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FCW : September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016 FCW.COM 29 stopping every one or two years when different people come and go on the political space — and then you’re surprised because govern- ment is not moving fast enough. You’ve spoken on several occasions about that sense of urgency — that government can’t change fast enough to keep up. I think what we are now seeing is a widening gap between how fast the world is changing and what the systems were designed to do. I don’t mean just technology systems but human systems and everything else. I really think this is becoming an existential question. I don’t mean to make it sound too dire, but can representative gov- ernments continue to provide the services needed for our nation to operate in the next 10 to 15 years, given exponential change? Or is something going to change so badly that people will actually look for a totally new way of orga- nizing that may or may not involve government? Those conversations are actually being had now. And that presents an interesting opportunity for changes. How are you going to try to address that question at ELC? We need to set the stage and make it clear that if we don’t make some serious changes — particularly in the areas of leadership, but also in the areas of procurement, human resources and technology — you can imagine after a couple more election terms, we may risk having even a bit more dire conversation about the same things. Whatwewanttotrytodoisget industry talking about it because the reality is political appointees will listen much more to industry than they will listen to me saying the same exact thing. Then, too, trying to get the media [to pay attention] because, again, they’ll listen to you. Let’s create that sense of urgency. These pain points don’t necessarily go away, but what we need are safe spaces to do things differently and better. There’s an intriguing item on the ELC agenda: What are the “experienced vs. edgy leadership debates”? We’ve worked very hard to diversify this year’s ELC. At least 50 percent of the speakers and panelists we invited are women, more than 25 percent are Gen X and Gen Y, and more than 25 percent are from out- side D.C. Leadership can happen at any place, any time in your life, any position. The edge leaders are those who maybe aren’t the ones who are necessarily always billed as execu- tive leaders but the ones who are trying to be leaders. Those are the edgy leaders. Ideally, there are going to be some differing opinions. We want to explore those different perspectives and actually say, “Well, why is the edgy leader seeing it this way? Why is the experienced executive leader seeing it this way? What can we take away from that?” I think we don’t create enough of those spaces. It needs to happen. If you can create those spaces, what does success look like after the conference? One, these conversations are car- ried forward by ACT-IAC in Novem- ber and December in such a way that they continue to be refined and reverberate. I’m hoping that brief- ings to the new administration in February and March are received, and they’re received well. Then, ideally, this allows the next administration to get thorough input from industry, from the public, from the media, from career civil servants, such that it begins to be incorporated into their thinking. They can hit the ground running in the first 90 or 180 days of the next administration. n I think what we are now seeing is a widening gap between how fast the world is changing and what the systems were designed to do. 0930fcw_028-029.indd 29 9/6/16 4:24 PM
September 15, 2016