Why I Seldom Work with Government Organizations

I want to share a little story with you about why I rarely work with government organizations. It’s something that’s been bugging me for a while, and I think it’s time to lay it all out.

You see, in the private sector, training programs are valued based on the impact they have on the company. We charge based on the transformation we bring. Simple, right? But in the government sector, it’s a whole different ball game.

In the government, training programs are treated like commodities. The price isn’t about the value of the program or the expertise of the trainer. Nope. It’s all about the honorarium rate, which is tied to academic achievements. Imagine that! It’s as if the only thing that matters is the number of degrees you have, not the real-world results you can deliver.

Now, I get the logic behind honorariums for government employees. They’re already on the payroll, and the extra work they do is seen as a service to their career and their organization. So, the honorarium is like a little cash thank-you. That’s fine for them. But for someone like me, who runs a business focused on helping organizations grow, it’s a crazy rule.

Here’s why it’s insane.

When I get invited to conduct workshops for the government, my worth is measured by my educational attainment, not the value I bring. It’s as if they expect me to provide academic lectures instead of practical solutions. They pay me only for the hours I speak, not for the hours I spend preparing a tailor-made program.

And don’t even get me started on the training style. Most government training programs are just a series of lectures. Why? Because it’s the easiest thing for someone working in the government, who has no time to prepare interactive and engaging workshops. No wonder so many government training sessions are dry and boring.

So, who usually ends up training government employees? Retired folks. They have loads of experience, sure, but technical skills don’t always make someone a great leadership trainer. Experience is valuable, but it’s not everything. I’d rather bring in these experts as guest speakers in my workshops, but that’s another headache. The rule says there’s only one speaker, so I don’t get paid if I co-facilitate. Crazy, right?

Then, there are the former government employees who have turned to offering expensive seminars like Complete Staff Work. They can charge more because it’s allowed in the rules. But these are often generic, canned programs. If you want something custom-designed, you’re stuck with the honorarium system. This means I’d get about one-sixth of what I make in the private sector.

All this makes it tough to design and deliver excellent programs for government employees. The system just doesn’t support it.

So, there you have it. That’s why I seldom work with government organizations. It’s not that I don’t want to help. I do. But the system makes it nearly impossible to provide the value I know I can deliver.

Until next time,

Jef Menguin

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