Become a Change Agent in your Organization – Encourage innovation through collaboration.

By Randi Hanks, Communications Specialist at NxtGov

Published on January 14, 2019

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What is a change agent? A change agent is a person within an organization who strategically encourages and promotes positive transformation through innovation and collaboration with others.

 

All too often, marketing and leadership teams place the term innovation into a mission statement or value list, but fail to promote or implement the strategies necessary to ensure its success. From afar, innovation and change are desirable qualities held by companies and prospective employees; up close, it can be an entirely different story. Anxiety, doubt and fear can be felt when experiencing major adjustments. By assuming that change within an organization is an easy task, one is setting a team up for failure. Read on as we go over four main topics that can help you ease the process of change within your organization.

 

Question and listen with compassion

Working with individuals to streamline or automate a process that is already in place begins by asking questions and listening for the pain points. It is not uncommon for a change request to stem from a process that is causing frustration or confusion, so expect some initial angst or push back from the individuals sharing their thoughts.

 

Tip: To help jump start the process, gather your team and the individuals responsible for performing the process everyday and perform a question-storming session. “The Innovator’s DNA” recommends asking a minimum of 50 questions during a session, while only providing or seeking answers after.

 

Create a safe environment for voices to be heard

Involving those who will be directly impacted by the change ensures details are not missed and encourages successful solutions to be built. In the Business Analyst industry, these individuals are called Subject Matter Experts or “SMEs”. SMEs are the secret ingredient to creating a successful solution. They contain the knowledge of the current process and will be the main source of positivity regarding the streamlined process. If the opinions of the SMEs, or any other key stakeholder, are not considered, they are far less likely to buy into the new process.  

 

Tip: Observe the individuals who are hesitant to share their thoughts and reach out to them directly. Explain how their shared opinions and concerns are valuable and by providing them, an innovative solution is more likely to have a positive impact. If a SME provides insight into the new process, point out where their input encouraged a positive change.

 

Encourage the 50/50.

The impacted employees’ input and voices are equally important to the change agents’ innovative ideas and final designs. Encourage the impacted individual(s) to take an active role in the project. There has yet to be a change agent who can read minds. Without diverse opinions being shared by the team, the new idea will only be able to grow so far.

 

Tip: Listen for the word “should” by the designers or managers in charge of the original process. More times than not, it will point directly towards an area of frustration within the process at hand. Simply observe and take note as to why the process is not being completed, as it “should”. This will lead directly to the areas where innovation is most critical. When working with the Subject Matter Experts, testing the new process before going live cannot be emphasized enough. This is the moment where you will find the critical points that have been missed.

 

Paint a picture or tell a story

Once the idea has sparked in a change agents’ mind, it can be difficult to convey it to the audience. There are several thoughts and past experiences that connect together to create that one big idea. A change agent’s mission is to share those connections in a clear and understandable way.

 

Tip: Find the medium that works best for describing the new idea to the audience whether that is painting a picture using flowcharts, diagrams and design mockups, or telling a story using dialogue, written word and communication. Build a bridge, connecting the dots of an employees’ day-to-day life, with the new imagined idea.

 

Forcing a change upon people causes push back, however, incorporating all impacted employees throughout the process, remaining compassionate to concerns and showing how their ideas positively impacted the design, will encourage the acceptance of change.

 

Follow us here and subscribe here for all of the latest news on how you can promote positive change with NxtGov!

Why Ongoing Partnerships with Local Organizations Matter

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On December 19, NxtGov organized a volunteer event at the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (SFBFS) clothing donation center. This was our third recurring event at the clothing donation center since we committed to an ongoing partnership of volunteering every other month.

 

I feel so fortunate to be able to give back to such an important organization in our community. While organizing and hanging clothing donations is just one small piece of SFBFS’ work, it means a lot to contribute to the mission and help out the staff. We have also participated in food donation sorting and the annual turkey distribution at SFBFS. There is something special about our continued involvement at the clothing donation center.

 

As volunteers, we sort clothes that our neighbors have donated to the site. We do not simply hang and sort the clothes—we make the “sales floor” a pleasant and clean refuge for those in need. I like to think that we are a welcoming presence for the shoppers, who sometimes have kids wanting to play or are in search for a special item. We are there when volunteers are abundant and our job is to stock the back for busy times. We are also there when the “sales floor” is in disarray and in need of some love.

 

Because I have organized a number of volunteer events with SFBFS, I can help train new volunteers—in our group or with others. I have grown to know the full-time employees and look forward to seeing them on our Wednesday nights together.

 

There is something magical about being a part of something bigger than ourselves. While folding clothes for a few hours is a small action in and of itself, I know that doing so helps brings together like-minded public servants around a culture of service. I cannot wait to see NxtGov continue to spread this mission—and these feelings of connectedness, purpose, and giving.

 

– Meagan, NxtGov’s Community Engagement Director.

Give Back + Learn with NxtGov

 

Welcome our newly elected Executive Team!

Our newly elected NxtGov Executive Team is already hitting the ground running to take NxtGov to the next level! Learn more about our election results.
Danielle Metzinger (Deputy Director), Carlos Aguilera (External Communications and Digital), Sharzad Najarzadeh (Member Liaison), Craig Castleton (Ambassador Program Director). Bottom row, left to right: Tonia Burgess (Director of Professional Development), Seth Yund (Director of Recruitment), Meagan Tokunaga (Director of Community Engagement).

Join us for the Cal-IPGCA Day of Innovation!

“Cal-IPGCA has been a terrific program. It allowed participants to brainstorm, collaborate and come up with innovative resolutions to State’s most challenging problems. It has been a fantastic experience for professional growth. I am particularly grateful to NxtGov for the scholarship it provided which allowed me this amazing experience.” – Bobby Dutta, Analyst with the California Department of Public Health and recipient of the NxtGov scholarship.

Meet Bobby and other government innovators at the Cal-IPGCA Day of Innovation!
When: Thursday, December 6, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Where: 707 Third Street, West Sacramento, CA 95605
Cost: FREE!
This event will feature Keynote Speakers, the 2018 “Innovationists” and the teamed Moonshot Projects covering 5 Innovation Priorities.  The day closes with the Cohort 2018 Graduation Ceremony and Awards Reception.

 

Register Here

Donate to the NxtGov Toy Drive

NxtGov is sponsoring a donation drive for Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento (CRH) to help children in need! Please join us in this cause and in the opportunity to give back to the community.

 

Donations online go towards children’s activities such as therapy sessions here: https://www.crhkids.org/donate – if you do this, please list NxtGov as your organization!

 

About CRH: Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento has been a refuge for children and youth affected by abuse, neglect and trauma. They are the first line of defense for children and youth who have been removed from their homes. www.crhkids.org

Data Communication Workshop

 

When: Monday, December 17th, 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Where: CDSS – Auditorium, 744 P Street, Sacramento, 95814
Cost:    FREE

 

Michael Valle from California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSPHD) will share how OSHPD communicates with data.  OSHPD is improving data communication by organizing data products so they are more easily discoverable, formatting data in a way that is easily consumable by people and software, telling stories to give context to the data, and thinking about what the audience for the data to meet their goals. Come and learn more about these innovative uses of data.

Cost is free but space is limited! Register today!

 

We want to know your training needs and interests!

 

NxtGov’s Professional Development Committee is working on developing future events and want to hear what topics you are most interested in. As we are a member-driven organization, we would like to build our content and services around what you most need and want.

Are you interested in…
-Learning and applying new professional skills?
-Expanding your professional network?
-Connect with existing resources and trainings?
-Truly connect with middle management?
-Create personal financial plans?
-Speak to upcoming civil service employees?
Complete this short survey to help inform our efforts and improve our services so you benefit!

Take Survey Here
Click here to learn more about NxtGov’s Professional Development Program!

 

Join us Thursday, December 20th, 5:00 – 7:30 PM at Bottle and Barlow
We had a ton of new faces at the last Happy Hour! Thanks to everybody for bringing your friends. Let’s celebrate all we’ve accomplished in 2018 and what we look forward to in the coming year. Please note we are getting together on the 20th!

 

November Highlights

Turkey Distribution at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services

NxtGov recently partnered with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services to distribute turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday! This one-day event helped approximately 4,000 families. Families were given turkeys and other Thanksgiving foods.

CalAggie Alumni Association Networking

NxtGov connected with the CalAggie Alumni Association to host the “Exploring Careers in Public Service” networking event! NxtGov provided recent and existing UCD alums advice regarding public service.

Copyright © 2018 NxtGov, All rights reserved.

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November 2018

 

Happy November!  Mid-Term Elections, NxtGov Executive Team Elections, Video Series, NxtGov Training Improvements, Mock Climate Negotiations, Thanksgiving and more…
Opportunities to Get Involved
Vote for your NxtGov Executive Team Candidates now! And RSVP for this Friday’s Election Event today!
When: Friday, November 9th, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

WhereSacramento City Hall

NxtGov is hosting elections for our Executive Team roles, it’s time to vote! The ballots were sent out via email in October but if you need to refresh your memory as to who is running, check out out the candidate profiles on NxtGov.org now!

Join us this Friday, November 9th, at Sacramento City Hall where we will be hosting the election event with light appetizers.

RSVP Here!

*You must be a subscribed NxtGov member to be eligible to vote.
*Online votes count for 1 point and in person votes at the election event count for 10 points
*You can only vote for one candidate per position
*You can only vote once

We want to know your training needs and interest!!
NxtGov’s Professional Development Committee is working on developing future events and want to hear what topics you are most interested in. As we are a member-driven organization, we would like to build our content and services around what you most need and want.

Are you interested in…
-Learning and applying new professional skills?
-Expanding your professional network?
-Connect with existing resources and trainings?
-Truly connect with middle management?
-Create personal financial plans?
-Speak to upcoming civil service employees?
Complete this short survey to help inform our efforts and improve our services so you benefit!

Take Survey Here
Click here to learn more about NxtGov’s Professional Development Program!
CAL-IPGCA Day of Innovation Event
When: Thursday, December 6, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Where: 707 Third Street, West Sacramento, CA 95605
This event will feature Keynote Speakers, the 2018 “Innovationists” and the teamed Moonshot Projects covering 5 Innovation Priorities.  The day closes with the Cohort 2018 Graduation Ceremony and Awards Reception.

Register Here
Casting Call! Star in a Video Series
When: Wednesday, November 14th

Where: B Street Theatre, 2711 B St, Sacramento, CA 95816
NxtGov is partnering with Innovative Pathways to Public Service and we are doing a casting call for public servants who want to appear in short videos talking about their experience in public service!

This includes all our members in local governments and special districts and municipalities such as SMUD. The video series is part of a regional effort that is looking to increase recruitment and retention into public sector jobs.

We are looking for genuine, enthusiastic, and diverse faces. Ideal candidates should have worked in public service between 1 to 5 years and represent various types of jobs in government, from analysts, to scientists and more.

Check out this info sheet for more details and to select a time to participate. Please sign up for a time slot by November 10!

Contact us if you have any questions!

Immigration – Department of Social Services Exchange Series
When: Monday, November 19th, 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Where: CDSS – Auditorium, 744 P Street, Sacramento, 95814

Marcela Ruiz is the Chief of our Immigration and Refugees Programs Branch within the Family Engagement and Empowerment Division. Over the past few years, our funding for Immigration programs has grown from zero, to $75 million per year.

Marcela will talk about these programs and the impacts they’re having; different categories of immigrants, including asylees, refugees, T- and U-visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and unaccompanied undocumented minors; and talk about important recent events affecting immigrants, including family separation policies, detention and releases, refugee and parolee releases, and proposed federal regulatory changes to family separations and the definition of a “public charge” when it comes to the use of public benefits and services programs.

Cost is free but space is limited! Register today!

Data Communication – Department of Social Services Exchange Series
When: Monday, December 17th, 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Where: CDSS – Auditorium, 744 P Street, Sacramento, 95814
Michael Valle from California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSPHD), a sister department to DSS, will share how OSHPD communicates with data.  OSHPD is improving data communication by organizing data products so they are more easily discoverable, formatting data in a way that is easily consumable by people and software, telling stories to give context to the data, and thinking about what the audience for the data to meet their goals. Come and learn more about these innovative uses of data.

Cost is free but space is limited! Register today!

Happy Hour
When: Thursday, November 29th, 5:00 – 7:30 PM

WhereBottle and Barlow
We had a ton of new faces at the last Happy Hour! Thanks to everybody for bringing your friends. Join us at the November Happy Hour! This will be your chance to meet new friends and chat with the new NxtGov Exec team!

Community Engagement
NxtGov + Asian Pacific State Employees Association (APSEA)’s 5K run
On October 27, NxtGov joined members of Asian Pacific State Employees Association (APSEA) for the 15th annual charity 5K “Run for a Safe Haven” benefiting My Sister’s House. Click the link below to learn more about NxtGov’s awesome Community Engagement Program!

Click here to learn more about NxtGov’s Community Engagement Program!

NxtGov Community Engagement Monthly Meet Up
When: Thursday, November 9th,  6:00 – 7:00 PM
Where: Old Soul Capitol Mall, 555 Capitol Mall, Sacramento 95814

Join us as we plan our November event and discussing any additional engagements we should do for the holidays. See you there!

Click here to learn more about NxtGov’s Community Engagement Program

Professional Development
Climate Change Negotiations Game Night
This weekend, NxtGovs’ Professional Development team facilitated an excellent, engaging, and educational ‘game night’ where we had the opportunity to mock international negotiations about a very timely topic – climate change. We had a great turnout and a fun opportunity to meet new people. We can’t wait for more events like this in the future and hope to see you there!

Click here to learn more about NxtGov’s Professional Development Program!

Recruitment
When: Wednesday, November 14th,  6:00 – 8:00 PM
Where: Kupros Craft House, 1217 21st St, Sacramento, CA 95816

Join us as we plan our November event and discussing any additional engagements we should do for the holidays. See you there!

Click here to learn more about NxtGov’s Recruitment Program!

NxtGov is Thankful for You!

From everybody here at NxtGov, we would like to thank you for participating, engaging, innovating, and supporting our mission.  It is up to us to shape the city we call home and how we provide the services that are critical to the public’s well-being.  It has been a terrific journey thus far and we are truly excited to see where the new Executive Team will take us moving forward.  We’ve enjoyed standing next to you, on the front line, fighting for the change we believe in and we hope you are as proud of your accomplishments as we are.  Enjoy the upcoming holidays with your loved ones.

-NxtGov Executive Team

Connect with Us
NxtGov is on Slack!
 

NxtGov is now on Slack! Follow these simple steps to join our workspace and stay on top of all upcoming events:

  1. Request to join our workspace
  2. Once you’ve filled out your profile information and joined NxtGov’s workspace, introduce yourself in the General channel
  3. Now that you are a part NxtGov’s workspace, you can be requested to specific channels. These channels include: Community Engagement, Professional Development, Recruitment, and Random. Request to be a part of any channel you want (we encourage you to be a part of all of them!) in the General channel.
NEW NxtGov Calendar!
 

You can now find all of our events on the NxtGov Calendar from our homepage!

 

Copyright © 2018 NxtGov, All rights reserved.

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NxtGov January News

Happy New Year from NxtGov!

We’ve got some exciting announcements to share.

We’re thrilled to welcome several folks who have recently joined NxtGov! Thank you for being part of this community.

NxtGov Ambassador Program – Application Deadline Extended!
Since we have many new members, we are extending the application deadline for the NxtGov Ambassador Program to Monday, January 15. We’ve added additional information sessions and updated our website. Please feel free to pass along to others who may be interested. Thank you to all who have applied!
Lunchtime Workshop: Invest in Your Future with Savings Plus
Join us Tuesday, January 16 for a free lunchtime workshop to learn more about your financial planning options with Savings Plus. Click here to learn more and RSVP for the session.
Our Executive Sponsors
We are grateful to have gathered executive sponsorship from department leaders and expect the support to continue to grow. Their sponsorship allows us to bring in leaders when discussing issues or themes affecting our workforce. Join the movement!So far we have sponsors from:

  • GovOps
  • California Department of Technology (CDT)
  • CalHR
  • State Library
  • State Water Resources Control Board

Opportunities for you to be part of the change:

  • Redesigning the Individual Development Plan Form
    • In your civil service experience, have you ever filled out an Individual Development Plan (IDP)? If so, was it useful? IDPs are intended for staff professional development. As part of the ongoing Civil Service Improvement Initiative, GovOps Secretary Batjer is inviting NxtGov to assess the form and provide recommendations for redesign and improvement. Contact Angie at angelica.quirarte@govops.ca.gov for details. 
  • User Testers Needed for a new feature on CalCareers.ca.gov 
    • CalHR is inviting NxtGov to provide feedback on a CalCareers Job Application wizard that they’ve developed. They are planning a special demo for us on January 19th from 10-11pm. Contact Angie at angelica.quirarte@govops.ca.gov for details.

 

NxtGov December News

Governing Leadership Forum
Angie, Shivani, and Danielle of NxtGov’s executive board recently discussed NxtGov’s work during a panel discussion, moderated by Secretary Batjer of GovOps, at the California Leadership Forum. Thanks to this opportunity, NxtGov has received an outpouring of interest and support from executives and leaders across state and local government. The panel highlighted executive sponsorship and the NxtGov Ambassador Program as important ways to support the work of NxtGov.
Ambassador Program
Are you interested in building partnerships with other sectors and collaborating across agencies? Want a place to represent your organization and share perspectives on issues California state government faces? As a NxtGov Ambassador, you will be active in connecting public servants you know with all the opportunities NxtGov has to offer. Some of these opportunities include:
– Policy brown-bags with State Executives to bring awareness of the key issues affecting our current and future workforce.
– Representing your organization at inter-departmental round table discussions on issues, concerns, questions, and ideas to strengthen our workforce and better serve California. 
Apply Here!
Community Engagement with CalYMCA
When: Friday, February 16th or Saturday, February 17th
Where: State Capitol

This February, NxtGov is partnering with CalYMCA by providing mentorship to high school students interested in public service careers! Through the annual Youth and Government conference, NxtGov will speak to hundreds of high school students visiting Sacramento through a series of panels. Topics will range from from department area (Finance to Education to State Treasurer’s Office) to personal identity (women in public service, people of color in public service). We need your help to field enough public servants for these panels! Specific panel topics will be determined through the interest of those who sign up. Please email us if you can volunteer to speak or would like to help coordinate!

I’d Like to Participate
Children’s Receiving Home
NxtGov is sponsoring a donation drive for Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento (CRH) to help children in need. Please join us in this cause and in the opportunity to give back to the community. There are two different ways to contribute. You can receive an angel with items children need (items can vary from toys, clothing, shoes, etc) or you can donate online towards children’s activities such as therapy sessions here: https://www.crhkids.org/donate. If you are interested in the angel, please contact Shivani Bose-Varela (shivanivarela@gmail.com) or Meagan Tokunaga  (meagantokunaga@gmail.com). We will be collecting all item donations by December 15th but if you contact Shivani or Meagan we can work out logistics with you.

About CRH: Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento has been a refuge for children and youth affected by abuse, neglect and trauma. They are the first line of defense for children and youth who have been removed from their homes. www.crhkids.org

Happy Holidays from NxtGov
2017 flew by and we have been busy! In the past year we have:
– spoken to future public servants at the UC Center to recruit them into government,
– held brown bag sessions with fellow employees to discuss everyday challenges in the workplace,
– attended events like the CA Leadership Forum to discuss those very same issues with our government leaders,
– consulted CalHR and CDT on policy matters,
– volunteered with local nonprofits and
– shared our experiences over drinks at happy hour!
Our goal is to improve government and our workplace by building a network of innovators that believe in public service – from employees who are being on-boarded to top-level executives. With you and our partners we strongly believe we can make a difference. 2018 will be bigger and we look forward to having you join us with this journey.
Join Here
Happy holidays and we hope to see you soon