Mar 5, 2018

Managing Change Is Both Tough and Rewarding

We talked to Valentyna Golubenko, Deputy Head of Office of Reforms at the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, about the value that attendance at the CEF learning event brought to her practice. In 2015, Ms. Golubenko participated in a course that examined how to successfully introduce changes as an integral part of the ongoing efforts to reform the tax administration. The event was delivered as part of the “Supporting Capacity Development of Tax Administrations in South East Europe” project, implemented by the Dutch Ministry of Finance, Slovene Ministry of Finance, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and France expertise (former Assistance Technique France - Adetef).

“I remember well the first day of the workshop on “Strengthening Management Skills in Tax Administration Reform Processes”. It was Norman Gillanders who opened the workshop with a funny yet so meaningful slide. It depicted a man asking a crowd of people, “Who wants changes?” and the crowd excitedly raising their hands. But when the man asked, “Who wants to change?”, the crowd was quiet, with no hands in the air.

This unfortunately reminds me so much of the environment where I and many other civil servants, especially those in reform and strategic development areas, work these days. The biggest challenge is quite often not the complexity or cost of the reform, but complacency and resistance of people responsible for implementing the reform. This can easily undermine all the efforts to change your administration for better.

Today my team is working on strategic development initiatives of our administration for the period 2018-2020. We communicate every day with different departments, trying to introduce new approaches, modernize systems, and develop creative initiatives beneficial for both the business and civil society. In each discussion we try to work with these undermining attitudes and moods to turn them into reform-oriented and forward-looking visions. Not an easy job, I must admit. And that is where I see that it is the managers who play the key role and who should develop their own management skills.

It is very hard, if not impossible, to make another person change. Therefore, I am convinced that only by changing oneself first, especially as a manager, one can let other people see and realize an irreversible need for change and eventually change themselves. The workshop on “Strengthening Management Skills in Tax Administration Reform Processes” reassured my belief and it was an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on how a manager can drive changes.

At the workshop we had an inspiring discussion on how it is to be a change agent for your administration. Besides being challenging and demanding, it is also an interesting and exciting job. A unique chance to contribute to the growth and development of your home administration and to the good of your nation (even if it sounds too idealistic).

I was also inspired by the CEF’s educational atmosphere. After having attended a plenty of traditional workshops for government officials, I was so surprised when I first visited the CEF. The facility is modern and inductive for learning with its creative design and networking areas. The experts are experienced and dedicated, sharing not only their knowledge but also wisdom, energy and inspiration. And, of course, other participants from different countries contributing with their views and ideas to the process of learning. All this makes the learning experience at the CEF unforgettable and certainly worth the time.

I myself now deliver workshops on leadership and management development, and I understand how innovative approach helps engage participants in learning and lead to high performance. The workshop I attended at the CEF was inspirational for my career as a facilitator. Furthermore, I encourage my subordinates to attend CEF workshops. Two of them already did that last year and other two are going to meet you soon this year.

It is hard to underestimate the value of learning, and I always encourage my staff to keep on discovering new things, developing their skills and building networks. I think this is the best investment one can make as a manager to then enjoy returns in an effective and creative team.

I am grateful to have learned about the CEF, its amazing team and wonderful learning opportunities. Keep on going and growing! All the best.”