up a framework that the Parliament has endorsed. It ensures that your managers are accountable for treating you in a lawful and professional manner.
You have in front of you at the moment an enormous opportunity. I think if you listen, learn and apply yourself, you can have an excellent career. You're joining an APS that is staffed by many talented people like yourselves. Australians have come to expect high standards from its public service.
The recent cyclone and floods are an example. There are people from the APS now working hard in those areas to restore a vast range of services. In addition, work is valued every day across many aspects of the affairs of the nation that involves a public service.
I now turn to some tips about what you might consider to have a successful and fizzling career in the public service.
Firstly, watch people around you who are successful and apply their approach. Also, I think develop a broad understanding and interest in government and the area you are working in. The policy developed in the context of a particular area or event will generally have impacts in other areas of government. A well-developed capacity to understand the linkages, policies and decisions across government will prove valuable.
I suggest you make sure you are well read, not just about your area of expertise, but about government more generally. It does no harm to watch Question Time and take an interest in the issues that Parliament is engaged in.
Next, I think be true to yourself. There is no magic personality trait that guarantees success in the public service. You have to be astute, have some resilience, be keen to learn new things, but be true to your inner self. Successful people and leaders come in many forms. The characteristics ranging from the loud to the quiet and many qualities in between.
Take opportunities to broaden your skills and gain a new perspective, both inside and outside the APS. I also encourage people to maintain develop interests outside, and other activities outside of work. This could be in sport, community groups, volunteering, whatever takes your fancy. This helps you to be in a more rounded and better leader as you develop. Also, if you post in the ACT and they can be good to take it outside the Canberra fishbowl occasionally.
Now we all, at times… Things don't go as we planned. Mistakes do occur as we go about our work. We often wish we had done things differently. It's important to learn from them. If you do that, don't dwell on them, but move on. I'm always impressed by staff they can see how they can improve and work to that end.
So often, I've seen something that goes wrong become a turning point in a person's career and performance. At the same time, we don't want errors to be too frequent or monumental. Talking to your colleagues or supervisors can be a way to avoid that.
Think creatively. Challenge the system. They can be a temptation to fit in, but I can assure you that we value a different approach that you may bring.
I encourage you to embrace change when it comes along, to relish the challenge that your career presents, to enjoy engagement in the big issues of the day. Successful organisations are attuned to change and you will constantly encounter change during your career.
And finally, I recommend that you be… Have a degree of selfishness and ruthlessness about your career and the choices you make. You have to balance career and personal and family issues when making career choices. Never be too weighed down by a sense of allegiance to stay where you are. It's a better opportunity arises, then I suggest you grasp it if it suits you.
I, like most supervisors, support staff who embrace challenge and opportunity. So in conclusion, I wish you well in your career in the APS. Thank you.
Thank you, John. And showing our enormous flexibility as a senior leadership team, I think both Frances and Chris are going to speak from the table. So I'll hand over now to Frances.
It's a pleasure to be here with you today. Last time I was in this hall, two weeks ago, it was for an official lunch at the Prime Minister was hosting for Premier Li Keqiang of China and the room looked very different then than it does now.
But can I just say, Stephanie mentioned that I had been inspired, really - I mean, that's what happened - when I came to spend this week in Canberra as soon-to-be economics graduate. By the commitment, the passion that secretaries of that era, of 1984, had for their work and for the generous spirit in which they shared their experiences. And it was clearly a very welcoming place, even though, someone from Adelaide, Canberra, didn't hold a tremendous number of attractions.
So Stephanie has she said she hopes that you will nurture the spark that made us choose you. I hope that we, as a public service, will continue to nurture the spark that make you choose us. Because it was, we did this mutually. I hope we will continue to find each other as attractive 2 years, 5 years, 10, 20, 30 even. For me, it's 32 years already, as much as it is very hard to believe.
But I think, I want you to know that, through John's leadership in the leadership of secretaries like Chris on the work that Stephanie does, we are very attuned, alert to that.
All I wanted it today, really, is to say one of two things in the course of either what I say now or in response to questions that might be useful to you. And for each one of you, you'll probably take a couple of things from what we have said and maybe think about them and continue to think about them.
One thing I thought a lot about over the years was something my very First Deputy Head of Post, which will make sense to be DFAT's amongst you, but not necessarily to anyone else, to the Deputy Consul General in Hong Kong. I was sent to Hong Kong on my first posting.
And when I was a few days into the job, she said to me, "Start as you mean to continue." And I thought about this. What on earth does she mean, what on earth does she mean? And it wasn't until really months and months later that I finally worked out what she had meant.
I was inclined to throw myself with great gusto into my work. I was single at the time. Hong Kong was a fascinating place. There were never ending things to do and I found myself occasionally at home on weekends handwriting the quarterly economic brief on the Hong Kong economy. I wouldn't recommend that at all.
You are developing work habits now in these early days of the public health service which, if you are not careful, will become your entrenched work habits. And so for some of you, that could mean 35, even 40 years down the track, that you're still working hours that are too long, that you've not necessarily listened to John's advice and realised that balance is indeed important. Interests outside work, whatever they might be.
And one of my life-balancing interests, I have to say, is something I didn't have when I started as a public servant, but now I do. And that is four children. So to me, balances, I've been obliged, if you like, to build balance into my life. But I recommend you do it proactively and that you become very efficient to what you do and be able to get out the door at a reasonable time and not be so tied to your devices that you are constantly working.
Can I also suggest that sharing is pretty important. You are all getting to know each other. You will quickly realise - possibly already, but certainly weeks and months down the track - that each of you is starting to specialise in ways that are quite interesting. When you talk deeply about your own work on a Friday night, you might be meeting a colleague who's working, just as deeply engrossed in something else.
But you'll all, you'll develop areas of expertise. And across the public service, our advice to government or the services we deliver to the Australian people are always going to be better if we have consulted with colleagues. Obvious colleagues, perhaps, and some less obvious colleagues.
So there is a lot you can share in terms of experience, but there is a sort of need-to-know, who needs to know what I'm working on? Who needs to know before this goes to the Minister that I'm working on this and what perspectives might they have?
So you can obviously point and it will come naturally, but the serious point about it is there can be many different perspectives across the various departments and agencies, each one of them equally valid. I think Chris and I, who have worked together quite closely over a long period of time, we're still finding - in fact, we were just talking about one out there - that there are issues which, if you're not careful, we cannot necessarily bring all perspectives to bear on.
Another thing I want to say is, speaking of perspectives, that where you sit shapes very strongly, it's inevitable, your views on things. You're all public servants in departments and agencies, I think, at the moment not that over the course of your careers, however long or short they might be, other opportunities will open up. And occasionally, you might get a chance to relieve, as a DLO, a Departmental Liaison Officer in a ministerial office or later on, possibly even work under the Member of Parliament staff, act as a ministerial adviser.
Having done that myself on a couple of occasions, I'd strongly recommend it, even if you are only able to do it very briefly because the view from up here looks very different. And it helps inform what you do, if I can extend the metaphor, what you do down there. There is nothing like understanding the politics that individual members and senators bring into this place.
So staying connected with the Australian people is an important thing to do, too. Last week, my department brought back 100 ambassadors and high commissioners from overseas. We had them in Canberra for a couple of days and then they spread out across the whole country.
And one of my colleagues, who's been in the service for 25 years, confided to all of her colleagues that after 25 years, her in-laws still did not really understand what she did as a diplomat, did not understand what a Head of Mission does.
Now, I don't know whether all of you feel that your close relatives and friends necessarily understand what you do, but the point is we need to continue to build the support of the Australian people for what we do and why we do it, and that means having conversations, and as John says, it means getting outside the Canberra Beltway.
So I'm going to stop there as I think I've said enough to elicit a few questions later on. I'm very happy to talk about some of the personal things because I hope in Stephanie's opening in what we are all saying, we are very, very happy to share our personal experiences in as much as they may be relevant to you. Thank you.
Thanks very much, Stephanie. It's great to be here, and let me just endorsed comments made by everybody today, and I'll just emphasise a few points.
First of all, I think, Stephanie, you said you be you. You be you within reason. I think that's great. You've all come with different perspectives, different backgrounds. Some of you straight out of university, some have done a few other things before you've joined the APS as graduates.
But either way, I think it is really imperative, and everyone has emphasised this, we really need to have your perspective as individuals. We didn't recruit you from a certain cookie cutter mould. You come with your own unique perspectives, regional, generational, thematic, based on your background, whatever it may be.
So we really relish that and I think we need to ensure that that's kept in the limelight as we employ you in the APS.
The second thing I want to say is please be assured that all of us, me, Frances, John, Stephanie, we are really engaged in ensuring that we recruit the best possible graduates we can for the APS. We are committed to a very strong graduate recruitment process. The APSC invests a lot, including through forums such as this.
I've spent, on and off, 17 years recruiting graduates, both in my current role and previous roles in DFAT. And I know that it's an important imperative for us as the APS to really develop and nurture the graduates we do get.
So we do invest a lot of effort and time and thought into ensuring that you have the best possible introduction to the APS, understand what is at stake here and why we want you to succeed.
My personal view is I think the way an organisation approaches recruitment in the effort it puts into that is a very good predictive indicator of success and effectiveness of that organisation. And I think that's the APS's view and I think we will continue to ensure that we give you the best opportunities we can. I certainly do so in AGs.
Let me just make two observations about your career in the APS, and two aspects that I would like to emphasise that have emerged here.
The first is the importance of you all understanding that you need to really bring some skills in terms of critical thinking. As I said, you are who you are, but come with a critical mindset. Develop a way to distil concepts, to explain concepts, and to be good communicators and effective communicators, whether it's to your section head, to your secretary, to your fares, and ultimately to the Minister or to government.
You need to find ways to really convey and develop the policy in the ways that Frances has described. Engaging with all interlocutors, getting the various perspectives, and never assuming you know the answer is because of where you sit. I think that is very critical.
You got a lot of problems we have to deal with, a lot of challenges, and they change year in, year out. Things that I deal with today didn't exist 25 years ago when I joined as a graduate in DFAT. When I joined DFAT, my first job for the first five years of my public service life was abolishing chemical weapons. And so, watching what happened in the last 48 hours in Syria, to me, resonates.
However, and that's a great… I'm very proud of the achievement of abolishing a class of weapons of mass destruction, but at the same time, when I started in that space 25 years ago, I had no idea about any of that stuff. I didn't even realise it was actually a concern. And here we are in 2017 worrying about that.
But at the same time, I'm worrying about such as cyber, which literally, cyber security did not exist. There were computers like Wang an early days of Microsoft, the idea of the internet and what it meant for modern society was unknown. And I'm sure there were people in science-fiction books who wrote about this, but the reality was, I'm dealing with this now in a way that you'll probably deal with it as a graduate. You came from discipline without that knowledge.
So remember, you're coming to new challenges all the time, always cutting-edge challenges. The APS deals with challenges that don't have easy solutions. That's why I said we relish a perspective, we relish you having a critical mindset and understanding what you can bring to the equation.
The second point I would say is, again, it comes down to who you are, but you are joining an organisation and I want you to really start thinking about what sort of organisation you want to be a part of, and the culture and the mindset of this APS.
Frances, John and I work incessantly trying to develop a culture of integrity, of respect, a culture that nurtures and encourages the full spectrum of diversity and perspectives, and flexible working arrangements. Stephanie says, John was a pioneer of that in the '70s through his methodologies. But we have more sophisticated ways of doing it now.
It really is critical because the work that I put into my department, Frances puts into DFAT, it's not ourselves. It's for you and so we want you to be part of that, be part of that journey of understanding what sort of APS you want to be leading in 10, 15, 20 years' time.
And we've got some pretty clear signals of what sort of APS we want to be part of. There's a very high level of professionalism, a very high level of engagement, understanding the imperatives of the national interest, and what government expects from the APS. But also, as an organisation, how do we treat our people, what we expect of the workforce, what sort of culture we want to have an organisations.
They start with us, but they also continue and will be nurtured and grown with you, so. The conversation begins today for you. It's not something you can give to your branch heads or your directors or your head of corporate or your HR area. You're part of that culture development of the future APS. So start today and start thinking about…
Listen to what... Well, you may listen to what secretaries have to say, but please consider what we have to say about what we would like to see in the APS and see what you can do.
In my department, my experience is that graduates have a great role to play in nurturing the network of our organisation. They're playing a really critical role in bringing together the organisation in a very positive way. I think you can play a great role in that respect as well as learning through the experience of being part of that network in the early days.
So those two elements of our critical thinking and understanding what sort of culture, what role you want to play in contributing to that future culture of the APS.
I think also understand, working in the APS is not easy. Everyone comes with influences, family. We talk about the positives of having to explain what we do, social media, all the influences. But remember, you have a role to play in terms of understanding the government of the day's agenda and what it wants to achieve.
So understand how government works, understand how Parliament works, understand how ministerial offices work. I fully endorse Frances's point about getting a chance to work in a minister's office. I had the opportunity many years ago and that was an amazing experience to understand the different perspectives.
It also understand this. Whenever you're feeling the process or the system doesn't seem to be working for you, remember you are part of making the curve of Australian history bend a certain way. Whatever you do, whatever way you are involved in, whether it is service delivery, developing cutting-edge policy or implementing policy, or engaging stakeholders in developing a new way of looking at things, you are actually contributing to a long narrative, a long mosaic. And slightly, bit by bit, you are creating Australia's history.
So you're part of that discussion, you're part of the narrative. And remember, you are part of the ecosystem that creates what this country is all about. You're reflection of Australia and Australian society. I hope you are. And I think you'll be a big part of shaping the future of Australia.
And I really didn't appreciate that I first came to the APS, when I joined DFAT as a graduate. I had very limited horizons, to be honest, about what was possible. My horizons were quickly opened and made much broader and the journey for the last 26 or 27 years has been a very broad one. Contributions made to things over decades which, when you look back on, you think, well, I was part of that. I helped that or I might have done it differently then.
But irrespective of that, I can see that what I did and what you will do actually adds to the long narrative which is Australia. Australia is a relatively young country. John joined in 1903, but seriously, in the history of countries and nation-states, we are relatively young. The role of the Commonwealth has been a very important one in the nation building process.
Nation building is a big part of our agenda, and so you will be part of that. And you'll see in 5, 10, 15, 20 years' time that you'll make that contribution. And you will see even in your daily work, what's in the media, leaving aside the ephemeral nature of media, but you'll see your stuff has an impact and it does add to the narrative.
So contribute in a positive way, contribute in an agile and innovative way, listen to various perspectives. Bring your perspectives because I don't want you to have our perspectives, because we had a chance, we did it our way. It's up to you to do it your way.
So finally, let me just say to sum up. So your work, hopefully, in various agencies, I have worked in two. I spent 25 years in DFAT and two and a half in AGs. John is encouraging all to be broadminded and look across the APS and elsewhere in the private sector as well. I probably endorse that now, having seen the experiences I've had now.
Think about opportunities to develop yourself academically. I'm on the board, as is John, of the Sir Roland Wilson foundation, which encourages APS officers to take Ph.D. is at the ANU, which is a fantastic institution of again, nation building for Australia. It's a very important institution.
And also, as been alluded to by many speakers, you will work with a variety of teams as you work through the APS. Relish the opportunity of the various teams you work with and learn from each team and how its dynamics work, and also the individuals engaged in that team. You will learn so much from engaging with colleagues.
But the other lesson I learnt in the APS that 90% of learning is through engagement in teams or groups. As I learnt in my first posting in Geneva, I discovered from the hotel manager what a Semillon was that advantage of that.
It was my first test as a graduate, to get that lunch right for Gareth Evans. And I succeeded. Therefore, my career went the right way rather than being a total failure. So it comes down to little things and sometimes, but it was a good lesson. It was about teamwork and learning from people who actually know what they're talking about.
And finally, don't, as you embark in this career as a graduate into the APS, don't assume that you know what's good for you and you actually know yourself as well as you think you do. You will discover qualities through the APS, or hopefully the APS will allow you to discover qualities that you didn't know you had, or areas of interest you didn't know you had, or liabilities and ways engaging in problem-solving that you thought you had figured it out through your brilliant careers at university or in the private sector or whatever you have done before you have come here. And you think you've worked itself out.
You will discover, in the APS, will challenge you to discover things about yourself that you probably didn't know. So be open to discovering aspects about yourself and qualities and skills you don't think you have. And be prepared to give it a go. That's all I want to say. Thank you.
Thank you very much, John, Frances and Chris. Speaking a failure, I failed to tell you at the start that if you hear a beep, be alert but not alarmed. If you hear a whoop, follow someone out and evacuate the building. And there are toilets at the back of the hall.
So, I'm going to get you now to come up to where our microphones are positioning, as I speak. And just line up behind the mics and we'll start the questions. And just to fill in time while you gather your courage, I'm going to ask very quickly each panel member, and we might start with Frances, to give us a very quick story about one thing that she would do differently if she had her time again.
OK, well, I think I mentioned I had been in and out of DFAT for 32 years. And it's amazing how quickly time goes, particularly when you're serving overseas and backwards and forwards. But I really do think there's a lot to be said for not staying put. I suspect it will be almost impossible for you to stay put for as long as it was natural for us to stay put. And that getting, moving around between departments, taking opportunities.
What Chris said about the range of new challenges, cutting-edge challenges facing Australia, facing the public service is absolutely right. There are often taskforces, a need to pull people together quickly for various purposes. And don't encourage you, probably more than I was aware myself, to leap at the chance to grab those opportunities.
Super. Please jump up, guys. We're going to need lots of you queued up so we get the best use of our time. John?
HON. JOHN LLOYD:
Look, I think one of the things that I learnt as I went along, which I regretted earlier on, was when giving feedback to staff, to ensure that you, and particularly if there was an issue about performance, was to emphasise the opportunities of improving yourself and not concentrating too much on whether performance might not have been measuring up.
My sense is that everybody has the capacity to improve, and I think as a younger manager, I was perhaps a little bit too intense and harsh on trying to achieve fantastic performance everywhere. And I found out as I went along that one of the more satisfying things as a manager is to see someone who listens to some feedback and improves and has a fantastic career. And that's happened quite a lot.
So I think it's just be mindful to be balanced and how you assess people, particularly in giving feedback, to be fair and look for the positives. And I would say as part of that, what plays into that, when you have performance discussions, as an employee, too, come along prepared to engage. Have a bit of self-assessment, think about what you want to do next, or develop you might like, so that performance discussion engagement is constructive.
Let me just say one thing. I think looking back, if I'd realised earlier on in my career how critical people are to the success of the APS. There is a tendency, as I said in one of my points I made, was about critical thinking and the individual intellectualisation of challenges. Really, what it comes down to, the APS is not a series of buildings, not even a series of IT systems, not a series of ways of doing things.
It's actually the combination of individuals brought together through a system and its people that really make a big difference. My mantra in AGs is, you know, I was told that people were our most important asset. I now say people are our only asset. I should have realised that a long, long time ago.