A learning year out of the comfort zone

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Guest blog by Alex Fernandez

Now that we have these pandemic times, at the beginning of this year I decided to continue my studies by studying something totally different from my professional and educational background, a program called Implementing Public Policies at Harvard Kennedy School.

The reason of this decision was to understand how public servants live the challenge of implementing a public policy, the barriers, obstacles, bad things, and good things.

In my current role, I need to connect with the public sector to implement social impact activities in some moments. Some of those practices end in community initiatives with the back up of the local government.

What better way to understand my ally than taking a course full of policymakers and discussing the challenges and best ways to implement public policy?

I thought the course would give me tools and knowledge to identify how I could better change things around me, but the truth was that I changed some of my core leadership mindsets.

I learned about a powerful methodology called PDIA, not just helpful in Public Policy; it is useful in most situations where we need to drive change within the public or private sectors.

PDIA deconstructs policy implementation in steps, one that drives you to make decisions and involve different actors in your process. The process by itself is a self-awareness experience and drives you to make insightful decisions step by step. Through the implementation of the PDIA you will understand how policymaking is possible by deploying some steps and a lot of inquiring about your progress and experience.

You add to this learning experience the constant sharing of your classmates, hearing their best practices and fails, which give you valuable input about how to move forward in your current challenge.

My challenge was around implementing a global policy within my organization. This was the perfect excuse to get into a deeper analysis, not just about my organization, also about myself, my approach to implementing projects, engaging others, leadership, and my strengths and weakness.

We learned in the program how to approach public implementation using a very efficient methodology. However, this program is a fantastic leadership program where I learned how to implement public policies and how to be a better leader, team player, and challenge myself about my improvement areas.

This journey is just starting, and the key is to have an apprentice mindset.

First Draft Fishbone Diagram.

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

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