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The Reinvention Revolution Town Hall Wall


BARRIERS AND OBSTACLES TO CHANGE

Empowerment and Accountability
U.S. Geological Survey purchase or lease of copy machines requires approval by the team administrative officer, division administrative officer, Branch of Administrative Services, Copier Program Manager for Headquarters, and finally, Department of Interior. Weeks later, we generally receive approval for the specified machine. Is this all really necessary?

The persons who have the ultimate vision at the VP & NPR levels must take direct steps to bring empowerment to Agency employees who have ideas for productive change.

You canít fix a broken system by getting rid of the people who didnít create the system! Educate, train, and hold people accountable.

Trust Govít people to manage and make fiscal decisions -- in DoD remove the constraints attached to dollars (i.e., OMB, OPA, etc.) -- Trust us to do our Job! Give us all the things Govít talks about; empowerment, streamline, reinvention, trust! This is not to say we wonít make mistakes, but we and you wonít know till we try it.

Why couldnít we go back into the auditorium after we left to go to the bathroom? Security problem or the old authoritarian ways?

Delayering becomes a goal to itself. No real commitment to team building or empowerment. Less boxes, but they are still boxes and smokestacks. No authority or recognition of teams.

BARRIER--Making it easier for regulatory programs to empower employees on the front line -- allowing them to use common sense without the industry that is regulated engaging in lawsuits due to lack of uniformity in application of regulations!

Culture Change
(1) A systemic, continuing education program regarding what reengineering is, is essential.
(2) Top down directives and setting up a few BPR teams wonít work. There must be a continuous/focused culture change management program that involves the people of the org. who are doing the work!

People who wonít break the rules.

There is nothing that cannot be accomplished if it doesnít matter who gets the credit.

Restructuring is not reinvention.

What incentives do STAKEHOLDERS-IN -THE-STATUS-QUO have to reinvent?

Beware of "spin" if a process leader. Cultivate good/strong feedback and ground truthing.

Fear of reporting performance indicators under GPRA if this information benefits current or potential competitors (would like to displace agencies).

Donít take "No" for an answer.
-- Believe in yourself
-- Believe in your project
I went to 3 levels of higher management. 3rd Time Lucky!!

How do you get true commitment from groups that do not share the same culture, but are still part of a necessary change process??

Individual, rather than team, organizations and processes.

The "ARMY" needs to be BOLD -- REALLY BOLD!! Where are the results? Where does the true redesign reside? We do the same things over and over again. Must overcome the fear of reduction.

No incentives or penalties for managers to honestly support reinvention and one-Agency (cost-improvement) initiatives. Managers DONíT WALK THE TALK!

When will NPR ensure that middle managers must comply with NPR?

Our current culture does not select leaders for managers. Our managers lack the "passion" to force cultural change. (second another USDA employee)

Socio-reinvention is not happening; process reinvention is the focus. Adverse impact on peoplesí lives of the old way thatís being reinvented must be acknowledged. Then, compensatory measures must be incorporated into reinvention initiatives.

Congress
Congress indifferent to performance planning and measurement when making decisions about appropriations.

The Constitution -- and this notion of limited Federal power. It would be so much easier if it just said, "do good things."

We are focusing so hard on reinventing our jobs maybe Congress should look into reinventing themselves as well.

NPR meant to push decision-making down to the grassroots level. What do you do when Congress "second-guesses" your decisions? Common-sense no longer counts!

The Congress -- not an impediment -- a brick wall! NPR can do many things without their help. The critical reengineering requires legislating (civil service, acquisition, etc.). Need to make them partners and stakeholders!

How to overcome the intervention of Congress if an Agency reinvents itself in a way that angers a Congressional representative.

Public Outreach
Public outreach has not occurred:
- Folks who have been the locked-out "objects" of agency decision-making have not been invited to participate in reinventing efforts.
- The reinvention disciples must reach out to the public.
- Shift in power must occur in real revolution.

Partnerships
Fed. Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) implemented FACNET -- why not let private industry use/develop the Internet to issue solicitations - receive proposals rather than Govít develop individual FACNET programs?

Lessons Learned
The skills and concepts from the Reinvention [Conference] should be brought back to the workplace.

Successes
NPR needs to publicize accomplishments to the American public more -- newspapers, TV, etc. The people in the grassroots of American public donít really know what positive things have been done.

Auditing and Oversight
IG reluctance to approve electronic service delivery. Fear of fraud causes paralysis.

The NPR realized that oversight agencies such as the IG have a major cultural effect on driving the right kind of change. Yet, it seems little emphasis has been placed on using (directing) the IG to model sought behaviors.

Leadership Issues
Senior Dept. officials who need to understand and commit to reinvention are not typical attendees of those type conferences. Theyíre the ones who need to be here!

The Vice President took time to come to the conference, why couldnít agency heads have come?

Fear at working level that many NPR initiatives are championed by high level SESís who are:
- trying to further their own private agenda
- not telling NPR/VP Gore the entire story
- not considering the good of the national defense

A recent GAO memo to Mr. Perry, SECDEF, dated 7 Mar, indicated Reinvention Labs will undergo an "examination." What kind of signal does that send to the labs?

Career SESíers and Middle Management do not "Walk the Talk." Instead, their attitude is, "This too will pass." Without their support for reinvention, major change is doomed to failure.

Look out for the "How can we reinvent with our budget cut" syndrome! Rather, it can be turned around to be "How can we not reinvent with tighter budgets!"

Senior managers who are "controllers" penalize middle managers who empower their staff.

Privatization of new, independent federal prisons recommended by Pres. Clintonís FY Ď96 budget proposal. Final blessing to go forward or stop completely has not been provided by DOJ/OMB. Fear of success or failure of program?

Although laws and outside rules are often problems, most of the obstacles are in our own agencies. We need a way to let the top boss know what his or her managers and systems are doing to block real solutions. An open-LAN policy (anonymous)? An ombudsman for reinvention?

DoD and Army Military Commanders change every 2-3 years. If one attempts to start any quality program, it may be terminated by the next change of command. Commanders are reluctant to buy-in to any change that will extend pass their tenure. They tend to look for a quick fix.

The young (35-45) middle managers, with career status, whose agenda is themselves. Theyíre not there to be public servants, but to only advance themselves. They also fear loss of power and their jobs as they donít have seniority and are part of the "middle management" dead zone.

I feel the promise of NPR has been lacking/missing for a while (1 1/2 yrs). Why?

Activity Commander who led the Reinvention effort retired. His boss also retired. The new boss does not believe in the new organization structure and is directing our commander to stop the teaming structure and go back to the other organization structure.

No support until lab designation received. Then upper management try to take over.

Barrier: Many current political appointees just donít get it and tend to make arbitrary change for unknown reasons.

Some management (generally GS13-15) bottleneck the reinvention process. A new way of thinking for an individual (GS12 and below) is considered a problem. Sometimes the individual is labeled as a troublemaker. Lower grades are suffering by recurring low appraisal and denial of opportunity. How can Al Gore address the problem?

Solutions/Incentives. "Something" is needed to help get managers/leaders in Agencies on board -- Start really walking the Talk and stop lip service. Help!

A truly committed Assistant Secretary yet obstructionist SESers.

The "Missing Link". Commitment is proven when the Reinvention Lab is directly linked to the Top Exec. Too many Reinvention Labs do not have ACCESS. The "fix" may be as simple as a "no cost" title and/or freedom to use the "RIGHT" LETTERHEAD.

There is no direct "link" -- Our political appointee BIG BOSS doesnít have any direct link, despite our being his only Lab in his immediate office. Need to recommend some direct link - must be informal to avoid becoming a "task".

Frequently political appointees, though eager to foster change, fail to respect and learn from/partner with career execs/managers.

Centralized Bureaucrats that inbreed in large Headquarters Organizations. Get out of the Office and into the Field!

Change of Commander took place 12 months into reinvention process. New Commander does not support new environment (Self-Directed Work Teams) and plans to reorganize back to old traditional hierarchical structure.

Congress and the President continue to reward the "old" ways of doing things, e.g., more "stripes" for efficiency resultant from command and control as opposed to incorporating a more participative model. Therefore, what is rewarded is what is perpetuated. And what is rewarded is no longer needed, right, or appropriate. Congress and the President must reward those who dare to rise above the tidal wave of mediocrity.

Becoming Customer Driven and Mission Focused
The Vice Pres. commissioned the development of a method to change govít "creating a customer driven govt" and then proceeded not to use it, why?

Our organization generates its own income (excess of $15M) but no staff (total, 10 professionals). It depends on growth in health care marketplace yet is restricted from growing based on restrictions in FTEs to provide customer service. What can be done? Business can grow with staff.

Get rid of those answering machines. We need to talk to a warm body!

Obsession with quantitative goals with supervisory-to-employee rations is a red herring - particularly high-end rations (like 15:1). Our focus must be qualitative, mission-driven, and requirements-based. Let managers manage and team leaders lead.

Downsizing and Resource Issues
AN INTERESTING CASE. Please read DOC2-05 [an NPR recommendation]. The Commerce Inspector General admits the justification is Ďinaccurateí admits the FTEís should be Ďby 130í and the savings shown are due to the downsizing only. Elimination/replacement costs will actually cost money. Yet, NOAA orders elimination "to comply with the Presidentís decision on the NPR". THE FACTS (or lack thereof) WILL AMAZE YOU, well worth your time. Success story (?)

RLs [Reinvention Labs] are subject to downsizing -- Punishing Success. 2 RLs in our agency have been BRACíd.

Categorical Restrictions against Agency Admin functioning (e.g., cross cut budget cuts, cuts in FTEs without understanding of program functions, roles, budgets (some offices are fee-for-service and restricted from growth and providing customer service due to arbitrary cuts).

[Posted response to above comment] I donít know of any private business that is generating millions of dollars and limited by FTE ceilings, {thereby} restricting customer service and growth.

NPR will not be fully carried out until the downsizing of the government is over. Employees who have to implement NPR will not do so or buy in. They fear that their efforts to reinvent will cost them their jobs.

It is very difficult to convince managers who are faced with downsizing, budget reductions, mission changes, low morale, that the key to their future is quality.

Throwing out OPM regs and downsizing OPM changed nothing in our hiring capabilities. Now OPM has less staff to be responsive and they charge us for their services. When will this change?

The stress appears to be reduction of Agency staff numbers, rather than getting the best people to get the job done.

"Specifications for Creating Government Corporations" -- (threat of privatization) break-up of an Agency creates disincentive for performance.

Improve the morale of employees during turbulent RIFs and downsizing.

Budget and staffing have nothing to do with mission. With downsizing, cuts have been taken. Now weíre too busy trying to serve the customer to research and implement efficiencies that might make our life easier.

Getting rid of people without getting rid of programs is counter-productive.

My office in the U.S. Customs provides international technical assistance and training in support of national priorities and agency mission goals, such as promotion of fair and free trade, international narcotics control, and nuclear non-proliferation. We receive no directly appropriated funding for this purpose; instead, we rely on reimbursed funding to cover the costs of both the assistance programs and the personnel to deliver those programs. Our outside funding comes from other Government agencies, international organizations, trade associations, and foreign governments. The obstacle we face is this: in an ear of rapidly expanding international trade and travel with its attendant increase in demand and available outside funding for U.S. Customs international assistance, we are unable to increase staffing to enable us to deliver assistance, even though outside organizations are willing to fully reimburse us for the service provided. In fact, Headquarters downsizing, and both direct and reimbursed FTE ceilings, prevent us from hiring additional trainers and advisors to meet the demand. Possible solutions are to not count reimbursed FTE against an agencyís FTE ceiling, or remove FTE controls altogether, as proposed by the NPR.

Peformance Evaluation Systems
Simplify Performance Rating Systems. The use of multiple rating levels (beyond sat. and unsat.) is wasteful and debilitating. The Reality is that it promotes dissatisfaction, low self esteem, quotas, cynicism, and corruption.

SESíers and middle managers are not held accountable for change. Itís not in their performance standards.

Fear and Reprisal
Remove management by fear barriers for GS12 and below. The people in the field need a way to be heard without reprisal or retaliation. Talk with AFGE union representatives in the field. Start at WPAFB.

Communications
Would have been helpful to have a means to meet with other Reinvention Labs in Procurement ... to walk away with ideas for implementation. Hunt and peck doesnít cut it. A separate caucus for us would have been great ... sharing of procurement reinvention strategies is why I came.

Suggestion: Provide a feedback form for conference participants (customer focus, continuous improvement).

Why donít we know more about labs?

What ever happened to the Senior Executive Government-Wide change agent group -- FQI? Missed opportunity here to spread the reinvention word!

Waivers
The process to secure waivers has built in gate keepers who continue to prevent each request a fair hearing. A couple examples:
- The personnel demo packages languish at DoD - After years of experience and positive outcome at the China Lake [personnel demonstration project]
- DFAS. Most customers to this organization desire the option to consider other sources for this service (competition) but cannot.
Please review the DoD process at evaluating waivers [that go] to the Services and below. Most substantive ones are stopped before they reach DoD.

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