VOL. 1, NO. 1, FEBRUARY 18, 1994



Recognizing that improved customer service is essential to restoring trust in government, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12862, Setting Customer Service Standards in September 1993. This Executive Order initiated a government-wide customer service improvement program that sets the standard for services provided to the public as equal to the best in business.

By September 1994 each federal agency that has customers will develop a Customer Service Plan. The plan will clearly and concisely explain to the American people what they can expect from the agency.

Managers tasked with the challenge of developing Customer Service Plans asked the National Performance Review and the Federal Quality Institute for "how to" help. That help began as two "Putting Customers First" conferences. The first, held on November 9, 1993 at the Ft. Myer Officers Club, was attended by 400 senior managers. The second was a working conference where 400 program managers identified what they needed to do to develop agency plans. They agreed that regardless of whether their agency administers benefits, enforces laws, regulates industries, or provides direct services, managers need to:

While participants agreed these were the most important aspects of improving customer service, they were not

the only ones suggested. If you would like to know more about what went on at the Hunt Valley Conference, including highlights of speeches by Frances Hesselbein, Joel Barker, Ralph Stayer, and Michael Hammer, you can obtain the information by sending a blank e-mail message to NPR has also developed a customer service mailing list. If you would like to be added, call (202) 632-0150 X155.


During the State of the Union address on January 25, 1994, President Clinton referenced the National Performance Review's (NPR) recommendation to reduce the federal workforce ". . .by 252,000 people over the next five years. By the time we have finished, the federal bureaucracy will be at its lowest point in 30 years." Unfortunately, some federal workers have interpreted this recommendation as an assault on government employees, when in fact, the Administration's primary goal is rather to empower federal employees by providing them with greater flexibility and discretion.

Vice President Al Gore reviewed carefully the NPR's recommendation to reduce the government workforce. During his "Town Hall" meetings at several federal agencies, the Vice President stressed repeatedly that federal employees "are good people trapped in bad systems" and that his goal was to reinvent those systems in order "to let our workers pursue excellence."

In reinventing government systems, and thereby providing workers with the flexibility necessary to pursue excellence, the Vice President and the NPR recognized that agencies must be freed from the burdens of overregulation and central control.

Therefore, the NPR's recommendation to shrink the federal workforce is targeted at positions of overcontrol and micromanagement (headquarters, supervisors, auditors, accountants, and specialists in budget, personnel, procurement, and finance). Approximately 700,000 people work in these positions of central control. The NPR wants to reduce dramatically these control structures, thereby providing greater flexibility to federal workers. The NPR has recommended that some of the savings from these reductions be invested back into the federal workforce in the form of new management tools, such as training, quality management, and performance measurement.

Of course, achieving a 12 percent reduction in the federal workforce will not be easy. In recognition of this fact, the Vice President has offered the following commitment to ease the transition for workers: "If an employee whose job is eliminated cannot retire through our early retirement program, and does not elect to take a cash incentive to leave government service, we will help that employee find another job offer, either with government or in the private sector." As many federal employees know, a key element in pursuing an easy transition will be obtaining government-wide buyout authority for eligible federal workers to retire early, as recommended by the NPR. Although the Congress has not yet granted such authority to all government agencies, the Administration is committed to working with the Congress in the 1994 legislative session to pass buyout legislation. Three cabinet secretaries and representatives from 13 other agencies testified on the need for buyout legislation before two subcommittees of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee on February 1, 1994. The House and Senate passed different versions of buyout authority before their February recess. Action is expected to resume when Congress returns to session.

The overall goal of reinventing government is to move away from a government that is overly centralized and distrustful of its workforce, a government that struggles under the crippling burden of overregulation and hierarchical, bureaucratic second-guessing; to create instead a government that empowers its workforce, fosters innovation, and truly focuses on delivering the best quality service to its customers. Reducing the structures of overcontrol and micromanagement will not only yield a smaller federal workforce, it will also give us a more empowered, more inspired, and more productive workforce.


The Council of the Chehalis Tribe in Washington State knew NPR's recommendations for the Department of the. Interior even before President Clinton had finished his remarks at the September 7, 1993, White House unveiling of "From Red Tape to Results". More than 100,000 other people also used their computers to download the text of the report within the next week. The NPR received more than 150 examples of silly regulations within 48 hours of a request on the Internet. NPR's request moved instantly to and among federal employees and other citizens using computer bulletin boards, electronic mail lists, computer conferences, and other electronic forums.

This experience illustrates the NPR's goals for information technology. The NPR wants to "develop integrated electronic access to government information and service." The NPR also wants to engage federal employees and the public in action to ensure that the NPR recommendations do not gather dust on the shelf. "Networking epitomizes and creates the new government culture," according to Andy Campbell, a guru of the NPR's communication strategy called NetResults. "We want to bring together government workers and their citizen customers to discuss and re-engineer the way government does business. These forums both epitomize the new culture and are the means by which we build the new culture. Empowerment is key to creating a government that works better and costs less. What we call NetResults creates a way for everyone across the county to learn and participate in what reinventing government is all about. People in NPR networks talk to each other, sometimes face to face, sometimes keyboard to keyboard. Computers and links among computers, particularly Internet, support a national community that can discuss and act on the NPR recommendations."

As the first step in empowering federal workers, NetResults provides easy access to all of NPR's information. Anyone with access to e-mail, can send a blank message to "" and automatically receive instructions on how to use e-mail to access NPR documents (including a catalog of available documents and this newsletter).

NPR-related items include:

As a second step, the NPR is facilitating communication among reinventors by sponsoring networks to develop new solutions and consensus on government issues. NetResults currently provides an umbrella for networks of people interested in working together to implement the NPR recommendations in the

areas of human resource management (PeopleNet), performance measurement (MeasureNet), and information technology (TechNet). The NPR is also supporting existing and new networks concerned with budget, grants, social services, and finance. Increasingly, these human networks are using electronic conferences to develop and share information.

Those who want to join NetResults and get more information on "gopher" locations offering the NPR documents and conferences on NPR issues should contact one of the co-chairs of the NPR's NetResults: Andy Campbell (Fax 202/632-0390; phone 632-0150 x146 ( or Vincette Goerl (Fax 202/632-0390; phone 632-0150 x172(


On January 27, James King, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, abolished the 10,000 page Federal Personnel Manual (FPM). This was a year ahead of the NPR proposed date of December 1994. With the help of federal agencies, employee unions, EEO offices and professional management organizations, OPM has cut more than 70 percent of the FPM, therefore allowing federal agencies to implement their own directives on hiring, classification, performance management, and reward systems. The Vice President heralded this action as, ". . . an important step in creating a government...that empowers its employees and serves better its customers, the American people." A Provisional System that will sunset in December 1994 succeeds the FPM.


On December 3, 1993, the GAO released "Management Reform: GAO's Comments on the National Performance Review's Recommendations". Of the 384 NPR recommendations, GAO disagreed with only one (DOL09, "Create a Boundary Spanning Workforce Development Council").

The GAO agreed or generally agreed with 262 recommendations and offered no comment on 121 for which it did not have enough information to make a determination. The GAO report also stated that the NPR did not go far enough in its recommendations on government change. Copies of the GAO report can be obtained by calling (202) 512-6000 or by writing GAO directly at P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD, 20884-6015 (report #GAO/OCG-94-1).


These success stories are being repeated in more than 100 reinvention laboratories throughout government that are experimenting with change as the result of an invitation from Vice President Gore. In April, the Vice President wrote to all departments asking them to "designate two or three programs or units to be laboratories for reinventing government... . The point is to pick a few places where we can immediately unshackle our workers so they can re-engineer their work processes to fully accomplish their missions -- places where we can fully delegate authority and responsibility, replace regulations with incentives, and measure our success by customer satisfaction."

The Vice President has defined reinvention labs this way, "In my opinion the Labs are doing the same things as the rest of the agencies are going to do -- only they're doing them faster. I see the Reinvention Labs as setting the pace for their agencies, for their departments -- constantly striving to find new and better ways of doing things, scanning the horizon for ways to do jobs better and faster."


The Vice President's video-taped remarks capped the "Reinventing for Results Conference" convened by the NPR and the General Services Administration in October to help laboratories answer the frequent question, "How do I get started?" Conference goals were to "build a common vision, build enthusiasm, learn from success, share information to solve common problems, and build a learning network." Conference topics ranged from vision to practicalities like how to obtain waivers and measure results. Rosabeth Kanter of Harvard showed that change is an opportunity, not a threat, to workers who continually learn new skills to prepare themselves to respond to emerging needs. Tom Peters shouted "Just Do it!" as he charged the audience to become Raging, Inexorable Thunder Lizard Evangelists for Reinvention. Proceedings from the conference are available through email, see page 2.


Increased worker participation in workplace decisions; decentralized and flexible hiring; fewer job categories and simplified pay ranges within national criteria; and full employee involvement in design and implementation of performance management and award programs -- these are among the far-reaching recommendations for civil service reform forwarded to President Clinton Monday, January 31, 1994, by the National Partnership Council (NPC) as it unanimously adopted its "Report to the President on Implementing Recommendations of the National Performance Review".

The NPC was created October 1, 1993, by Executive Order 12871, Labor Management Partnerships. It was created to "establish a new form of labor-management relations throughout the executive branch to promote the principles and recommendations adopted as a result of the National Performance Review." The National Performance Review found current civil service rules incompatible with cutting red tape and empowering employees, and therefore developed proposals that emphasized decentralizing personnel policy and employee involvement.

As constituted by the Executive Order, the NPC is composed of representatives from the three largest unions representing federal employees, the Public Employee Department of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and seven federal agencies, including the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Recommendations in the report to the President address labor management partnerships, hiring, classification and pay, and performance management. To find common ground to solve disagreements in the new partnerships, the NPC recommended a "good government standard" for negotiations that would also be applied by third party neutrals in resolving disputes. The NPC also supported alternative dispute resolution as a simpler and more effective method of handling disagreements.

During their meeting before a packed Office of Personnel Management (OPM) auditorium, Council members spoke to the historic nature of both the Council's recommendations for reforming human resource management in the federal government and of the labor management partnership through which the recommendations were developed. James King, Director of the OPM, called the proposals, "a specific and workable way to make the federal government more responsible." John Sturdivant, President of the American Federation of Federal Employees called the recommendations, "a revolutionary direction, . . . in an evolutionary process."

WHY REINVENT? You'll Never Want to Go Back. "You'll never want to go back to the old way, once you feel the exhilarating successes that come from bringing everyone onto the team of a reinvented work place," says Doug Farbrother, veteran of the Defense Department Model Installations Program and NPR staff member.


"From Red Tape to Results" contains 384 recommendations requiring approximately 1,200 individual actions.

About 300, or 25 percent, of all actions require legislation. The executive branch has the authority to implement the rest. Accomplishments highlighted here include legislation, Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda, OMB actions, and agency actions.


1993 Session of Congress Advanced Reinvention Congressional interest in reinvention was signaled early with passage of the Government Performance and Results Act in July 1993. The act requires that federal agencies launch pilot projects and then, beginning in 1998, all federal agencies must develop strategic plans and measure outcomes.

Of the 300 actions requiring legislation, Congress has already adopted several NPR proposals including the elimination of the wool and mohair subsidy program and the establishment of a voluntary leave transfer bank. Public Law 103-87 required the Agency for International Development to implement all NPR recommendations, submitting legislation to Congress where needed.

The Treasury and Postal Service appropriations bill allowed the 31 agencies covered by the bill (e.g., Treasury, GSA, IRS) to carry over 50 percent of any savings in operating costs. Senator

Byrd, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helped remove FTE floors from his committee's pending appropriations bills. The Labor Department's FY 1994 appropriations bill adopted two NPR recommendations (DOL01, to enhance reemployment programs for occupationally disabled federal workers, and DOL20, to reduce fraud in the Federal Employees Compensation Program).


Administration legislative priorities for reinventing government included buyout authority, procurement reform, and personnel reform as Congress returned to session January 25. At a February 1 hearing before the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, the Administration argued that buyout authority was needed to avoid disruptive effects on organizations and workers from changes that reduce the size of the federal work force. The House and Senate passed different versions of buyout authority before their February recess. Action is expected to resume when Congress returns to session. A likely vehicle for procurement reform is Senator John Glenn's Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1993 (S. 1587). Senate action will also be sought on the Government Reform and Savings Act, an Administration proposal containing 62 NPR provisions. The House version (H.R. 3400), with modifications to the original proposal, passed November 22, 1993. House action dropped provisions for a year-end spending carryover authority, the civil service buyout provisions, and reform of the helium program. The House also added 16 non-NPR provisions.


Seventeen Presidential directives have been issued over the past five months to implement NPR recommendations. They are (in chronological order):


Agencies are moving to implement the NPR's recommendations. Of the 1,200 actions in NPR's reports, agencies report action underway for over 700 of them. The following is a sample of activities:


  • Paperwork Reduction Act Clearance of Voluntary Customer Surveys. To support the President's executive order on customer service, OMB has created a fast-track approach to process agency requests for customer surveys. The approach grants "generic" clearances for surveys where the response is voluntary. OMB clearance should now take less than two weeks.
  • On February 1, 1994, OMB announced 53 pilot projects in 21 agencies under the authority of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.


    Reinvention continued to roll out as the Executive Branch published President Clinton's 1995 budget. Released on February 7, the 1995 budget features a chapter on reinvention successes and initiatives. The budget proposals themselves contain most of the NPR's agency recommendations that require legislation. Fiscal year 1995 agency justifications, the documents that detail each agency's budget request, also showcase reinvention progress and proposals.


    "The best book on management available in America," is what Max DePree, author of the popular, "Leadership is an Art", says about the NPR's report, "From Red Tape to Results". The key to reinvention thinking, the NPR report is available from the Government Printing Office, Random House, Penguin Books and through Internet. Other NPR staff members' recommendations include: More? NASA Librarian, Jeffrey Michaels ((202) 358-0172 or Internet: JMichael@NHQVAX.HQ.NASA. GOV) will share his extensive bibliography covering 28 management topics including "Teams and Teamwork," "Creating the Empowered Organization," "The Benchmarking Process," and "Reengineering."


    In early February the NPR began publishing the accompanying reports that provide background to the summary NPR report. The first seven reports published were: "Strengthening the Partnership in Intergovernmental Service Delivery," "Improving Customer Service," "Rethinking Program Design," "Improving Regulatory Systems," "National Aeronautics and Space Administration," "National Science Foundation/Office of Science and Technology," and "Department of Interior." These reports are available through GPO, NTIS and electronically (see NetResults).


    "Empowering Employees to Get Results," one of four themes that organizes the National Performance Review's recommendations, is a favorite of Vice President Gore. Gore illustrated the notion of employee empowerment, also a key theme in Osborne and Gaebler's book, "Reinventing Government", at the Reinventing for Results Conference by citing the Montgomery County Police Department's guidance to its officers:
    "When considering taking a specific action at the workplace, ask yourself the following questions: If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then, don't ask permission, just do it!"


    Our goal is simple: our newsletter is part of the National Performance Review's strategy to bring all federal workers into the reinvention movement. The NPR wants you to apply the principles of reinvention to whatever you do and to know and support the proposals affecting your specific work that are contained in Vice President Gore's September 7, 1993, report "From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government that Works Better and Costs Less." Reinvention Roundtable contains government-wide information on reinvention which agencies are free to use in other formats.

    If this sounds mission-driven, we mean for it to. However, reinvention comes from shared vision. Many of you already support reinvention whether you use reinvention lingo or not; others need more information. We want to give you the information that will motivate you and enable you to become a reinvention leader wherever you are in the federal government.

    We look forward to hearing from you, the reader. What kind of information do you need? What barriers do you face in your work? How can we ensure success? Write the Editors, Reinvention Roundtable, fax (202) 632-0390; phone (202) 632-0150; email:


    Please help us get this newsletter to our federal worker audience. NPR is using various mailing lists and distribution means to distribute electronic, paper, and camera-ready print copy. ASCII and encapsulated Postscript printer files can be obtained through the Internet (see NetResults, page 2.) We are also exploring user-friendly transmission of graphics versions of future issues.

    Produced by Staff of the
    National Performance Review
    750 17th Street, NW
    Suite 200
    Washington, D.C. 20006

    Abigail Nichols
    Roddy Moscoso


    "Total Quality Leadership: Spring Satellite Seminar Series."
    Contact Quality Learning Series, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    (800)835-4730 (partnered with Federal Quality Institute).
    Note: this is an ASCII file of the first issue of the National Performance Review newsletter, "Reinvention Roundtable." Encapsulated Postscript files will also be posted soon. Please contact NPR if you would like help in getting copy with graphics that you could reproduce and distribute to others. Navigation Bar For NPR site Back To The NPR Main Page Search the NPR Site NPR Initiatives Links to Other Reinvention Web Sites Reinvention Tools Frequently Asked Questions NPR Speeches NPR News Releases