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Your Agency Operations

December 19, 2018

Learn how to enhance your agency operations through both innovative and classic techniques and approaches.

Managing the Risks in the Retained Organization: A Priority for New Leaders

The movement to shared services should continue to be a priority for the new leaders of our government. Shared services bring operational effectiveness, cost efficiencies, and increased customer service. The transition to shared services is a significant transformation for any leader and organization. It is also significant for the people working within that organization. (More)

Practical Advice for Federal Executives Looking to Transition to a Shared Service Provider

This commentary offers practical guidance to political appointees whose agencies are interested in transitioning to a Shared Service Provider (SSP), whether for financial systems, Information Technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), or acquisition. Based on our experience and meetings held with Shared Service Providers and their customer agencies, we developed a list of key areas for consideration. (More)

An Introduction to Shared Services

In preparing to govern and lead their agencies, new political appointees will be exposed to the term Shared Service Provider (SSP). They will hear about the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) push toward an increased used SSPs. Regarding SSPs, new appointees will need to make decisions that will have a lasting impact on their agency, their employees and their business functions. In this commentary, we provide an overview of shared services in the federal government, the guidance behind it, and suggested actions that new political leaders can consider taking to implement a shared service strategy. (More)

Questions to Ask About Your Tenured Workforce

As new executives come to Washington at the end of the Obama Administration and the start of the next Administration, they will need to pay special attention to what we have termed the “tenured workforce.” We are defining the tenured workforce as individuals with 10-24 years of federal experience. This group comprises 32% of the estimated 2 million federal employees. Approximately 18% hold supervisory positions. Individuals in this group are likely to have “grown up” in the ranks of government, or may have joined the government from private industry, later in their careers. This group is crucial to making government work and to your success as a political executive. (More)

Advice to Appointees: Resolving the Operating/Investment Dilemma

During my 12 years of service as a Senate-confirmed political appointee in the Department of Defense (DoD), I regularly dealt with what I called my “operating/investment dilemma.” How well you deal with your version of this dilemma may well determine the improvements in government that you will leave behind after your service. (More)

Implementing Performance Management in Government: Advice for Political Appointees

Based on our interviews with 42 Obama Administration appointees over the past four years, we developed many insights into what makes an effective manager in government. Three key skills to being an effective political executive are... (More)

Progress Under Pressure: Shining Light on Leadership, Transformation Planning, and Positive Outcomes at the Veterans Benefits Administration

On April 8, 2013, the National Academy of Public Administration hosted the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey, as part of its Presidential Appointee Project Seminar Series. Under Secretary Hickey provided candid, impassioned and thoughtful remarks regarding the successes and challenges she has experienced to date as Under Secretary for Benefits, leading more than 20,000 employees in seven business lines among 56 regional offices nationwide. (More)

Five Recommendations to Improve Veterans Healthcare During the Second Term of the Obama Administration

The looming epidemic in chronic diseases, accelerated by aging populations and increasing prosperity, is threatening to overwhelm healthcare budgets and economic growth across the globe. Today — half a century after the first polio vaccine, four decades after declaring war on cancer, 30 years after the emergence of AIDS and the elimination of smallpox — we have tamed the most devious scourges that humanity has ever faced. What threatens us now is managing what should be the “easy” stuff...(More)

Drowning in Paperwork May Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Dysfunctional…burdensome…ineffective…onerous…duplicative. These are all words that have been used to describe the massive amount of paperwork required of a political appointee. And, if you have been nominated to a position requiring Senate confirmation, there will be an additional detailed questionnaire from the committee with jurisdiction over your nomination. (More)

Scaling a Fiscal Cliff and Other Contortions

There is little new under the sun. We can find close presidential races from the time of Thomas Jefferson to Al Gore. The contentiousness often spills over into governance. The divided Congress that we face will likely magnify the divide. Will this time be different? Who knows? (More)

Five Recommendations to New Political Executives on How to Effectively Use Auditors

After a long career as a financial statement auditor in the corporate sector, I accepted an opportunity to broaden my experiences to include auditing federal government financial statements. I have found the transition to be a fascinating adventure. Although the auditing and management skills I have honed over the years transferred easily to government, the differences in culture between the corporate community and federal government still remain striking to me on a daily basis. (More)

Re-Evaluating the C-Suite: The Role of CIO for a 21st Century Government*

One of the major tasks confronting all new political executives will be to make sure that they have the right people in the right job with the right portfolios. This article will focus on the role of the Chief Information Officer in government. (More)

Advice for New Political Executives: Three Questions to Ask your Chief Information Security Officer

If you have previously served in government, most of the job titles you encounter will be somewhat familiar. There will be one exception. In recent years, another position has been added to the government C-Suite -- the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). (More)

Implementing Enterprise Risk Management in Government

A recent Commentary in this series, Implementing Performance Management in Government, recommended that political appointees develop ways to track performance in their organization. In addition to tracking performance, political executives also need to track risks in their organizations. (More)

Implementing Innovation in Government

In our recent Commentary, Implementing Performance Management in Government, we discussed that effective political appointees need to develop ways to track performance in their organization. In this article, we focus on the need for political appointees to encourage and stimulate innovation in their organization. (More)