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FCW : August 30, 2013
12 August 30, 2013 FCW.COM Commentary | ALAN BALUTIS President Barack Obama came to of ce famously promising to change how Washington works. He has since acknowledged that he has failed to make that happen. But when it comes to the work- ings of the executive branch, the president has started down a path to success. In July, Obama announced an aggressive management agenda for his second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative and more accountable government. Insid- ers say a new deputy director for management will soon be nomi- nated and will team with Of ce of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell to drive this agenda. In a February column, I offered ve suggestions from FCW readers to reshape the government and public services. They are worth revisiting --- for the sake of the new OMB team and anyone who cares about better government. 1. Create a different culture by taking advantage of the need for new hires. The next few years will bring a sharp increase in retire- ments, which will offer a unique opportunity for the government to recruit for new skills and outlooks. Beyond its traditional orientation programs, the government must also provide behavior training and a cultural orientation. For example, two-week sessions could explore what it means to be a "resilient and exible employee" and discuss the skills needed to collaborate and be more responsive and agile. 2. Give all employees new col- laborative technologies. We know that millennials will make up the majority of new agency hires and that these young people have grown up using computers and collaborative technologies. The challenge will be learning how to leverage those tools to make agencies more connected and less hierarchical. New security and privacy issues will also have to be addressed with re-engineered processes. 3. Develop new relationships between the government and its contract workforce. A major challenge will be to forge a true partnership between agencies and industry. To do so, federal leaders will have to transform a relation- ship that currently is far more adversarial than collegial. The number of federal employees might change in the coming years, but the "blended workforce" will almost certainly remain. A proactive approach is needed to help government employees and contractors better understand their respective roles and nd ways to work together effectively. We also need to discuss anew what consti- tutes "inherently governmental." 4. Enhance collaboration between the federal govern- ment and state and local gov- ernments. People interact more often with their local and state governments than they do with the federal government, which argues for a local-state-federal approach rather than the other way around. The Obama administration must develop new ways to improve intergovernmental collaboration. Most successful initiatives in the past decade have occurred because of the efforts of a dedi- cated team or a unique leader. The administration should learn from those efforts and ensure that such working relationships become the norm rather than the exception. 5. Become more citizen-centric. Citizens want government to work effectively, seamlessly and openly. They do not care what happens in the back of ce; what matters is how quickly their applications are processed, their claims adjudicated and their questions answered. A transformed government should focus on seamless and transparent interactions. And it must concen- trate at least as much on respon- sible execution and operational excellence as on the initiation of new policies or programs. ■ 5 steps to transforming the executive branch The president's management agenda is ambitious. Here are some keys to making sure the changes stick. A proactive approach is needed to help government employees and contractors...find ways to work together effectively. ALAN BALUTIS is senior director and distinguished fellow at Cisco Systems' Internet Business Solutions Group.
August 15, 2013
September 15, 2013