Where is Patrick?

Facilitate Strategic Planning Advance sessions – City of Bainbridge Island (WA) – January 23 & 24
Facilitate Executive Leadership Development Session – Town of Queen Creek (AZ) – January 19
Facilitate Community Task Force – City of Pasadena (CA) – January 20
Facilitate Strategic Planning Advance session – City of Richland (WA) – Jan 25-27


Patrick Ibarra authors articles for a variety of publications directed at government professionals including Governing and ICMA’s Public Management. For easier reference, articles are categorized. Click on any title to download the file. Adobe Acrobat Reader® is Required for downloads.

Why Governments Need to Ramp Up Succession Planning

by Patrick Ibarra
As a result of the rapidly aging workforce, government organizations are experiencing a brain drain that is placing their organizations at a critical juncture: the need for experienced and seasoned employees has never been greater, while those are the very workers who are most likely to be departing in the very near future. It’s clear that governments need to get serious about succession planning.

Knowledge Management: Transfer It Before It’s Too Late!

by Patrick Ibarra
As organizations prepare for the potential departure of valuable staff, a major concern is how to preserve the knowledge that these seasoned employees have amassed.

Next Generation Professionals: An Inside Look at What Matters to Them

by Patrick Ibarra, Cheryl Hilvert, David Swindell and Karen Thoreson
The Mejorando Group, ICMA, the Alliance for Innovation and Arizona State University joined together to conduct research of young government professionals to discover their preferences about today’s workplace. This article shares the research and provides a series of specific recommendations to make the transition from the workforce you have to the workforce you need.

Governmental Succession Planning: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

by Patrick Ibarra
Today, governmental succession planning requires more than just an organization chart that shows who holds what job within the government organization.  Best practice organizations use succession planning to develop and maintain strong leadership and to ensure that they address all the competencies required for today’s and tomorrow’s work environment.
IPMA-HR News, May 2004

Succession Planning: The Essentials

by Patrick Ibarra
You’ve attend the conferences where a presenter spoke about it. You’ve read the articles which focused on the impacts from it. You’ve scanned a number of Web sites to learn more about what your agency can do to address it. You’ve discussed it at staff meetings.The topic at the center of all this is the unprecedented number of retirements currently happening within public sector organizations. Retirement parties used to be an occasional office event; nowadays, they occur almost weekly, or so it seems. I have dubbed this phenomenon the “(baby) boomerang” effect: the impacts resulting from the exodus by baby boomers from government agencies. As these seasoned employees depart and take with them their judgment and problem solving capabilities, (two areas essential to continued effectiveness for an organization), the question arises about what you can do to replace them and their talent? In two words: succession planning..

Succession Planning: The Sequel

by Patrick Ibarra
Flash forward to this year, 2011. Significant budget limitations are the “new normal.” Contrary to forecasts, public sector employees continue to retire. With public pension reform gaining traction, the retirement trend will continue since pensioners want to be “grandfathered in” under the current system and not be adversely impacted by any changes to the system. Additionally, young employees remain quite mobile since talented people always have options, regardless of the state of the economy. The departure of seasoned, knowledgeable employees places your organization at a critical juncture: the need for experienced and seasoned professional staff members has never been greater and the trend shows these organizational members as the most likely to be leaving the organization in the very near future. As a result of the “brain drain” underway and constrained budgets, the public sector is facing a number of specific challenges, including..

The Myths & Realities of Succession Planning

by Patrick Ibarra
“One only has to pick up a magazine or newspaper, glance at a TV, pull up a favorite web site or attend another in a seemingly endless series of retirement parties at work,to realize the workforce is agingand as a result, new challenges are presented. We have all heard about the “baby boomer” generation and the staggering numbers with which members of this group will be hitting the retirement rolls starting now and continuing for the next several years.”
IPMA-HR News, August 2006

An Essential Building Block for the Public Workforce

by Patrick Ibarra
Career management is not simply about employees accumulating years of service or improving their technical proficiency. The whole concept of a career in government is transitioning from the traditional ladder of upward mobility to more of a lattice in which employees move in different dimensions.

Government’s Crucial Employer Brand

by Patrick Ibarra
When it comes to building a top-flight workforce, getting branding right is just as important in the public sector as it is in business.

How Governments Can Hold on To Their Top Performers

by Patrick Ibarra
Conventional wisdom says that employees will leave if they are dissatisfied but that money will make them stay. That greatly oversimplifies the issue. People stay in a job or leave it for a range of reasons. Top performers want to be well compensated, of course, but they are seeking other kinds of satisfaction, primarily related to their learning, growth and opportunities to make a positive difference. Read Patricks’ recent article he authored for Governing entitled “How Governments Can Hold on to Their Top Performers.”

How to Get Better All The Time through Training and Development

by Patrick Ibarra
Do you find yourself riding the ebb and flow of budgets dedicated to employee growth and development? Are the retirement parties you’re attending almost weekly, foreshadowing an uncertain future with regard to employee performance? If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on and you’ll discover a strategy and series of techniques to help your employees get better all the time through targeted training and development activities.
PMA-HR News, December 2005

The Next Government Workforce

by Patrick Ibarra
Historically, government at all levels has relied on decent pay, generous benefits and stable employment to attract workers. As a result of the economic downturn, each of these attractions has been significantly diminished, leaving public leaders scrambling.

Talent Management: The Next Phase of Succession Planning

by Patrick Ibarra
The adoption and implementation of a talent management program provides the opportunity for organizational leaders to improve organizational performance despite not adding to their workforce.

Turning Your Organization into a Talent Magnet

by Patrick Ibarra
The public sector’s traditional ways of attracting and retaining top-flight talent are not always effective. As a result, jurisdictions are increasingly pursuing a more focused approach to strengthening their employer brand, working to entice and retain talent.

Create Your Own Leadership Playbook: Pointers for a Successful Leader’s Game-Changing Practices.

by Patrick Ibarra
Effective leaders strike a healthy balance between securing compliance and enlisting commitment from organizational members in their collective efforts to build a high-performing organization, and ultimately, a stronger community. Using football as a backdrop, here are 10 practices used by successful leaders.

Government: Factory, Enterprise or Both

by Patrick Ibarra
At its best, government serves as the protagonist for a better quality of life, and the antagonist is not shifting political winds or volatile budgets. It’s what those trends signify: change, often disruptive yet incalculably valuable. These “headwinds” provide public leaders with the opportunity to be swift and nimble in their pursuit of better government, but that’s where the “we’ve-always-done-it-that-way” mindset that emanates from guaranteed-outcome approach zaps hope for innovation and progress.

Improve Your Organization’s Performance Right Now!

by Patrick Ibarra
The results your organization is currently realizing are not by chance. And although influenced by factors outside your control (not the least of which is the current economic crisis) they also have a great deal to do with factors within your control—most notably your business strategy and how you have designed your organization. Organizations looking to emerge from the current economic crisis stronger and better positioned for success will be forced to embrace new ways of thinking.

Leading Change isn’t a Spectator Sport

by Patrick Ibarra
In today’s ever-changing world the forces for change among public sector organizations—declining revenues, contentious political pressures, and increasing demands for services—have been fairly constant. When change becomes necessary is when those forces gather momentum by meeting up with newer issues such as shifting workforce demographics and expanding technologies. In public sector organizations large and small, change is ubiquitous and often overwhelming, especially to those who perceive themselves to be on the receiving end. For organizational leaders, the struggles in managing change and achieving good outcomes lie in both corralling the forces for change and shepherding their organization and its members though the process.

What Can Government Learn From Apple

by Patrick Ibarra
Flame Starters are catalysts for change and have an insatiable appetite for growth. You’ve worked your entire career to be at this point right now to conquer the challenges in front of you! Public service is a noble profession and pressure is a privilege. I have prepared a list of incredible resources to accelerate your journey, in the spirit of Mejorando, “get better all the time.”

What is Successful Government

It’s not easy to determine what constitutes quality public-sector performance. Finding the answers to some crucial questions is the most important step toward a disciplined approach to high-performance government.

Best Practices are the Enemy of Innovation

by Patrick Ibarra
The problem with best practices is that they often merely masquerade as innovation. In the wrong hands, they become a shield to deflect critics, as though one can expect to be granted management immunity by proclaiming the use of supposedly tried-and-proven solutions.

Digital Government: Creating the Social Media Game Plan

by Patrick Ibarra
Simply posting undifferentiated information to your agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts is becoming outdated. Governments at all levels need to move past this stage and use social media as a way to interact with the community. One way to start is by posting a question to residents and employees on your Facebook page asking what type of information would they like to see provided there. This acts as a 21st century focus group providing real-time input. This input needs to be balanced with additional research, however, because some users hide behind anonymity to make controversial comments or voice inflammatory opinions.

Elected Official as Chief Innovation Officer

by Patrick Ibarra
Playing it safe is no longer playing it smart. Elected officials are under intense pressure to innovate: to purposefully generate and implement fresh solutions, adopt continuous improvement and pursue planned change. Forward-thinking elected officials understand that innovation and progress are inextricably linked. Read the article to learn effective ways to Be Curious, Challenge Perspectives and Create Freedom in fostering a culture focus on innovation.

Planting the Seeds to Harvest Innovation

by Patrick Ibarra
More and more, government leaders are under extraordinary pressure to innovate — to purposefully create and execute solutions while implementing continuous improvement and managing planned change. But simply waiting for innovation to happen is perilous, especially in today’s political and fiscal climate. Successful farmers are discipline, and they rely on a set of sequenced steps to achieve their desired results. Read to learn the four steps of the agricultural cyclee that apply to being a successful innovator.

Running Government Like a Startup

by Patrick Ibarra
Public leaders who want to create high-performing organizations can learn a lot from the way successful businesses are launched.

The Amazon-ification of Government, and Why We Need More Of It

by Patrick Ibarra
Design thinking is a “next practice,” a methodology that infuses innovation activities with a human-centered design principle powered by a thorough understanding of what people want and need and what they like or dislike about the way a particular service is provided.

There is No Box: Uncertain Times Demand RAPID Innovation

by Patrick Ibarra
After rejecting the conventional wisdom which offered comfortable solution and accepting that ambiguity prevails, what should government leaders pursue to leverage the forces for change? The optimal solution is RAPID Innovation. RAPID is a bold, forward-thinking, powerful, practical and productive mechanism designed to generate, identify, select, implement, and evaluate contemporary innovation solutions.

This Government Brought to You by

by Patrick Ibarra
“Public leaders in search of new revenue increasingly are looking to the private sector, offering up naming rights for public facilities, selling advertising or seeking sponsors for public events. The Internet has complicated the search for customers exponentially, so businesses are craving outlets that maximize the number of eyeballs per dollar invested. That’s where government comes in.”

Career Management in the 21st Century

by Patrick Ibarra
The convergence of workforce trends impacting the landscape for public sector employment is unprecedented. What do these trends mean for leaders of cities and towns who want to build their 21st-century workforce? Old models must be discarded in favor of progressive and practical strategies and tools to attract, retain, and optimize talent — especially as it relates to establishing a robust career management program for employees. The concept of a career is transitioning from the traditional ladder of upward mobility, to more of a lattice where employees move in different directions. Today’s employees might move up, sideways, or both — gaining essential skills and experiences to keep pace in our quickly changing workplace.

Future of Government: Me and My Career

by Patrick Ibarra
The convergence of the forces for change, present the public sector professional another in a series of opportunities to redefine him/herself. The question is what are the capabilities and competencies that comprise this redefinition? Here is a recommended blueprint for designing and building a recession-proof future.

How Fit Are You To Advance? Accelerate your capabilities

by Patrick Ibarra
Ambition is a mindset, and it requires sustenance to catalyze your career. The first step is to decide what a “good career” means to you and plan for it.

Mission Critical Mentoring: Key considerations for positive outcomes

by Patrick Ibarra
Mentoring programs have become extremely popular primarily because so many organizations are facing the retirement of a significant number of their workforce.

Talent Development: Improving Personal and Workplace Performance

by Patrick Ibarra
Mentoring programs have become extremely popular primarily because so many organizations are facing the retirement of a significant number of their workforce.

The Future is Now: Your New Role as a Finance Pro

by Patrick Ibarra
The forces of change present finance professionals with opportunities to redefine themselves. The question is, what are the capabilities and competencies you will need? The major principle underlying the reinvented role for the finance professional is CIP: change, innovation, and progress. Following is a recommended blueprint for the evolution of the finance professional.

Getting More Value Out of the Government HR Department

by Patrick Ibarra HR is at a critical juncture: Should it try to hang on to the past and risk becoming marginalized, or should it embrace a new and different future that requires different competencies? Either way, there is a clear and unambiguous imperative confronting the HR professional to rethink the HR function’s structure, services and programs and address how it can add value to today’s organizations.

Get Up, Get Out, Get On It: How HR can Become a Strategic Business Partner

by Patrick Ibarra
…the future of HR is at a critical juncture: try to hang on to the past and risk becoming marginalized, or embrace a new and different future that requires different competencies. There is a clear and unambiguous imperative confronting the future of the HR professional: rethink the HR function’s structure, services, and programs to address how it can add value to today’s organizations or suffer the consequences.
IPMA-HR News, November, 2005

As consultants to government organizations, the members of the Mejorando Group provide expertise in all aspects of performance improvement and organizational effectiveness services, including succession planning, leadership and management development and training, strategic planning, performance coaching and group/development/team building.