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FCW : November 30, 2012
November 30, 2012 FCW.COM 13 Commentary | ALAN BALUTIS ALAN BALUTIS is senior director and distinguished fellow at Cisco Systems' Internet Business Solutions Group. Now that the election is over, it is time to give some thought to the coming presidential and depart- mental transitions. Even though the Democrats retained the White House, a second term for Presi- dent Barack Obama will bring changes as Cabinet secretaries leave and other senior of cials move up and out. Here is a list of do s and don ts for career managers looking for ways to work with the new administration. 1. DO establish a transition team for your area. Create a schedule if possible, and try to understand the context of the new appointees. Bal- ance long- and short-term interests and rely on outside help to make your case, if appropriate. The team can prepare the new secretary and others, if appropriate, for con rma- tion hearings, including providing an assessment of the department s strengths and weaknesses. 2. DON'T give short shrift to appointees ideas. Avoid responding to proposals by saying, "We tried that ve years ago." Remember that appointees are new to the process, and be supportive and responsive. 3. DON'T forget that career manag- ers are responsible for the steward- ship of the federal government until the new political team is in place. That stewardship can last for as long as a year after the election. 4. DO give written and oral orienta- tion guidelines on federal work- place issues and ethics. 5. DO establish an agenda for your initial meeting with the presidential transition team. Give detailed brief- ings early in the process and tailor them to an individual s experience and knowledge. 6. DON'T overdo it. You only rein- force the stereotype of a govern- ment bureaucrat when you show up for your rst meeting with an armload of three-inch binders full of organizational and budget charts. 7. DON'T assume that the transi- tion team members know all the acronyms and "inside baseball" terms. Start with the absolute basics until you establish the appointee s level of understanding and degree of comfort. 8. DO make an effort to understand the background and professional goals of the new appointees. Have they worked in government before? What do they hope to accomplish during their service? 9. DON'T appear to be a back- stabber or focused on maintain- ing the status quo. Any bad ideas will usually fall out automatically so don t ght the appointees. Try to constantly interact with them, and remember --- to paraphrase the real estate mantra --- the three most important things are listen, listen, listen. 10. DO stress cooperation between political and career managers to meet the secretary s and the depart- ment s goals. Almost all appoin- tees leave government thanking the hardworking and dedicated careerists who helped them do their jobs well and stay out of trouble. The sooner you establish that rela- tionship of mutual trust and appre- ciation, the better for everyone. 11. DON'T speak or write in bureaucratic language. Appointees will be looking for someone who can explain things clearly. 12. DO prepare a management pocket guide. At the Commerce Department, we created the "Man- agement 101 Notebook," a primer on the budget, travel, procurement and hiring practices. When prepar- ing materials, career employees need to step back and view their work from an outsider s point of view. 13. DON'T be a "yes" person. Careerists must speak their minds as professionals, and part of your obligation, as they say, is to "speak truth to power." But remember that how you deliver that message is important. ■ Almost all appointees leave government thanking the hardworking and dedicated careerists who helped them do their jobs well and stay out of trouble. Presidential transitions: Tips for careerists Preparing to work with a new administration can be challenging, but this list of do's and don'ts will make the process a little smoother
November 15, 2012