July 9, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 7

An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners
Pass It On

Elaine Kamarck Paved the Way

Elaine Kamarck, Senior Policy Advisor to the Vice President and director of the reinventing government initiative since its beginning in 1993, left the government at the end of June. She will lead a project on 21st Century Governance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Bob Stone, project director of the National Performance Review and a career Department of Defense official, will take on her reinvention responsibilities in the interim.

On Kamarck's watch, federal agencies developed more than 3,000 customer service standards, almost 300 reinvention labs improved procurement, timekeeping, and travel processes, and regulatory agencies used common sense and partnership instead of inflexible processes and penalties for companies willing to cooperate--and thousands have. Reforms have saved $118 billion and, as of January 1, 1997, the federal workforce has about 309,000 fewer employees. All of this adds up to a government that works better and costs less. NPR rewarded success one step at a time, presenting Hammer Awards to more than 900 self-directed federal teams and their external partners.

In her goodbye remarks to NPR, Kamarck, whose father is a retired Social Security employee, urged staff to build on these "reinvention islands" to help officials reinvent whole agencies. She urged NPR to focus on helping agencies comply with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, often called "the Results Act." "We will miss Elaine," said Bob Stone, "but she leaves a good model for us. The reinvention revolution will continue."

John Koskinen on GPRA and Reinvention:

Rethink Work, Listen to Employees, Give Up Power, and Take Risks
John Koskinen, deputy director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget, told more than 650 federal managers and employees at the Blair House Papers Conference on July 1 that the Government Performance and Results Act is "watershed legislation." The purpose of the statute, he said, is to cause us to "rethink the work that we do and why we do it."

The Act is "not a once in a life time activity--it's a process of evolution." A strategic plan that doesn't change over the next three or four years is "virtually useless." Taking risks is what reinvention is all about, he said. "We know we are going to make mistakes."

He urged reinventors to ask three "pesky" questions about how government operates:

  1. Why do we do what we do?
  2. Would anybody care if we stopped doing it?
  3. Are we (the government) the best people to do it?

We have a range of options, he said--another agency, the private sector, a partnership.
Are we doing the work in the most efficient way possible?

"The most important word in management is 'communication,'" he said, "and it's a two-way street." He told managers to listen to employees, otherwise "you're going to lose some of the most important information....If you have power, you have to be willing to give it up." It's the way "to harness the power and enthusiasm of the people." The "ultimate performance standard" is that the statute will go away. "If we're good, we'll automatically apply the principles behind the Act." These should not be abstract principles: "It is important for people to understand how their work supports the purpose of their organization," he concluded.

To learn more about reinvention efforts, visit NPR's web site: Click on "Managing for Results" to get information and resources related to the Results Act.

First It Was a Little Red Book, Now It's a Little Green One

The Human Resource Development Council has published a little green book, Getting Results Through Learning. It's modeled after the little red book, The Blair House Papers-- the reinvention rules that President Clinton and Vice President Gore gave the cabinet in January 1997. If the little red book is the "what," then the little green book is the "how." It has concisely- written advice and tools to help federal managers and human resource personnel create a smarter, more productive workforce at little or no cost. The Office of Personnel Management plans to print the book. Agencies may order the book in bulk by "riding" the print requisition. For rider information, agency printing officers should contact Doretha Elmore at OPM, (202) 606-1844. For book content information, contact Marjorie Budd at Defense, (703) 696-1279. The Council will post the book at Keep checking.

Vice President Gore Gets Award from Trade Association

The Coalition for Government Procurement recognized Vice President Gore on June 17 for his role in federal procurement reform through the National Performance Review. "It is our belief that the Vice President's leadership has led to the creation of a government procurement system that truly works better and costs less," said Coalition President Paul J. Caggiano.

NPR Deputy Greg Woods accepted the award and read a letter from the Vice President that gave credit to federal employees for the "tremendous job" they are doing. "It is the federal employees who, working in partnership with industry, are reinventing government procurement day in and day out," the Vice President said.

The Coalition is a trade association representing more than 300 companies. Its members are responsible for nearly half of all commercial product sales to the federal government. The Coalition has given the award only five other times in its 19-year history. For more information about the award, contact Larry Allen, Executive Director of the Coalition, at (202) 331-0975.

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