Excellence In Government 2000
Electronic Town Hall Wall Summary
July 11-12, 2000
by Dr. Lynn Kahn
National Partnership for Reinventing Government
Reinventors and quality aficionados at the Excellence in Government 2000 Conference left their answers to questions about the state of reinvention and quality improvement on the Electronic Town Hall Wall developed and sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Track 1 - Leading Change and Inspiring Innovation
Track 2 - e-Government and the Technology Imperative
Track 3 - People Power: Transforming the Workplace
Track 4 - Creative Alliances: Partnerships That Work
Track 5 - Results and the Business of Government
Excellence in Government 2000
1. What still needs to be done in your organization to create a government that connects citizens, services, and results more effectively?
2. If you could have a private conversation with the new head of your organization in the next Administration, what would you say?
- Need to keep the pressure on middle management to accept change and to lead change once processes are re-engineered or improved.
- Senior management needs to continue to speak to the need for innovation in the workplace.
- Involvement in reengineering should result in a passion for it.
Regulatory agencies need to begin translating their regulations into plain English that can be understood by the taxpayer. Scientific and technical terms need to be connected to the everyday lives of taxpayers.
- Provide more services on the web, making forms easier to submit and to process.
- The number of communications between external customers and staff needs to be reduced. Also, external customers need to be able to communicate with agency staff 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
- In my organization, middle managers are a real concrete barrier.
- Progress is being made because the effort has continued over a long period of time. Hopefully the new administration will support to the same or higher level. OPM must revise the accountability standards for managers at all levels to support and inculcate quality management.
- If accountability is not emphasized across all government agencies, it is not a systematic government process or a government success -- it's an individual agency process and an individual agency success.
- We need the latitude to hire the best and brightest and to get rid of folks who don't want to perform any more.
- There are many organizations that provide services to other government agencies that are not given enough credit. Also, many organizations perform necessary services that the citizens need, but the organizations don't interact directly with citizens. For example, most of the Department of Defense doesn't interact on a regular basis with citizens in every city and state and doesn't provide a service that the average American uses in the way that Social Security or IRS does. That doesn't mean that citizens don't need the service.
- Greater sharing of information between the various regional offices, and exchanging success stories and solutions that have worked for similar problems.
- We need to continue to develop our talent and bring new talent into the system.
- I find that people in my agency assume that stakeholders and service users will take a negative point of view and immediately become defensive. It is particularly difficult if your agency has multiple stakeholders and service users with different and competing desires and needs. Even the organizations in my agency that do engage stakeholders want to cut off the conversation. They take the attitude they have listened long enough.
3. If you were using the President's Quality Award (PQA) criteria, what additional services or products, or changes to the program, would be most beneficial to your organization?
- I would tell him or her of the successes we have had in reinventing our processes and how we have reached out to our stakeholders.
- Ask the new leader to reach out daily to everyone in the agency with an inspirational message on each individual's computer, so that when employees log on, they don't get the standard legal blurb on misuse of government property. I want to hear from my leader and know what he or she is doing that day so that I can synchronize my activities! Inspire me -- please!
- I would ask him or her to promote quality and improvement throughout the organization.
- I would ask him or her to communicate more with the staff. We can't find our direction without leadership.
- Don't forget the old pat on the back for a job well done -- even for the smallest of jobs. We get so caught up in moving to the next "fire" that we forget to achieve final closure and to include reward on the last one!
- Please continue doing everything that the current leader is now doing and use your creativity in continuing as appropriate. Keep the spirit high.
- I would tell him or her to continue on and celebrate success more.
- Continue our journey -- our next step is TRUE responsibility, and accountability for that responsibility. It's the only way to do business -- we just need to follow through now so it's REAL.
- I am getting a new leader in a few weeks, and, if I had the nerve, I would like to tell him that his biggest challenge is going to be taking control of a team that has fragmented to many turf warriors. Everyone is pushing their own agenda and trying to prove their own worth to avoid losing their position in the next downsizing. I would like to see him recruit some new blood and promote a team organization.
- I would like to share expectations with that particular individual and to express my concerns and ideas for possible organizational improvement.
- I would tell the new head of the organization that the "old boy's network" has got to go. Diversity is really still lip service in my organization. The few women managers have a much tougher time than their male peers do in terms of both
- Welcome to the government! Leave your title at the door and bring your talents to the table! Begin changing industrial age work cultures into information age behaviors by your own example.
- I want to know what the head of the agency thinks.
- I would tell the Commissioner that until he and his direct reports have the courage to stand up to unwarranted criticism from Congress, he should expect no great loyalty from the career people.
- We need to find out exactly what our customers want and do everything it takes to deliver it. We need to reward, not punish, risk takers. We need to make all of our decisions asking the questions -- does this make business sense? Does this make common sense? Does this satisfy customers? Is this good for our people? Is it the right thing to do? We need to get rid of poor performers and managers who act out of self-interest. We need to have our customers and staff appraise our managers. We should only do things that are absolutely necessary to operate the business, and cease all unnecessary activities that waste the taxpayers' money.
- Time is short. You must have some agenda of things you would like to accomplish. You have to communicate those goals to everyone in the organization in order to accomplish those things in the short time that is left the day that you start, whether that time is 4 years, 2 years or 18 months.
- If you do not communicate your goals to those who work for you to the point that they understand them as well as you do, it is the same as keeping them all secret. No one will work toward those goals, and they will likely not be achieved.
- If you do not have an agenda, be advised that leadership will devolve to the lowest level that is willing to take it on. If that is at the individual manager level, you will likely be managing chaos among your ranks, and the front-line workers will be jerked from one high priority to another, seemingly without rhyme or reason.
- I would ask him or her to remember that he or she has an obligation to "water the seeds" planted by those who came before, as well as to plant new seeds for those who follow. But remember that some of us have been here for a while and have a lot of institutional knowledge to tap into. We are, in effect, the long-term caretakers of this agency.
- I would ask the new head of my agency (EPA) to get together with the heads of DOD and NASA for the express purpose of exploring the applicability of USA's Planetary Protection Policy to our own planet. That policy was written in 1958 and excludes Earth. It needs to be updated.
Track 1 - Leading Change and Inspiring Innovation
- We need to finish our strategic plan, begin to design our succession planning criteria, and begin capacity building with our staff.
- It would be of great value to hear the President say that he encouraged the use of the President's Quality Awards in federal agencies.
- Continue our transition to using the PQA criteria as an improvement tool -- continued encouragement and insistence on their use, and support for the improvement identified.
- A greater understanding of the criteria at all levels throughout the organization, and holding the gains that we have already made.
- We do use PQA criteria and, in fact, are getting ready for our third self-assessment. Would recommend to the Department of Transportation that they re-institute its Quality Award. This would be helpful for folks not quite ready to pursue the President's Award program. It would also reinforce PQA and organizational assessments throughout the Department.
- The President and his political team should encourage PQA, but more as a "standard" throughout government agencies. This could improve the number and variety of agencies that actually use the criteria. In the end, this will result in better best practices to share. Currently, lots of DOD award recipients and their success stories are difficult to translate to non-DOD organizations.
- If the President wants to underscore the importance of the PQA in the government, he should attend the Award ceremony and personally present the award. I credit VP Gore for at least showing up a couple of times, but then he isn't the president (and probably never will be). Perhaps President Bush will figure it out.
- The PQA is an art within itself. There is more emphasis on the criteria than the point of the whole exercise. What is the point? What is the mission? Why have PQA? What are we really trying to accomplish? If we really want to improve quality and efficiency throughout the entire federal government, we need to go about this differently. How many activities can afford the time and expense to compete for the Award? If your organization's head doesn't want to compete or is not strong enough to make the organization spend the time and money to compete, then it won't happen. What about past PQA lessons learned and best practices? Those things will not automatically show up at your organization. We need to establish one group for the entire federal government that is responsible for training every single organization on the PQA criteria, and be creative on how to staff it. If the PQA criteria are worthwhile, we should establish them in every part of the federal government. We should have a group that helps your organization establish the PQA criteria at your office, not audits or reports or grades. There should be standard web-based software for all to use. Lessons learned should be available on the web. The PQA group should be talented enough to come into your work site and incorporate and tailor any and all best practices and lessons learned that apply. That way, a group of professionals can share the knowledge gained with all in real time and help you use it, and provide you all the tools you need. Is the goal to have some organizations that have leaders with big egos compete for some special prize, or is the goal for every organization to do better?
1. We all are aware of the tendency to resist change. What particularly successful strategy have you used or observed for helping employees become committed to improving organizational performance?
2. What are the most significant impediments to change efforts in your organization?
- Making sure everyone knows WHY the organization is doing what it is. Open communication/information among all levels of an organization is the key to entrepreneurial innovation.
- Get them truly involved in the change process, and not just pay lip service to the need for change.
- Get buy-in on the front end and keep an open mind.
- Ask them -- don't tell them -- what needs to be done; and then deliver the leadership to do it
- Including personnel in the process -- setting the goals and letting them find the solutions.
- Offer rewards that matter -- like the prospect of incentive pay, bonuses, and career growth, as well as traditional benefits like teamwork, cross-training, more effective work methods, etc.
- Allowing them to participate in the process.
- Allow changes to come from the staff level. Almost all of the innovations and tools for improving organizational performance have come from the staff level. Management has been savvy enough to solicit that input and to support staff innovations when they occur. Of course, the staff has now realized that we are the major drivers of change in our organization, and this has spurred us to come up with even more changes. This also has improved morale and performance.
- Include all employees in the planning and execution of all processes in the organization. Communication is really the key to success -- learn to listen as well speaking to others.
- Follow through on THEIR ideas. Provide the support, trust, and respect.
- Ask for their comments. Promote their innovations. Let them take the lead.
- ALWAYS keep communication lines open. Include everyone affected.
- Make sure everyone understands and supports the mission, and base added value on that.
- Recognize all contributions.>
- Start with the right people -- some people are naturally interested in improving performance -- then set the stage by making sure they understand how this can make things more effective for them as well as for customers.
- I feel the strategies to overcome resistance have some universal principles that can be applied to everyone (macro level). However, how much, how often, and how many depends on the specific group (micro level). One internal organization in my agency responded very well to a "Peter Block" approach, and it took two years to do it. Another organization decided to "follow the leader" and a lot was achieved while that leader was around. When he was gone they kept the changes they made but stopped making any more under the new leadership. They didn't make a personal commitment but appreciated the changes they made with that particular leader. It is also true that you can change too much too fast and cover too much ground. I am part of a group of internal consultants. Managers and staffs ask for lots of change fast, but after the analyzing, deciding, and planning, they want slow implementation. It is now real! Can't be delayed any longer.
- Listen to your team.
- A subordinate may have an idea that is better than your own. This is not a problem. As the leader, it isn't your job to have the best idea all the time. Give that person frequent, lavish (but not insincere!) public credit.
- When your team realizes you're not trying to hog all the attention, they will become energized and enthusiastic. Remarkable things will start to happen. Their enthusiasm will become word-of-mouth advertising for your projects. Good people will start wanting to work with or for you. Your reputation for humility will be exceeded only by your reputation for skillful management.
Track 2 - e-Government and the Technology Imperative
- A lack of funds and staff.
- Old management that does not commit to leadership but to the status quo.
- Fear of destabilizing established comfort levels in the organization.
- Failing to see the benefits.
- It's too much work. People get paid to do nothing or do something. The majority chose to do nothing -- it's safe, it's affordable, and it's very rewarding.
- Resistance to change and lack of motivation.
- Possibly the people involved with the effort. In many instances, the majority of the SES does not get personally involved in the process. The leadership is delegated and not necessarily supported. Consequently those involved are at risk and find it easier "not to make waves."
- Parent organization not helping.
- Talk . . .talk . . .talk . . . and no action.
- Most management does not seem to have a goal or agenda to follow, but rather react to events thrown at them. Almost all seem to have no plan for the future or a vision to guide their actions. Those that do keep them secret. It seems that most managers are allergic to leadership. It could be because they are worried about being wrong or making others upset or are too concerned about how it might affect their chances for another high-level position.
- Leaders who have lost interest or have "been there, done that" and are slow to join the effort. Consistent emphasis and encouragement from all leadership over an extended period of time will win - eventually. Decreasing budgets and staffs don't help, but, realistically, it's the management of the organization that needs to push, support, encourage, emphasize, and inculcate.
- Resistance to change. Many people are afraid of the unknown or the next direction your organization might take.
- No follow-through by top management. Appears as lack of support or appreciation.
- Rewards for projects that are not as important to the employees. Note what initiatives are important and reward those as well as those that are top priorities!
- Reactive management.
- Track record of MANY changes being started, too many for the resources, and little follow-through. Everyone has to personally sort out the wheat from the chaff.
- Most managers seem to need consensus before going ahead with a new initiative. They need sign off by everyone or a directive from above to put support behind an initiative. I have only seen one person in my 3 years in government who did not wait for a burning bush before acting -- the new Deputy Commissioner at Social Security. He has pushed his own agenda of accelerating e-government initiatives as well as creating an agency-wide atmosphere where innovation and entrepreneurship can flourish. He hasn't hesitated or gathered group consensus among agency executives before pushing ahead, which has included disrupting work plans and derailing other priority activities.
- The temporary nature of having political appointees in our agency's top positions. It's difficult to follow through with a vision when the top people keep changing and have goals and objectives of their own.
1. What are the best ways your agency is using technology?
2. How could electronic government be used to improve results in your agency?
- A PC on every desk connects people in powerful new knowledge-management ways faster than ever before, changing communications in bureaucracies in productive ways. Suddenly, organizational positioning is less relevant than information flow, creating wonderful synergies! Next up is the bureaucracy's need to reflect these existing changes by updating organization charts out of the industrial age hierarchical production-line formats into information age flow charts. My agency needs to figure out how to do that because it's beginning to look silly.
- There has to be a balance in top-down mandates regarding technology. There are volumes of examples where this approach does not work -- there is no evidence that this approach will work with regard to technology.
- The top has to work as a catalyst for change at the front lines and administrative lines to be sure. However, there is a great deal that the top does not know about that individual American that the front line knows. The top has to act as an enabler to the field. The top can bring the front line needs and expectations together to form solutions that are useful and hard-hitting.
- One portal for access to all government services is a great opportunity to bring government to the people. If it is done in a multi-support, multi-use, and integrated approach, it will be very successful.
- Don't leave anyone out. Not everyone has a desk or even an office. Create access to technology that meets the need of the user; don't create users that meet the needs of the technology. Perhaps focusing on several users of technology would be a beneficial approach to "tech'ing up" the government. Work with a struggling agency to create some significant solutions. NASA seems to have funding for innovation, and they seem to be able to partner very easily with private industry. What's holding other agencies back from using the NASA strategies for creating and acquiring technology? Industry is eager to learn at the feet of NASA. Why isn't government?
- Create a Virtual Learning Center for each agency or use www.va.gov/vlc, a site for sharing all the informal knowledge in the system. There are a lot of formal education options out there, but very few have knowledge management systems that allow front line employees to share what has worked for them to make their jobs easier/faster/cheaper/better quality, etc. A Virtual Learning Center provides a systematic mechanism to share and access the innovative practices of others.
- By advocating a portal website. However, the completion of this website appears to be lagging behind the competition.
- The development of a collaborative intranet environment that facilitates training and policy development.
- To communicate with the customer -- immediately -- from all levels of the organization. The customers love it!!!!
- All field representatives are supplied with laptop computers and can send/receive information and reports at any time. Mobile phones have also enhanced the exchange of information in a timely manner.
Track 3 - People Power: Transforming the Workplace
- I'm interested in using real time face-to-face communication. How do I get my agency to invest in systems to make this possible? For example, to do web-casting where the speaker can see audiences in various locations, and the audiences in these locations can see and communicate with the speaker and the other audiences?
- If EPA could empower people with environmental information to solve their own problems on-site before those problems grow to national proportions, EPA could refocus its mission with a national lens, instead of its current scattershot response to environmental protection. That means getting away from bureaucratic techno-jargon and legalese and moving towards plain English.
- Not too far down the road, I see healthcare carried out in the home via telephone (tele-care), video cameras (tele-medicine), and the web (web-care). Electronic government will be needed to keep patients' records and let them determine who will be given read/write access, to provide patient education, and to do basic diagnostics. The military already has wristwatches that monitor vital signs, and it is not long until this moves into the rest of government (VA, HHS, IHS, etc.)
- One of the greatest obstacles to expansion of electronic service in my agency is the opposition of line managers who see electronic service as a threat to their personal positions, in that electronic service is not geographically based, and can be located anywhere.
- Move to taking applications via the Internet. Set up a secure line so that claimants can access their accounts electronically or via phone, thereby reducing contacts with the agency.
- Check out the Direct Loan Web site at www.ed.gov/DirectLoan. I developed this site, and we have a link to the contractor that manages borrower account information. Borrowers can see the balance of their accounts and change certain data.
- Many paper intensive processes could be automated with attendant personnel savings. There doesn't appear to be a commitment on the part of the organization to make this happen. Until there is commitment at the top, the pace of e-government transformation at my agency will be slow. Perhaps what we need is a grassroots movement to automate these processes and then sell these concepts upward.
- We could have 24/7 communication to better serve our customers. We could minimize the quantity of communication and increase the effectiveness of the communication.
- Use email for all internal agency correspondence.
- Social Security could move most of its interactions with the public to the Internet. Filing for benefits could be done online -- even providing proof of identity and age could be done at a kiosk with a built-in scanner. We could probably eliminate a large number of 1-800 calls by having a website that could answer questions about eligibility, program rules, and benefit calculations. Why not have a wizard/help type function for answering questions about these issues? The Handbook is too technical and is not easily accessible.
1. What is the federal government going to have to do to be able to recruit and retain the best and the brightest of future generations?
2. What works in rewarding and motivating employees for exceptional performance?
- Tap into that vast baby-boomer reservoir of hierarchically topped-out, passed-over and warehoused senior pros with junior rookie apprentices -- opportunity for mutually beneficial synergies between the experienced and the energetic.
- Change OPM regulations so government can compete with private industry in attracting and keeping the most qualified employees.
- Get rid of Resumix and other automated systems for determining if applicants are qualified!
- Truly consider and entice candidates from private industry and state/local government. Add some integrity to the OPM.GOV system, which discriminates against non-incumbent (federal) applicants. Agencies post vacancies for 5-10 days when they've already selected someone (inside the organization); they limit applicants to status candidates only (incumbents), or, like NIH, to agency-specific incumbents only. The OPM.GOV system discourages excellent candidates from the other sectors. That is the federal government's loss.
- Create service or performance contracts to distract managers from trying to manage and control people and direct their attention to accomplishing the goals and missions that are important to the public. Creates flexibility for people to manage themselves and their accomplishments.
- Eliminate the old rules, regulations, and processes. It seems that people are so entrenched in the systems of ancient times that, when something new comes along, it doesn't fit with the old ways. The new is discarded and ridiculed. Or, rather than discard the old, they adapt the new to fit the old. This diminishes the potential of the new rules and regulations. The regulating and oversight organizations have to set the new standards of excellence. For example, if OPM makes the rule that individual sign-in sheets are not necessary, OIG supports it, etc., the way we think of "time management" has to change. How can people not keep track of individual minutes when the system says you must get approval of even a 15-minute increment of time spent on the clock or absent during the time you're supposed to be on the clock?
- This is just one example of the absurdities new recruits face. On the one hand you have people saying innovate, on the other hand you have people saying make your innovation fit these rules. We've entered the age where, within 15 minutes, you can type a message and your audience of thousands can read it and respond. Ten years ago it would have taken the average government employee 15-30 days to do something so great. Are we really managing the right thing when we think of "time management?" Most agencies don't even think of it as time management. Some are still thinking of it as "seat time" and hold the view that if I can see them at their desk I'm managing. We are really behind by generations in many of our basic systems.
- Flexibility is not what it could be. True there are some new rules and allowances. However, has anything changed fundamentally? Are people still looking for the same old bits and pieces of information that signify compliance? Are these old bits and pieces of information or signals of compliance anything that the American public is interested in, or do they instill confidence in the system? Are these bits and pieces in the hearts and minds of the best and brightest? People want to contribute their best. In many cases, their best from the brightest thinking doesn't fit the usual system and is rejected or subjected to such scrutiny that nothing less than perfection in every conceivable way will be supported or accepted. The old systems could not stand up to that type of scrutiny.
Another area is trust. It happens over and over. When we finally recruit a best and brightest, we treat them like they are guilty of some crime. They are questioned and interrogated about being 5 minutes later than usual from lunch, for working an hour later without prior approval, for posing a question about an undiscussable, etc. Please point to the best rules and regulations for creating an environment of trust. These rules and regulations seem to get lost. If we can pull them out and publicize them, we may attract better and brighter recruits. If there aren't any, we really need to rethink the rules and regulations.
Bottom line, most of what needs to be done has been said, written, proposed, tested on small scales, and is yet to be done on a large scale. The first layer has been peeled, it's time to peel back the next (before the whole thing rots, hopefully).
- Take on more risk, better pay.
- I believe that middle managers must have more power to recruit new employees and to get rid of employees who don't or won't perform. If government is to be competitive with private industry, we'll need a level playing field. Otherwise, we risk being run out of business by more dynamic and flexible private sector concerns.
- Retention, once hired, involves another shift in our culture. In the past, government jobs were sought because they were considered to be secure. Today, there is no longer an expectation to stay at any particular job forever. A cultural change is needed in how work is done in the workplace to facilitate the interests and utilize the skills of the best and the brightest, once hired.
- Encourage burned-out Boomers to find careers outside of government to make room for more technologically capable, enthusiastic younger workers.
- Give any thought to WHY the Boomers are burned out? Lack of constancy, motivation, respect, leadership, perhaps? Maybe we should nourish our existing resources rather than dump them on the refuse pile. What kind of leadership is that?!!!
- Many government employees of Boomer age treat their jobs like a prison sentence. For their own good, and the good of their coworkers, they need to find work that is challenging and rewarding. A working career is a terrible thing to waste.
- Definitely be willing and able to compete with the private sector. Market yourselves more as a field of specialty, and all the perks that come along with a position in government. Establish a personal rapport with colleges and universities, even if it means adding recruiters to the OPM payroll. In fact, while an OPM is an essential aspect of government, each agency would benefit from having its own personal recruiter, who would report back to an OPM agent.
- Engage in conversations and feedback with likely sources of talent.
- Look for a fit...people who will meet the needs of the organization and be happy doing it. Make it easier to find out more about government opportunities, potential, and how to get in.
- Respond and provide feedback when an applicant is not selected. No feedback may indicate no interest government-wide(!!), which is probably not true.
- Have greater recruiting efforts at local colleges and universities, with emphasis placed in the areas of technology and sciences, and greater advertisements in trade and professional magazines/papers.
- Why do we have to "own" people to work with them on important issues of government? Explore other modes of "employment" to get the job done. Create a network of people with strengths and talents for getting things done. Save the recruiting and hiring efforts for mission-critical things like, moon walks, science, research, protecting agriculture, technology, commerce, people.
- Recruit seriously and regularly, even if at a slower pace. Give credit to the work that federal employees do even if we have to blow our own horn independent of the media. The American public deserves to know that we are not a bunch of incompetent workers incapable of real work.
- Use the talented people in our organization as personal recruiters; don't need to limit to HR. HR can be the collector. Give incentives to people for referrals that get hired.
- Decide what the core work is and posture to do it better than anyone else does. Outsource other work. Create reputation for excellence, innovation, and results!
- Peter Block had a point about the Arctic explorer's recruitment techniques. We should advertise federal employment this way: "Working for the federal government: low pay, high frustration, little respect... but you can work with the best and change the world." This also fits with Bill Taylor's talk about the 4 plausible answers to the question about why would smart people want to work here.
- Higher pay will never solve government's recruitment problems, just like it won't do a thing for teachers. Lower pay is a fact of life and filters out those who would do it just for the money (and most likely do it badly).
- It's interesting that low pay is an issue for federal government workers and teachers, but is never an issue raised for firefighters, police officers, the Peace Corps, or the clergy. That's because all of these professions only want committed individuals. Why don't we recognize that the government and schools have the same need for people with a higher level of commitment, like these other professions?
- The current process used by most agencies to seek and hire an individual is not taking advantage of some to the latest information technology advancements, such as compiling lists of eligible, qualified individuals from database-managed listings of qualifications and career achievements. The old process of establishing a position description and job announcement, posting the job announce for an "open" period, collecting the responses, and then "filtering" them for the most qualified applicant does not necessarily produce the best results.
Track 4 - Creative Alliances: Partnerships That Work
- Communicate clear expectations in ways that are understood by the performers, and challenge them to excel.
- Money and time off.
- Money and time off are just substitutes for the things that can really motivate employees: participation in organizational changes and decisions, and being fully informed on what is going on.
- Delegate effectively. Provide clear expectations and the path and commitment to continue to support and guide the project. Give the trust and respect needed for the subordinate to take on the responsibility and accountability.
- Allow the staff to drive innovations and change. The best management can do is to give staff an environment where they can be creative in improving their performance. In the current vacuum of leadership in management levels, allowing staff to take on informal leadership roles is more of a reward than small monetary awards.
- Recognition! Money and time off, as well as other creative gifts, have made a difference in my organization.
- Doing work that matters with the best in the field. At my agency, we do great work, but neither the public nor our own workers are made aware of it.
- De-couple awards from "performance evaluations." In my organization (where we have done this) we now have several years of data that confirms that more employees are getting more awards of smaller amounts than in the older system, where a few employees were getting awards of larger amounts. De-coupling has increased the burden on middle management to come up with creative ways of awarding employees, but has caused a much more favorable environment for the employees, many more of whom are getting awards for their contributions.
1. What's a great example of a partnership your organization has developed with state governments, local communities, the private sector, or non-profit coalitions?
2. What techniques and tactics have you adopted that optimize the results achieved from partnerships with these groups?
- Several privatization projects were undertaken that actually benefited public employees rather than hurting them, which is often a perception of labor unions and some managers. One involving environmental detachments at NAV-SEA resulted in the spin-off of employees AS A GROUP of 100 to 200 to private industry, with comparable or better salaries and benefits. The OPM Office of Background Investigations is another very successful example, where 700 federal employees were spun off into a private entity that they own stock in. These kinds of public-private partnerships benefit both sides and the customers.
- Many (most?) alliances are code words for "I want to know and understand what you do so that I can do it." Where is the equity?
- DOD's current housing privatization is a naked example of the hoary private sector being afraid of putting up its own capital on a common commodity (housing) without having ironclad protections/guarantees on return on investments, guaranteed financing rates, guaranteed occupancy rates, etc., etc. This partnership is one of "I'll give you services for lots of money and the money must be guaranteed." Innovative? NOT!
- True equity-based partnerships are few and far between in the "New Federal Government." It's sad, because they do work for both partners!
- Our agency works in successful partnership with numerous private and public federal, state and local organizations to effectively deal with unexpected natural disasters. We are highly flexible and creative and recognize the importance of working together in partnership with others who are similarly motivated to efficiently and effectively resolve problems. We maintain high morale, which helps increase productivity.
- Royalty-in-kind Program for filling the U.S. Energy's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. To continue to expand the nation's stockpile of oil to deter the use of oil shortages as an economic weapon against the United States by the oil producing countries, the Department has partnered with the Minerals Management Service to accept payment in kind (oil) for offshore oil leases, which otherwise would produce revenue for the U.S. Treasury. This method of continuing to fill the reserve, which currently has excess capacity, does not require appropriated funds from Congress.
- The C-17 Globemaster III Government program office has established a high-performing partnership with the contractor who builds and sustains the aircraft. Characterized by joint mission, vision, goals, operating principles and highly empowered joint integrated product teams. Results include reduced costs per aircraft, production of aircraft well ahead of schedule, and solid readiness performance of the deployed fleet.
Track 5 - Results and the Business of Government
- Focus groups with industry are being conducted to determine what key factors are important to our potential customers. A study revealed that 40 refineries hold 80% of the U.S. crude-oil-refining capacity across the country. These refineries were contacted and focus groups set up to meet with the supply services and crude oil purchasing groups to discuss the mission, capabilities, and potential problem areas that would be encountered if a national energy shortage were to occur.
1. How has your agency's implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act changed your agency or impacted your job?
2. For your agency, what are great examples of meaningful outcome measures -- measures that customers outside the organization really care about?
- EPA is struggling to define its mission and establish performance indicators under legislative mandates painstakingly written for an "open" system -- which the biosphere around the planet is not! Thus, EPA's GPRA goals stop short of addressing pollution transfers from air to water to land. As a result, EPA's interpretation of GPRA is not only more complex than it needs to be. It also loses sight of EPA's need to address the biosphere as a "closed" global system, where the air and water do not stay still in the national shape of the USA's land. GPRA provides EPA with a clear opportunity to sketch out the legislative amendments needed to "protect" the earth's closed system biosphere. Perhaps EPA could work with NASA to explore the applicability of NASA's Planetary Protection Policy to Earth?
- My part of DOD is good at output measures -- we are still struggling with outcome measures.
- I believe that my agency's involvement with the Reinvention efforts was short-lived. Upper management abandoned the opportunity to leverage this window of opportunity.
- Customer service.
- On-time delivery of products and services.
- Service standards developed with the input of administrative customers. Measure timeliness, accuracy, quality of product, customer satisfaction, and cost by activity.
1. Please feel free to enter any comments or suggestions
- A total review of the current Civil Service Grading System is necessary. All agencies are moving toward technology-driven programs and employees with various levels of computer skills. The pay scales for technology-proficient/computer-literate employees have not kept pace with private industry. We are currently serving as the training group for private industry.
- There must be an investment in employees through more competitive salaries.
- The current group of career employees will be the last group of career employees.
- I think government should continue along the trend lines created by President Clinton and Vice President Gore. They have had a powerfully positive impact on government in every way. Federal government employment is now more honorable, meaningful, and effective. The management systems are greatly improved. Only jealous people speak negatively of them. Power to the present President and Vice President. Look at their measurable results, and it is obvious that Clinton-Gore is the best team to hit the Executive offices. Let them continue, and the USA will continue to be the loved, effective world leader it is today.
- I enjoyed the super session with Colonel Smith Tuesday afternoon.
- With the growth of the Internet we have the ability to reach much of the work force in one big conference. Suggest we establish an excellence in government day and hold government-wide videoconferences so that many more of our employees can participate.
- It's time to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to bring it out of the industrial age and into the information age, reflecting Internet communities of practice.
- We need a super session back home on communicating everything we've gained at these sessions!
- This conference needs to be continued regardless of whether Gore or Bush gets elected.
- Proponents of Excellence in Government should consider a consolidation of their influence to achieve greater grassroots momentum. Accordingly, either:
-- Alter the orientation of OPM to incorporate the continual promotion, validation, and reporting of federal agency implementation and growth of "excellence in government" principles and activities; or
-- Create a totally new, independent organization for this purpose, which reports and provides specific recommendations directly to the President.
- It appears that the quality management movement has taken a nosedive. This is evidenced by the diminishing number of quality related exhibitors at the conference. What happened to the teachings of Deming, Juran or Crosby? If this is the President's Quality Award program, why isn't the President or his staff involved like they are with the Baldridge Awards program?
- The session this year seems to be much more empowering and enabling than in previous years. Unfortunately, the attendance seems down from last year. Thanks to NPR for their consistent attention to these long-standing issues and for bringing people together to create the "verge" for the development and experimentation of the past several years. It's been great working with the NPR folks, and I hope to continue working with them in some form in the future. You gave government employees a voice and a powerful agenda to "make government work better, cost less, and get results Americans care about."
- Continuing to wring improved efficiency out of the system while eliminating human resources and reducing budgets will disenfranchise future generations from participating in the successes of the current workforce.
- For the next conference, think about including a summary of the first 3 Reinvention Revolutions and all their spin-offs. Get the roster of speakers and attendees and find out where they are now. Get them to speak at the next conference, which would be the first of the next administration. Track the compression of change cycles from the industrial age into the information age.