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FCW : May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014 FCW.COM 21 of relationships and organizational understanding. Early in her career, she led an effort to determine how to allocate a training budget. She invited the affected managers to a meeting, thinking that if they were all in the same room, they d be able to reach an agreement. "I did not take into account the orga- nizational culture, the different views people would have coming from dif- ferent parts of the organization," Pica told FCW. "My meeting failed. I didn t get consensus, and I had to take a step back and develop a different process. I eventually succeeded and stood up a training board, but I had to develop the relationships. I had to understand the mission, and I had to understand the priorities for each of those managers." When you re looking for new job opportunities, be open to lateral moves. "Recognize that while you might have the same title or same GS scale, you might be adding expe- riences and perspectives that serve you well as a future C-level executive in understanding the different pieces," van Riper said. As IT leaders increasingly rely on in uence rather than direct control, it s helpful to understand the work ows and concerns of your peers across the government. "IT will often be an enabler of busi- ness results," she said. "Rather than saying, 'I will develop a speci c IT system, say, 'I will help you come to the best possible outcome by creating guidelines and guard rails. " Perspectives Possibly the hardest task is developing the deep perspectives and insight needed to guide an organization. That begins with self-knowledge. "One of the skills I feel a lot of people need to work on most...is self-aware- ness: understanding yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, how other people perceive you," Holgate said. "For some individuals, the further they get into their career, the harder time they have coming to grips with that." If you have a chance to participate in a 360-degree review, embrace the feedback from supervisors, co-workers and employees, and use it to improve yourself professionally. As you learn about yourself, think about what kind of leader you want to be, and observe the behaviors and styles around you. "Look for models and mentors throughout your career, both in the positive and negative sense," Holgate said. "Understand...the leadership char- acteristics that you do and do not want to emulate going forward." He tries to take a collaborative approach to leadership by making sure his team feels part of the decision- making process and that each person understands how his or her contribu- tion aligns with the organization s goals. Furthermore, the IT leaders of the future will need to be exible and dis- play what van Riper calls "change agil- ity," the ability to pivot and reorient quickly when circumstances change. A board on Scholl s of ce wall reads "Keep breathing." That s his reminder to stop in the face of a surprise or set- back, take a deep breath and reorient before making a decision. "You might not be clearly seeing an issue or the issues that are nega- tively affecting the project," he said. "You might miss opportunities because you re too entrenched in what you re doing. A lot of this is about managing change." "As leaders, we need to be exible and keep that bigger picture in mind," Hernandez said. "There are things that happen that are outside our control. Despite that, we need to continue toward the same mission." With 32 percent of government IT employees expected to be eligible for retirement by 2017, it s important for everyone to have a career plan, van Riper said. IT leaders need to think about grooming the next generation of top executives. But in the end, there s only so much calculation you can do when aiming for your career goals. The workplace changes every day, and some of the most important factors in your suc- cess are the simplest, like whether you enjoy government work. "All too often I see people coming in to build a résumé," Woods said. "That s a mistake for everybody concerned. I would advise people to get stuff done, manage your expectations, be some- body they can live with and like work- ing for the government." ■ Many of the individuals in this article have been honored for their leadership. Victor Hernandez, Karen Pica and Matthew Scholl received Federal 100 awards this year for their above-and-beyond efforts. Rick Holgate was a 2013 winner, and Bob Woods won three times when he worked in government. See for yourself what it takes to get ahead: Pro les of the 2014 Federal 100 winners are online at FCW.com/fed100winners. And help us nd the leaders in the making by submitting nominations for this year s Rising Star awards at FCW.com/2014risingstars. LEARNING BY EXAMPLE
May 15, 2014
June 30, 2014