Category: Magazines

Municipal-Level Surveys and Recycling in Kentucky

Two Kentucky studies demonstrate that surveys can function as vehicles for bringing about change by simply engaging the attention of respondents. We typically think of surveys as tools to help us do one of two things: obtain information to determine what services or programs are needed or measure the quality of service delivery a…

Multi-Sector Workforce Collaboration: Sourcing for Improved Performance

Over the past several decades, the workforce delivering federal government services has changed dramatically. While government spending has increased, so has the use of non-federal resources to achieve mission results. Federal government organizations increasingly have engaged contractor, gr…

Moving Telework from Compliance to Competitiveness

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 offers a flexible work environment that maximizes the strategic benefits of a fully integrated telework program. Before the ink was even dry on the presidents signature of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, you could almost hear the sighs of dj vu all over again across the nations capital. Histo…

Motivated by the Mission Or by Their Careers

One of the most persistent questions facing leaders of government organizations is how to keep employees engaged, productive, and committed to serving the public. Leaders who understand and address what motivates their employees are more likely to hold on to their best people and maximize performance. In many cases, employee engagement rests on how well a manager understands employees, their reasons for working in the government sector, and how that information can be used to address employee…

Modernizing Kentuckys State Government Through HR

In his inaugural speech on December 11, 2007, Kentuckys 61st governor, Steven L. Beshear, challenged all Kentuckians to choose the path of progress. This path will involve new thinking and new ideas. It will require cooperation and patience…and it will demand courage. Now is the time to begin tran…

Mentoring in the Middle

Agencies need flexible and effective ways to promote employee growth. A robust mentoring program can help.

Mega-Reorganizations: Seven Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks

Reorganizations are a fact of government life, as inevitable and often as painful as taxes. They are undertaken for myriad reasonssometimes as a matter of national security and sometimes for reasons less dramatic, such as eliminating duplication and overlap. But without exception, they are intended (sometimes among other ulterior things) to mak…

Meet the GovTech 100

Government Technology and e.Republic Labs have developed the inaugural GovTech100, a listing of the leading 100 companies focused on government as a customer.

Meeting the Publics Demands: Renewing Performance Management

In the federal government, performance management seems to be perceived as synonymous with compliance, punitive scrutiny, scorecards, public accountability, and budgetary reduction for poor performers. This is not always the case in other organizations. Within some government bodies, such as the Bri…

Media Relations and Effective Evacuations of Gulf Coast Communities

Local emergency management organizations (LEMOs) provide a wide variety of services to their communitiesmany of which are relatively unknown to the people they serve. The unheralded nature of LEMOs work can have a significant negative impact on these organizations. A LEMO t…

Mechanics of Federal Restructuring

A successful restructuring effort in the federal government requires a coherent plan that addresses resource requirements, likely employee reactions, and management commitment.

Measuring Performance Reporting Quality

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires federal agencies to develop strategic plans, identify how they will measure outcomes, set annual performance goals, and produce annual performance reports. Between 2002 and …

Measuring Government Performance to Promote Transparency

My wife, Katherine Barrett, and I have written a great deal about state and local government. Along the way, evaluation has emerged as our area of specialty. We try to discern how effectively government does a number of things, most of them manag…

Maximizing Sourcing Options to Deliver Results

Citizen demands on federal, state, and local governments require the delivery of premium services at the best cost. These demands cannot be met by government workers alone. The complex challenges facing government today require a much larger …

Managing Training and Development at the National Gallery of Art

A new learning management system increases the scope and accuracy of data sharing, and provides opportunities to develop employee training in new ways. With nearly 130,000 items, the National Gallery of Art has one of the finest collections of American and European art from the late middle ages to the present. More than 4 million people visit the gallery each year, making it the sixth most popular art museum in the world.

Managing to Green at the Department of Labor

For the past eight years, the prized position in the traffic light scoring system that supports the Presidents Management Agenda (PMA) has been owned by the color green. Since President George W.Bush launched his PMA in 2001, this straightforward…

Managing the Transition

The work of government doesn’t stop when administrations change, so leaders need to be ready to keep their agencies moving. New leaders will need to be able to tap into the expertise of career staff, and career members of the SES will need to keep their staffs engaged throughout the process.

Managing the Bad Apples

Holding employees accountable for their performance can foster increased engagement among the whole team.

Managing Stimulus Funding Performance

In this new era of responsibility and accountability, the passage of economic stimulus fundingalong with demands for successful government performancepresents contemporary challenges for public managers. The challenges demand that public managers rely on collective efforts, share collective responsi…

Managing in Turbulent Times

Book Review W. Astor Kirk, PhD, One Life: Three Professional Careers (Long Beach, California: Magic Valley Publishers, 2007) Managing in Turbulent Times stor Kirks book recounting his three-pronged civil rights story con…

Managing in the Black: Understanding Structure, Culture, and Craft

Public Management: A Three-Dimensional Approach provides a surprisingly fresh approach for introductory public management graduate-level courses. In the books preface, the authors make clear why they wrote this book for graduate public affairs management education: effective public management and co…

Managing Incentives for Green Vehicles

With increasing concerns about global warming, energy security, and gas prices, policymakers have encouraged the adoption of more efficient vehicles.These automobiles run the gamut from alternative fuelsuch as hydrogen, natural gas, biodiesel, an…

Managing in a Fishbowl: Closing Federal Leadership Gaps

A new CCL study offers insight into the leadership development needs of government leaders and offers some on-the job solutions to help enhance the skills of current leaders and create leaders for tomorrow. Do you put your staff at ease or do you push them a bit, leading them to greatness? According to a new survey from the Center for…

Managing Change in the Federal Government Part I

This first article of a three-part series attempts to identify factors that influence management behavior in federal agencies, providing an overview of bureaucratic reality and a context for managing change in an administrative environment. Part …

Managing Agency Knowledge

The need to capture and transfer knowledge among agencies and from departing or retiring employees to remaining employees has put knowledge management at the forefront of agency agendas.

Making Training Strategic

Merriam-Webster defines the term strategy as a careful plan or method; a clever stratagem; the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal. To make training more strategic within government agencies, it must be part of a larger plan or method that helps organizations achieve a spe…

Making Social Media Content as Accessible as Possible

Most everyone has heard of Section 508, the requirement that federal electronic information technology must be accessible to those with disabilities. Section 508 applies to more than is commonly understood, however. It applies to all online content that is created by the federal government and its contractors, not just content that appears on a .gov or .mil domain. The rise in use of social media and the ability to share information at lightning speed have encouraged more agencies to examine…

Making Significant, Lasting Differences

The Social Security Administratino’s talent development policies have made the agency one of the few in government that can boast high levels of employee engagement. Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin explains how.

Making Public Procurement Strategic

How can government make public procurement more strategic? The issue of strategic procurement goes much deeper than a discussion of how to purchase equipment and supplies more intelligently. It is an issue that potentially has a major impact on citizen income and quality of life.

Making Performance Information More Useful

Only 50 percent of federal managers use performance information to help them run more effective programs. This percentage has not changed in more than a decade, according to two Government and Accountability Office studies conducted in 1997 and 2008. Similar results were noted in the 2011 survey of federal performance improvement officers (PIOs) by the Partnership for Public Service and Grant Thornton LLP. Yet performance information officers only spend a fraction of their time on performance…

Making Health Easier

The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information is leveraging expertise from the private sector through challenges to create apps that make it easier for consumers and providers to access health information.

Making Charity Simpler

A new executive order allows federal retirees to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign and lets employees count volunteer hours toward CFC goals.

Making Data Docile

Alex Moore reviews Analytics, Policy, and Governance, edited by Jennifer Bachner, Benjamin Ginsberg, and Kathryn Wagner Hill.

Make the Right Plays

Jon Wolper reviews The Federal Management Playbook: Leading and Succeeding in the Public Sector by Ira Goldstein.

Local Government Lessons on Emissions Inventories

More and more local governments, state governments, and corporations now report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Soon, federal agencies will be required to inventory the annual emissions from their buildings, fleets, and other sources.A daun…

Local Government Cutback Budgeting

Since the 2008 financial meltdown, local governments continue to scramble to develop sustainable budgets. Local government cutback budgeting refers to reducing operations below the current level. It forces organizations to realign expenses with revenues. The larger the gap between expenses and revenues the greater the cutback required to re…

Linking Labor-Management Relations to Improved Agency Performance

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that more than one half of the union members in the labor force work for government. In fact, 41.1 percent of the government workforce is represented by unions, compared to just 8 percent in the private sector. In the nonpostal federal serv…

Living With Continuing Resolutions

Fall is the season for living with continuing resolutions. Like frontiersmen, agencies need to stock up and plan ahead in advance of the unpredictable winter. Continuing resolutions (CRs) are here to stay. Although administrators fear CRs might wreak havoc with agency programs and budget plans, administrators can prepare for CRs to mi…

Leveraging Networks and Social Software for Mission Success

Corporate and federal leaders are learning that traditional, hierarchical organizational (org) charts are no longer accurate depictions of how and by whom work gets done in modern institutions. They worked well in an era when output was mostly characterized by a linear, step-by-step process and accu…

Learning Smarter at NSA

Bringing a cognitive scientist on board helped the National Cryptologic School craft mission training that was both efficient and effective in the long term.

Leading Differently: Can Reorganization Change Things?

Like anything that has to do with relationships, change is more of a process than an end goal. It is not ordinarily possible to predict the precise effects of a change. Things happen along the way: new evidence emerges, people voice opinions, technology fails to work, and so on. However, because hope springs eternal, the federal government has …

Leaders: Own Your Alligator Brain

As a leader, your behavior affects the physical health of your direct reports, for better or for worse, just as your supervisor’s affects yours. How is this possible? What can you do about it?

Leadership Beyond the Battlefield

The U.S. Army established a leadership studies department at West Point in the late 1970s that has become a standard for successful leadership development programs. The first chair of the departmentthe Department of Behavioral Science and LeadershipGeneral Howard Prince, was the founding dean of the…

Labor Management and the Political Paths of Collaboration

This year will be the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order on Labor-Management Partnerships (E.O. 12871 issued October 1, 1993). Over the past two decades, federal government employees and their union representatives have worked with federal managers to improve the delivery of service to the American public. As President Clinton noted in the preamble to his executive order, it was through cooperation that the design and implementation of comprehensive change would take place. E.O. 12871 called for the establishment of labor-management committees or councils at appropriate levels throughout the executive branch; employees and their union representatives were to be “full partners” with management representatives to better serve the agency’s customers and to satisfy its mission.

Kitty Wooley

As a self-described convener, advisor, and catalyst and founder of Senior Fellows and Friends LLC, Kitty Wooley encourages federal employees to enhance the scope and impact of their work by building collaborative networks across organizational boundaries.

Keys to Successful Performance Measurement

For many years, leaders have waited for real-time, easy-to-use performance data. Thanks to technology, that time has come. Now, the question is, What do we do with it? Performance measurement initiatives have emerged in all organizational sectors and at all levels within organizations throughout the past century. The concept of p…

Keeping Your Lens Clean Amidst Ethical Challenges

From the restaurant table to the agency boardroom, ethical challenges often force us to make tough decisions. Keeping your ethical lens clean is the first step in resolving lifes dilemmas. Ethical challenges pervade our daily lives. It may be as simple as the restaurant bill that did not include dessert. It may be as complex as contra…

Keeping Up the Energy

Jon Wolper reviews Energized Enterprise: Leading Your Workforce to New Peaks of Performance in the Public Sector and Beyond by Marta Wilson.

Just a Reminder: Dont Ignore Congress

In March 2011 the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) held a discussion of federal government reorganization before a large audience. But when I asked the audience who in the meeting room was from Congress (and not the Government Accountability Office), only one person was currently working on Capitol Hill. The audi…

Is Your Organization Ready to Play?

18F has developed the U.S. Digital Services Playbook, a set of guidelines for federal agencies to understand how they might collaborate with them.

Is Your Agency at High Risk?

A recent report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, Managing Risk, Managing Results, discusses which federal programs face the highest risk for waste, fraud, and mismanagement, and how they can improve.

Is President Obama Thinking Outside the Box?

In his State of the Union Address in January 2011, President Obama noted, “We can not win the future with a government of the past.”The president’s statement and his call “to merge, consolidate, and reorganize federal government in a way that will…meet the callenges of the 21st centurey” seemed to catch somein the White House by surprise. Jef…

Invoking the Ancients to Rescue Leadership Development

In The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership: Classical Wisdom for Modern Leaders, two accomplished professors from Long Island University, M.A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas, challenge prevailing leadership development models.

Investing in Cyber Talent

The Cybersecurity National Action Plan seeks to address the need for more cybersecurity experts in government.

Introduction: What Is Happening, Why, and So What?

In mid-2007, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) began an effort to contribute to the new administrations management initiatives, which are designed to better implement the presidents policy agenda and improve the operations, effectiveness, and efficiency of the government. IBSG devel…

Introduction

This timely mini-forum on public-sector infrastructure investments blends applied research and case study insights on a diverse set of management challenges. The first article, by Wendy Haynes and Andrew Whipple, reviews and compares three transportation megaprojectsBostons Big Dig…

Interagency Network of Enterprise Assistance Providers

Less than ten years ago, twenty million small businesses across America faced the catastrophic year 2000 crisis!Y2K, as it was called, threatened computers around the world because they were based on a DD/MM/YY formula.This formula made computers …

Intergovernmental Relations In a Time of Transition and Uncertainty

Evidence of serious problems in the American intergovernmental system is everywhere. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Ten.) recently called for an exchange by the federal and state governments of responsibilities for education and health policy to solve critical state financial problems. News stories report municipal bankruptcies and that state and local governments have laid off more than 700,000 employees during the past two years.

Interagency Group Works for the Good of All Government

Revamping the performance appraisal system for the Senior Executive Service (SES) last year was a huge leap toward bringing the program in line with its original mission: to serve as a corporate cadre of federal government leaders capable of moving across and within agencies to take on a variety of roles.

Interagency Collaboration Moves U.S. Closer to Ending Homelessness

In any single night in the United States, approximately 650,000 individuals are without safe and stable housing. One in 500 Americansand one in 67 Americans living below the poverty lineis in a shelter or on the street every night. While these numbers are staggering, our nation has made significant progress over the last decade to reduce chroni…

In Pursuit of Ethical Governance

Do you recognize these headlines? Former CIA Official Is Sentenced to Prison for Fraud Despite Red Flags About Judges a Kickback Scheme Flourished Corruption Undercuts U.S. Hopes for I…

Integrated Learning in New York State Government

From the moment students start elementary school all the way through college, they are taught concepts mainly through verbal instruction that teachers expect will later be applied in the real world. However, in school, teachers gauge levels of learning and understanding by conducting tests. By the t…

Innovation at Rancho Cordova

The City of Rancho Cordova in California was named #12 on the Great Place to Work best small workplaces list by the Great Place to Work Institute. It is the first local government agency to appear on the list. The selection is based on an employee survey that evaluates management credibility, respect, and fairness; and employee pride and camaraderie. Additionally, a panel reviewed organizational practices that foster the positive work culture.

Inherently Governmental Functions: Has the Debate Changed?

There has been a long-standing policy, codified in the U.S. Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), that functions intimately related to the public interest should only be performed by federal civil servants. Typically, these types of inherently governmental functions require either the use of discre…

Inherently Governmental Functions: At a Tipping Point?

More than 15 years ago, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy issued Policy Letter 92-1, Subject: Inherently Governmental Functions.This 1992 document offered the first government-wide guidance to help execut…