Reinvention Express, May 19, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 2


National Partnership for Reinventing Government


May 19, 1999 Vol. 5, No. 2

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

Bob Stone's Farewell Letter to Federal Reinventors

Today is my last as a federal employee, after 30 years of service. From the first day, back in the bowels of the Pentagon in 1969 to my last assignment leading the Vice President's campaign to reinvent government, it's been " of those fabulous flings, a trip to the moon on gossamer wings." My jobs have been so rewarding and so fun (most days) that I never ceased to marvel that they'd actually pay me to do this.

I received many honors and much praise at my going away party, but the honor I'll always keep in my heart is hearing Vice President Gore say, "Do you know who knew what was wrong in government and how to fix it? Front line employees. They are the ones who knew-who still know-and Bob became their voice inside this White House."

If I was the voice of front-line employees inside the White House, then my time was well spent indeed. Now here's a serious question for all you reinventors. What will you do for energy after the Energizer-in-Chief is gone? I'll tell you what to do.

Go back to the roots of reinvention. Listen to the GS-9 benefits clerk in Sacramento who is trying to help people get the benefits they have coming - but who isn't trusted to approve a disability claim delivered in person by a recent amputee. She will give you energy to keep reinventing.

Go back to the roots of reinvention - to the GS-14 program manager who's creating decent housing for the poor - but who gets hassled over time-cards, and needs a dozen approval signatures on a simple answer to a routine Congressional letter. He'll re-energize you any time you need it.

Go to the roots of reinvention and listen to all the men and women who signed up to make a difference for America -listen to their stories about working like Dilbert in dreary cubicles, contending with pointy-haired bosses who don't have a clue about trust and enthusiasm. Go get in touch with the power in them - the untapped potential that, unleashed, will restore America's faith in government.

I was lucky enough to get in touch with that power long ago, and it energized me for decades. Filled me with enough energy to spare for so many of you.

But, now the Energizer-in-Chief has gone. You're going to have to go to the source yourselves - to the men and women of government.

They will tell you the job of reinvention is not done. They will tell you how to do it. And they will give you the energy to go on.

As for me, my grandchildren are calling. They're in California doing all sorts of things for the first time - while here, I have done more and more for the last. All in all, it's time for me to be with them.

But I'll never forget any of you - or the dream we share.

And I'll be out there with the rest of America watching - not settling for any less than the best - Americans never settle for less.

So, some day when you're down - when a setback makes you wonder what's the use - just remember my pink ears, my cotton tail - and keep on going, and going, and going, and going.

Note: Bob Stone's Farewell is on the Web at You'll also see a picture of Bob with his family. Also see The Culture Change Speech by Bob Stone at

Register Now for the Excellence in Government Conference '99,

The conference of the year is July 13-15 in Washington, DC. It brings the best of the Reinvention Revolution Conference and the Federal Quality Conference into one sensational event. You'll hear speakers and panelists who will inspire, motivate, and challenge you. Here's the lineup of featured speakers:

Vice President Al Gore (Invited);

Senator Fred Thompson, Chairman, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs;

Hon. Rodney E. Slater, Secretary, Department of Transportation;

Richard D. Calder, Deputy Director for Administration, Central Intelligence Agency;

Michael Useem, leadership scholar and best-selling author of The Leadership Moment;

Margaret Wheatley; organization and systems consultant and author of the acclaimed Leadership and the New Science;

Gopal Kapur, project management expert and founder of Center for Project Management;

Doug Krug, change management consultant and co-author of the best-selling Enlightened Leadership;

George Land, authority on creative achievement and author of Breakpoint and Beyond;

Hon. Maurice McTigue, New Zealand Cabinet minister and international authority on performance management;

Annette Simmons, group process expert and author of A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths. The early bird rate (before June 1) is $695. Visit For more information, call 202-828-7032 or 1-800-868-9445.

National Partnership for Reinventing Government, 750-17th St., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006. Send your reinvention stories and calendar items to Pat Wood at or call (202) 694-0063. Reinvention Express is on the Web at To subscribe by e-mail, send a message to Put this message: SUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L FIRSTNAME LASTNAME (no period). To remove your name from the distribution list, send a message to Put this message in the message block: UNSUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L (no period). For fax, send your name, organization, and fax number to Cassie Frye at or fax to (202) 632-0390.

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