Making the transition from the public to the private sector

by Colin Bell Email

With public sector spending cuts imminent the reality is that many Public Sector employees will become part of the private sector over the coming months and years. This does not however mean that they will become employees of a large corporation, with many finding work with SME's, Social Enterprises or for themselves through starting their own business. Many believe that the Public Sector will restructure to become a commissioning sector rather than one that delivers services directly. This in itself is an area of huge opportunity with a need for innovative new ways of delivering services, new investment models and an upsurge in the rate of public sector externalisation and outsourcing.

Like most we have spent a great deal of time considering such changes so here are some of our thoughts on how to support people who's future is somewhat unclear.

All aboard & onward to the new world: We live in a world that demands 'more for less', this applies to the public, private and third sectors, so regardless of a persons chosen direction there will be a demand for a more enterprising and entrepreneurial outlook that drives efficiencies, develops new ideas and innovates. Successful organisations are restless by nature, with no time for complacency. The expectations placed on people will demand them to justify their personal value and return on investment, work flexibly & to tight deadlines and all in a fluid systems that often lack process & structure yet demand results (direction comes from vision, goals & values).  We must equip people with the skills and outlook needed to deal with such pressures, working practices and culture.

Start at the end: we spend most of our time coaching entrepreneurs and one thing is for sure - the successful ones are driven by and excited by a compelling vision of the future. This is what gives them the energy and desire to succeed. For individuals facing change the same applies, they must first set their sights on achieving a vision that they believe passionately about.

It's not just about getting a job: it's also about a person's happiness and wellbeing. People shouldn't be told what they should do, rather they should be supported to consider their options, tune into what gets them excited about the future and develop the ideas that will get them there.

No, you can't have your box back: one of the biggest barriers to change is the burning desire to have your box back, reflecting on the past and wishing that life was still the same as it was - well the reality is that your box has gone and it isn't coming back! Make sure the new box is shaped by the future and not the past.

And finally - don't listen, you are creative! It may seem at times that everyone is out to criticise public sector employees, the reality is however that every single member of staff in the public sector has the ability to be creative and to develop new ideas. The problem for many is that the environments and structures in which they have been working have suppressed and not encouraged their creativity. Help people make the most of this latent potential and learn how to use it in more enterprising and fluid environments.

We look forward to helping shape the future; support the 'great reset', and help people make progress in what will be challenging times.


Some Big Principles for LEPs' to consider

by Colin Bell Email

1. Grasp the opportunities created through Public Sector Reform:

To deliver the cost savings needed the Public Sector will undoubtedly become a commissioner rather than a deliverer of services. For instance the recently announced Pathfinder mutuals provide a huge opportunity to create strong, growth and socially oriented organisations. There is however a risk that without the necessary support and guidance, such organisations will lack the commercial experience needed to succeed. The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) should therefore grasp this opportunity and invest in the support of such organisations through the provision of specialist mentoring and support. The involvement of private organisations in forming partnerships (on a not for profit basis - the private sector will realise other commercial advantages) should also be considered.

2. Treat the LEP and Big Society as one:

LEPs and the Big Society provide an opportunity to create a meeting of the 'top-down' and the 'bottom-up'. Great progress has been made with breaking down silos and creating inclusive partnerships through Total Place and Place Making, so we therefore commend the principle of Total Place being central to the approach taken by many LEP's. We do however feel that this could be taken one step further and consideration be given to how governance structures will not only represent the public and private sector but also the community - this may involve 'place' focused strategies that creates places where people want to live, work, and start & grow businesses.

3. People and organisations must be clear on the role they play in the LEP:

LEPs must operate a clear demarcation between those who wish to guide strategy and policy and those who wish to deliver services. People get involved in LEPs with the very best intentions; many however become compromised through being asked to perform both a strategic as well as a delivery function. Such a dynamic can result in biased judgment, causes conflict, fuels local politics and stands in the way of innovation and progress.

4. LEP's must create the conditions for enterprise and innovation:

Winning Moves is working on several projects to develop more enterprising, creative and innovative cultures in the Public Sector. Our experience provides overwhelming evidence that the public sector is oozing with creative and innovative people.  The barrier standing in the way is that the processes, environment, structure and leadership does not liberate such potential, this has a knock on effect to suppliers and the community. LEPs must provide people with the space to create - this includes staff, service deliverers, and the community. Prescriptive procurement and micro management will not result in progress.

5. Make support available truly demand led:

Support to private sector businesses has traditionally been conceived in the corridors of power of Brussels or London, and then devolved to businesses at a local level. Whilst some of these initiatives have been successful the results have been very mixed. The advent of LEPs provides an opportunity to turn the driver for support services on its head, by providing the private sector with support that will make a real and sustainable difference. At an individual enterprise level, this can be achieved by understanding real need, that is gaps in performance that have been identified using objective performance assessment. It also means that the current 'one size fits all' approach cannot continue, and support being delivered by true business and sector experts offering proven solutions and experience should be the way forward. With small and medium sized enterprises being time poor and public funding being reduced, effective online tools and techniques will help organisations to find high quality support, tailored to their needs faster.

It doesn't happen by accident, I have been working with a mentor!

by Colin Bell Email

We held an event on Wednesday 14th July for digital and creative businesses that sparked creativity and innovative thinking. It was a great event, with lots of enthusiasm and creative juices flowing - but one thing has not escaped my mind since.

At the event we asked the question, 'who has a well thought through, clear and compelling vision of where they want to be in the future? '. Out of the 50 people attending only 1 person raised their hand (this wasn't due to shyness, the other 49 had already been highly participative). The response was impressive, not only was the articulation of vision clear and compelling, it was followed up with a very focused explanation of what She was going to do to achieve her vision. Everyone in the audience was impressed and during the coffee break crowded round the Lady to find out more - her vision and the way it was communicated was infectious! I watched with great interest.

During the networking that followed the event I took a chance to talk to the Lady and find out more about her business and herself, I told her how impressed I was with her vision and how exciting her business sounds. Her response was - IT DOESN'T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT, I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH A MENTOR (funded through Business Link) for the past 6 months and her business and herself are reaping the benefits.

Regardless of who is funding such activity, it must remain and help businesses to set a destination of where 'they' want to be (not where the mentor thinks they ought to be) and help them make the journey towards their destination. Many people are struggling and unsure of the future, they need help, they need support and they are the route to economic and social sustainability.


Delivering More For Less - How To Stimulate an Enterprise Led Recovery

by Colin Bell Email

We are faced with an unprecedented challenge, cutting the Public Sector back by 25%, whilst expecting the Private Sector to pick up the pieces through the creation of jobs and wealth and all in a time of weak demand, weak banks, fragile markets, huge deficits, low confidence and no obvious bubbles (not that we want more bubbles - not much fun when they burst) that will fuel the Private Sector - some challenge!

It is widely accepted that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are critical to an enterprise led recovery, they employ 60% of all Private Sector workers and create more than half of our nations wealth. To create the conditions for an enterprise led recovery the Government has a huge role to play. This is not simply through better regulation or improving access to finance but also through creating the culture and skills that enable innovation, growth and the aspiration for people and SMEs to reach their true potential. This does not mean however, that Government should supply - rather they should enable.

Much effort and money has gone into stimulating growth in SMEs and encouraging them to invest in their development, this has tended to be through top down Government led approaches such as Business Link. The effectiveness of such an approach is a contentious issue. With recent announcements that Business Link will be scrapped and replaced with a website and call centre, the question remains how can the Government deliver more-for-less, stimulate growth and succeed in creating the conditions for an enterprise led recovery?

It's time for some different thinking! Here are some ideas on what the Government could do:

Incentivise SMEs to invest in their growth and development:

The Government could provide a tax incentive or a voucher system that helps SMEs offset the cost of business support and advice. This system has worked well in stimulating investment in Research and Development through R&D Tax Credits.

This system would ensure that the supply of business support was fit to support the needs of SMEs, overcome the reluctance of cash strapped SMEs to invest in support and creating the conditions for the Private Sector to create demand.  Over time this would remove the need for incentives, as the market will have been stimulated.

Don't control supply or deliver directly, rather ensure quality:

Rather than deliver the Government should ensure that the quality of supply is fit to support the needs of SMEs. This does not have to involve reinventing the wheel but rather enhancing the role of self-funding bodies such as the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) to regulate the market.

The idea of self-funding organisations regulating or quality assuring the market would mean that SMEs could match the needs identified through the proposed national business support website and call center with credible support.

These two ideas when combined would prove more cost effective than top down approaches through reducing publically funded infrastructure whilst increasing face-to-face support provided by the Private Sector.

These are some thoughts and not a conclusive answer. Please help in moving this debate forward through contributing your thoughts.


Colin Bell


MyB!z and Aspiring Communities programmes

by Paula Farrington Email


' It really is a busy week at Winning Moves this week, yesterday saw the website launch and today sees the launch of our MyB!z and Aspiring Communities programmes.

MyB!z was originally developed as part of the Sharing the Success programme, the Leeds LEGI initiative and has been so successful we have decided to introduce it as one or our core enterprise support products. Designed to bridge the gap between outreach and business advice MyB!z helps individuals develop their ideas, aspirations, confidence and self belief prior to engaging in more formal or main stream business support.

Built around a schedule of four workshops, the MyB!z programme helps individuals address some big questions, clarify, evaluate and develop an idea, create an exciting vision and drive it forward. Time is spent understanding the market for a product or service and improving skills to sell not only the business idea but also the person behind it before focusing on priorities, both business and personal, enabling a clear action plan to be created.

Aspiring Communities is a new approach to making positive change based on a tried and tested model of community development that aims to develop the capacity and infrastructure within a community. Built on the belief that skills and resources needed for transformation exist within every community, Aspiring Communities is designed to draw them out and establish community members as champions resulting in a community with direction, increased levels of enterprise, motivated learners and enterprising employees and volunteers.

If you want to find out more take a look on the website then give me a call on 07595 821975, email me or just leave me a blog comment '

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