To prepare itself for the challenges of 21st century health threats, CDC embarked on the “Futures Initiative,” a multi-year effort begun in 2002 to break down stovepipes among its scientific centers, eliminate redundancies and strengthen collaboration with partners.
These efforts culminated in an organization realignment announced in April 2005. To ensure that the realignment leveraged employee talents and expertise to the fullest extent, CDC enlisted the assistance of the National Academy of Public Administration to provide trusted advice and counsel on issues of leadership development, succession planning and diversity strategies.
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The Academy Panel believes that an organization that puts diversity management and cultural competency development on par with professional and technical knowledge will enhance its operations and ability to accomplish its mission. These are not stand-alone, ad hoc activities implemented solely by diversity professionals, e.g., by the OEEO Director. The CDC Director must establish workforce diversity as a priority and drive its importance home. All senior managers must be deeply involved. CDC must evaluate its line managers throughout the coordinating centers on their contributions to this enterprise-wide effort. This quality of engagement will enable CDC to align its priorities and work processes and develop its brand as a culturally competent employer of choice.
The Panel views implementing the action plan’s strategic recommendations as the first, foundational phase of the agency’s transformation into a robust and inclusive organization. The longer-term horizon requires leadership and consistent CDC-wide implementation of diversity initiatives to achieve process and cultural transformation in order to become a “robust organization.” Implementing the Panel’s four strategic recommendations will ensure that CDC achieves strategic focus and alignment on critical foundation pieces and areas of undisputed need.