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FCW : November 30, 2012
20 November 30, 2012 FCW.COM change, said Dennis Fischer, Bates predecessor at FTS. "What the operational side of agen- cies does is not heavily impacted by political change," he said. "There will be style and substance changes on the operational side of things, but if you re in the [Department of Veterans Affairs] paying vet bene ts or [at the Federal Aviation Administration] in an aircraft control tower, stuff goes on." Furthermore, because it is a second term, agency managers can count on the primary priorities staying place for at least a while, Evans said. "They re executing out on the budget the presi- Advancing your career A transition in leadership can be an opportune time to advance one's own career. Even though President Barack Obama is continuing into a second term, it's likely that many politically appointed leaders will change. How should ambitious managers take advantage of this opportunity? Veterans of past transitions have some advice. "Two things have to happen: First, you have to have ideas, and second, you have to gure a way into the inevitable groups that get set up to do the change, " said Mark Forman, who led the e-government effort at the Of ce of Management and Budget early in the rst George W. Bush administration. "Regardless of who is elected, you can be certain a new set of working groups are set up for change, " he added. "So someone who worked in the late 1990s on the last transition could dust off their binders and be seen by new people as a chance to accelerate the program. " Those seeking to advance must do so with sensitivity, said Alan Balutis, senior director at Cisco Systems' Internet Business Solutions Group and former CIO at the Commerce Department. "I think it's always a time of opportunity to demonstrate your skills and capability and to do so not in a self-serving way but to indicate your interest and willingness to serve and help execute, " he said. "You've demonstrated your value to the individual and the new team. If that opens doors for you, good. If it just helps advance the agenda and make government and the nation better, that's good, too. " But Christopher Smith, former CIO at the Agriculture Department and now U.S. federal chief technology and innovation of cer at Accenture, offered a contrary view. "This is really a time to focus on the nation and ensuring the new administration team hits the ground running and quickly makes a meaningful impact, " he said. "This is not the time to focus on you. " dent had submitted," she said. "Wheth- er the Congress has approved it, that s a whole different issue. You ve already put together what the priorities are in scal year 2013. That budget was sub- mitted two years ago. So...you re con- tinuing on and executing out what the president s priorities are." Step 3: Be prepared to pivot Despite the continuity, shifts are guar- anteed. New directions will emerge as new challenges arise, and newly appointed agency leaders will bring their own ideas to the job. The role of agency managers is to be ready to defend good programs and relinquish those that aren t measuring up. Obama s second-term choices for agency leadership are apt to be simi- lar in philosophy to their predeces- sors, Balutis said, but career manag- ers should not make the mistake of treating them the same. "It s going to be a different person with a different personality," he said. "They don t come in with the idea of, All I want to do is continue all those things my predecessor put on the table. Most of them want to make their own mark, they want to leave their own legacy, and they come in with their own ideas." The job of a career executive or manager is not to protect one s turf, Evans said. It s to help the new leaders make choices about the agency s work. "I would be very open and direct about what would work and what would not work and what it would take to make something work," she said. "Then policy of cials can make those determinations." "Part of your role is...a long-term stewardship responsibility," Balutis said. "You re not there to serve a par- ticular administration. The oath is to the country." ■ Anne Armstrong, Frank Konkel, Troy K. Schneider, Camille Tuutti and Mat- thew Weigelt contributed reporting. YOUR CAREER
November 15, 2012