Category: Magazines

The In-Service Zone

Mandated training is often worn and ineffective. A prescriptive method can boost effectiveness, help with knowledge transfer, and standardize the approach without being boring.

The Importance of Trusted Leaders

The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association (FEIAA) presented its annual Executive Forum, March 10, 2008, at the George Washington University (GWU) Marvin Center, in Washington, DC. The theme of the forum was Trusted Leadership for…

The Grass Is Greener…

On April 13, 2008, more than four hundred companies and other entities gathered in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, to huckster high-tech concepts, gizmos, and gadgets to government. In its thirty-second year, …

The Government Next Door

A partnership with Nextdoor helps cities and states target communications at the neighborhood level.

The Future Workforce: Gen Y Has Arrived

Steve Monforto finally caught the ball! After attending Phillies games since he was three years old, he caught the ball on September 15, 2009. He promptly gave the ball to his young daughter, Emily, who was sitting next to him in the stands, and Emily immediately threw it back to the infield. Montfo…

The Future State of Collaboration

The title of the Bob Dylan classic The Times They Are a-Changin” may be an appropriate theme to describe the expected shifts in collaboration portals not only within commercially focused organizations, but also within the public sector. A variety of factors including innovation initiatives, branding…

The Federal Shutdown’s Impact on States

The federal shutdown in October 2013 had a significant impact on state financial management activities and any repeat of a shutdown would be critically serious. The uncertainty generated by a federal shutdown is a serious problem for states, especially when it is unclear how long the shutdown will last.

The Ethinomics of a Leaking Louisiana

On par with football, Laissez Les Bon Temps, Roulez, and crawfish, one of the defining characteristics and great motivators in Louisiana is getting something over on someone. Variously termed hoodwinking, bamboozling, leading astray, sticking it to the big guys, dupe, trick, swindle, lead by the nos…

The Ethical Pothole: Tolerable Corruption?

The discussion at the 2009 American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) panel on professional ethics took an odd turn. During an exchange about endemic corruption in a particular African electoral system, three members of the audience volunteered that some corruption is acceptable and may be de…

The Crucial Role of OMB

The Office of Management and Budget is a small agency, but it can help the Trump administration solve the puzzle of how to accomplish its big goals.

The Courage to Change When Challenged

The nation faces an enormous challenge but has the opportunity to institute change through collaboration among top-level government and private-sector executives. Americans want an effective, efficient, and results-driven government as we…

The Cost of Mail

Peeling the Onion: The Real Cost of Mail delves into financial issues at the U.S. Postal Service.

The Changing Information Environment and Civic Literacy

Citizens may know less than ever about what governments do for them every day, so it is imperative that public leaders improve citizen awarenessthereby mitigating antigovernment arguments that rarely offer tangible solutions to crises that seem to abound. Getting Government Informa…

The Challenges of Donation Management

One of the lasting images of Hurricane Katrina is the mass of people outside the Superdome asking for water from National Guard troops who had none to give. People all over the world saw a city under water, and the human misery it created, and wanted to respond in some way. …

The Challenge of Managing across Boundaries

Starting in summer 2007,Ciscos Internet Business Solutions Groupthe firms global consulting armsponsored a series of seminars to bring leading thinkers on public management together with government and industry executives.Seminar discussions ranged from …

The Challenge of Selecting and Orienting Political Appointees

Beginning with the critical selection process and orientation, Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011) takes readers inside the lives of 24 political appointees. In spring 2009, we launched an ambitious project. Would 24 top political executives in the newly formed Obama Administrationsome …

The Bureaucrat as Democracys Safety Valve

Why do so many middle-class people bristle at policies from which they would seem to benefit? And why, at the voting booth, do they seem to vote against their economic self-interest? Jonathan Cohn, 2010 Is a weighted voting scheme to give more educated voters greater influe…

The Benefit Is Mutuals: New Models of Public Service Delivery

Public managers around the world are exploring more personalized, proactive, entrepreneurial, and productive models of service delivery. They should study developments in the United Kingdom with interest. As governments around the world are searching for ways to square the circle of fiscal austerity, rising citizen demands, and the need to stimulate wider economic vitality, old organizational forms may offer new hope. In the United Kingdom, mutuals are enjoying a renaissance as the government opens up the provision of services to public servants. Mutuals are organizations owned by their employees or members and loosely encompass many forms, such as cooperatives and social enterprises.

The American People Speak Out on Health Care

There is no shortage of discussion about the problems of the U.S. health care system.Voluminous research demonstrates that the United States spends more on health care than any other nation,yet still underperforms on many dimensions. …

The Appeal of Public Service

In his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy passionately called on the country to ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. His call was answered by hundreds of thousands o…

Testing Pay-for-Success Bonds

Though questions remain, the emerging pay-for-success bond model shows real promise at driving better outcomes and spurring more rapid innovation. Pay-for-success bonds are a promising new financing model designed to accelerate social innovation and improve government performance. The United Kingdom is using this approach in an initia…

Telework Tango: Take Two, From the Top

At my college, ballroom dancing was the largest club on campus. But ask as I might, I could never find a single student whod admit even a passing interest in the rumba. Lets cha-cha forward some 20 years: Government managers who oppose telework are like the ballroom dancing aficionados in college; w…

Telework: Breaking New Ground

Why and how do some federal telework programs succeed? Eight years as part of the leadership of federal telework at the General ServicesAdministration (GSA) have shown me that when carefully planned and rigorously implemented fe…

Teleworking Thrives at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Telework programs at the Alexandria, Virginia, agency improved employee productivity and employee satisfaction while maintaining high levels of customer service and employee performance. When the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law on December 9, 2010, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) already had established an award-winning telework program for its employees. The agency has 16 percent (62) of its telework attorneys who reside more than 50 miles from Alexandria, Virginia, in 27 states. Eleven percent (751) of its telework patent examiners reside in 42 states.

Technology and People Are the Lifeblood of Government

This first journal of 2013 examines social media in the government. While there were perceived and real barriers just a few years ago, federal, state, and local governments have jumped feet first into social media with Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, mobile apps, and virtual worlds.

Targeted Transparency

Transparency is a fundamental component of democratic government. It concerns the right of citizens to know about the activities of their government. Transparency policies have expanded to protect against institutional corruption, a notion that underlies…

Taking Care of Yourself First

In times of stress, employee assistance programs can help leaders put on their oxygen masks so they can better help others.

Taking Care of Business: The VA Commits to Training

Training initiative engages employees to review fundamentals in every line of operation, rids the agency of contract over-runs and high-risk programs, and improves staff skill levels. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) faces an increasingly challenging operating environment. Veterans demands, in terms of claims and se…

Synergy for the Greater Good

A successful interagency collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Library of Medicine provides a framework for federal agencies interested in working more closely together in mutually supportive ways.

Systems Thinking for Social Change

A review of Systems Thinking for Social Change by David Peter Stroh. The book serves as an actionable guide on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning.

Supported Employees Mean Satisfied Customers

Employees are an agency’s most important asset when it comes to improving citizens’ satisfaction with government services. But the report Government for the People: The Road to Customer-Centered Services found that federal agencies are not doing enough to prepare employees to deliver great customer service.

Successfully Managing Federal Rightsizing Initiatives

Federal managers can anticipate mission changes, organizational restructuring, and austere budgets in fiscal year 2013 and beyond. The challenge will be to incorporate these into headquarters-mandated mission changes while creating and maintaining high-performing subordinate teams. The most successful managers will understand headquarters’ reality and be prepared to participate in decision making. They must provide well-reasoned alternatives aligned to established metrics and program assessment criteria.

Sue Stein

Sue Stein guides government leaders and employees in the areas of leadership, career, life transition, stress reduction, and retirement preparation.

Strengthening Our Civic Skills

On April 29, 2010, 75 scholars, civic leaders, and federal officials met in Washington, D.C., to develop a federal policy agenda for civic skills. The conference was convened by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts Universitys Jonathan M. Tisch Colleg…

Strategies to Improve Government Performance

Four senior U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officialswho are leading the Obama Administrations management effortsrecently discussed their game plan and top priorities at the 49th annual Interagency Resources Management Conference (IRMCO) conference, convened this April in Cambridge, Maryl…

Strategic Public Sector Learning and Development

From fighting terrorism abroad to managing the economic recovery here at home, the U.S. government has taken on more new roles and responsibilities in recent years than ever before in its history. Thats translating into expanded missions and increased job responsibilities in many federal agencies an…

Strategic Budget Cutting in Federal Agencies

An unsustainable financial future based on continuing large budget deficits will lead federal agencies to major budget reductions in the coming years. Agencies have little experience in budget reductions: they have typically focused on justifying budget increases. President…

Stopping Sabatoge

Stephanie Castellano reviews Simple Sabotage. A quick and engaging read that will help any government employee lead culture change and improve the efficiency of their agency through simple, subtle actions.

Statesmanship Takes Leadership and Governance to the Next Level

One can assume that readers of this publication are probably not only interested in leadership development, but are, quite likely, students of leadership theory and practice as well. Most of us have become familiar with the customary, sometimes tedious, repackaging of the same list of good leadership characteristics. But when was the last time your personal standard of leadership was really challenged?

State Fiscal Panels Can’t Cure the Budget Blues

Policymakers in 19 states have created blue-ribbon commissions to help stabilize finances. While useful, they cannot rescue us from the budget crisis July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year for most states, marks a brief milestone for governors and state legislators who have faced down budget blues. But the fiscal challenge will…

Starting Up Some Innovation

The Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging innovation through its Ignite Accelerator, in which teams can develop ideas for new projects. Five teams that have gone through the process have been selected for the Ventures Fund and will receive money to implement their ideas.

State and Local Governments Prepare for Climate Change

The year 2010 was challenging for Planet Earth. While the East Coast sweltered in record-setting high heat and humidity, the U.S. Congress abandoned its attempt to pass global warming legislation. Meanwhile, Moscow experienced a heat wave that drove residents to vodka parties and swimming to cool off, with fatal results for some. California exp…

Stars and Snaps

If your agency wants to meet young citizens where they are, try Snapchat.

Sprucing Up the Federal Front Door

The new GSA report Expectations and Challenges: Informing the Future of the Federal Front Door considers trends in people’s perception of government and identifies cross-agency resources that can help government improve how it interacts with the public.

Sparking Innovation in Government

When the workforce comes together, agencies can bring creative ideas to fruition. Juliana Cyril of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discusses how CDC is making innovation accessible to its workforce. Bill Fischer of Growth Matters considers how conferences can become a space for innovation.

Speaking Out in the Workplace

Public sector employees do not check the constitutional right of free speech at the door when they enter public service. According to the Supreme Court, a public employer cannot infringe on constitutionally protected rights as a condition of employment. In the course of their employment, employees who speak out on waste, fraud, abuse, or illegal activity and then face retaliation as a result are protected from retaliation by 42 U.S.C. 1983. Signed into law in 1871 to combat the adverse treatment of African Americans following the Civil War, Section 1983 creates a private cause of action for those who are deprived of their constitutional rights under the color of state law. Over the years Section 1983 has been used as a tool to protect public sector employees who are deprived of a constitutional right, such as free speech, by their employers.

So Satisfying: Leading From the Middle in the Coast Guard

Coast Guard innovators are jazzed about their jobs because they are empowered, recognized, and get to implement their ideas. New survey results can fuel other federal innovation. It was August 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The levees had just given way and the waters were rising. Wi…

Something to Yelp About

This summer Yelp forged a new agreement with the General Services Administration to rate government agencies.

Social Security Administration 2011 Deming Award Winner

Faced with a rapidly expanding workload to review the nations disability claims, staff turnover, and a technology transition, the Social Security Administrations Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) had to make big changes in its training approach. The radical alterations it made to prepare 400 new legal an…

Social Media Matures into Viable, Valuable Communications Tool

Recent trends in the use of social media and mobile technology have given governments fresh opportunities to engage and educate a diverse array of citizens. Sixty-nine percent of adults in the United States were using social networks as of August 2012, according to the Pew Internet and American Life. Two-thirds of them report using Facebook, 20 percent are on LinkedIn, and 16 percent are on Twitter. Figure 1 on the next page reveals that social networking use has grown among…

Smart Technology Helps Agencies Reduce Debt

Motivated by a troubling $107 billion in delinquencies one year, the Office of Management and Budget formed Partner4Solutions, an online portal to boost program payment accuracy. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is taking the lead in engaging federal and state agencies to partner with each other and non-governmental organizat…

Show Me the Money: Financial Recovery after Disaster

The United States is unique in its far-reaching financial assistance programs for disaster-impacted areas. Communities that request and receive presidential disaster declarations are eligible to receive financial assistance through the Fe…

Should the Fed Live in the Cloud?

A report from FierceGovernmentIT and Market Connections Inc. found that federal employees who have some involvement in their agency’s technology solutions believe cloud computing is essential to organizational operations, but they are leery about moving their most sensitive information there.

Shifting Educational Accountability From Compliance to Outcomes

The federal Race to the Top (RTT) program offered states millions of dollars to implement educational reforms that reflected federal priorities. Such priorities include building databases to store student performance data and implementing teacher evaluations linked to student performance on standardized tests. School administrators in 46 states are investing significant resources to overhaul their evaluation systems to increase the number of classroom observations and to put more emphasis on standardized test scores.

Shifting Federal Telework into Drive

In early November 2007, the House Subcommittee on FederalWorkforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia held a hearing on how to break new ground in telework.Telework Exchange, among other witnesses, testified on why the federal …

Shared Services and the Cloud: Seize the Opportunity

The federal government has been gradually adopting shared service business models for administrative services for nearly 30 years. Today, the buzz is all about the cloud and its potential to transform shared services as we know them. Theres much hype and a tendency to conflate shar…

Serving Citizens With Technology

As the executive director of Mississippi Department of Information Technology, Craig Orgeron makes sure agencies have the tools they need to achieve their missions.

Service-Learning Through Colleges and Universities, Part II

Service-learning has the potential to dramatically change the quality of our communities by harnessing the power of students, faculty, and community leaders in a broad range of community service projects. Service-learning is different from other service programs because it …

Service-Learning Through Colleges and Universities, Part I

The weak economy will continue to cause great fiscal distress among state and local governments around the nation. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 48 states have addressed or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for the new fiscal year totaling $194 billion or 28 …

Scaling Innovation

If I could make a plan work in the Department of Social Services, then other agency directors in the city could use these methods. If it works in the city of Richmond, then it could work in other cities and agencies.

Scenario-Based Learning Improves Trooper Performance

In 1999, the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to amend its patrol, accountability, and training practices throughout the entire organization as an alternative to impending litigation. NJSP, in agreeing to develop evidence-based tr…

Riding the Rogue Wave

Jon Wolper reviews Navigating an Organizational Crisis: When Leadership Matters Most by Harry Hutson and Martha Johnson.

Revitalizing a Post-Conflict Government in Liberia

Several years of conflict in Liberia destroyed the civil service and ruined a merit-based system. The conflict allowed leaders to ignore standards and procedures and recruit unqualified individuals based on the patronage and largesse of various armed groups that exacerbated the civil conflict. This situation created an inefficient public service, adversely affecting performance and contributing to poor service delivery. Simply put, the civil service lacked the professional clout and…

Revitalize the Federal Government by Strengthening Four Critical Areas

The federal workforce faces a number of critical challenges that must be addressed to fulfill the increasingly complex demands placed upon federal agencies. For example, the looming retirement bubble will require the replacement of a significant portion of the federal workforce, and the technical skills required in today’s workplace demand advanced employee training efforts.

Revisiting User Fees in Challenging Fiscal Times

The findings of the International City/County Management Associations 2009 State of the Profession Survey (covering 2,214 cities and counties) demonstrate widespread user fee interest. Among various fiscal strategies, 46 percent of local agencies surveyed reported an increase in user fees, while 23 …

Reviewing What Works: Evaluating Programs and Tax Expenditures

Center for American Progress has developed a performance review process that helps the government to undertake a systematic review of spending programs and tax expenditures. Candidate Barack Obama promised that if elected president he would go through our federal budgetpage by page, line by lineeliminating those programs we dont …

Revisiting the Work-Life Balancing Act

Federal leaders provide techniques and tips to maintain work-life balance. Do you feel your life is balanced? Like most everyone, we find striving for balance between work and home a daily challenge. We search for balance because we are happy when we do the things we believe in. It seems simple enough that we should w…

Retaining Knowledge as Boomers Retire

Knowledge curation can help agencies cope with Boomer retirements and the loss of institutional knowledge. The ATD book Ready, Set, Curate offers guidance for building a curation culture.