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FCW : May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014 FCW.COM 23 Are there any government agencies that do that well? The military de nitely rotates people around quite often, and I think that helps because you re put into such diverse settings. You really learn valuable insights into how to manage for success. I don t know whether there are any particular agencies that do that. There have been internship programs pro- posed in legislation where there would be private-sector people coming in, and gov- ernment managers would get leaves of absence to get expe- rience in the private sector. I came in as a presiden- tial intern, and I got to rotate around. I got to rotate to the Hill, learn how the Hill oper- ates, got to work closely with the Of ce of Management and Budget. I think we ve got to nd a way to do that. The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is another great example where we re able to reach out into the pri- vate sector and pull in some of the best and brightest IT professionals because they feel like it s a unique opportunity. Everyone who s come through that program has said it s one of the most rewarding experiences they ve ever had. Many of them changed their entire perception of government. So there are people who know how the other side works. Why do you think there is still so much tension between the two sides? I think it goes beyond the individu- als. People, culture and organization- speci c issues cause the miscommu- nication and tension to occur. You have to address all of that. In the government, there s a ten- dency to focus on protection and following rules, which dictates the relationship with industry. Rules become the behavioral boundaries for the relationship. We can t drop those rules and requirements and procedures, but that should not be the total focus of what the relationship is all about. It ought to be about getting successful results and high-impact solutions in place and measuring success. You're one of several lead- ers in the IT community to leave government in the past few months. Do agencies have successors in place, or should there be an emphasis on importing talent from the private sector? Good question. First of all, yes, there are successors in government. I think often- times the image of the public servant is so undervalued and underestimated, but we have some of the most talented people in the workforce in government, and many of them are quite capable of stepping into leadership roles. Of course, it s not going to be done equally well every- where, but I m con dent that there are successors. In fact, what s amazing to me are the caliber and quality of some of the young people who are coming into the government. Some of us "silverbacks" could not compete based upon the skills and experi- ence that they have. Having said that, I think that whether it s public or private, you always have to be looking for new talent. You can never just bank on successes and planning in your own organization. Is this your last government job, or can you see a time where you would come back for round three? Well, as I said, forks in the road always appear. If I felt like I could come into government and do some- thing that would be fun, impactful and get good results for citizens, I d be happy to do that. ■ DRAGUTIN CVIJANOVIC What's amazing to me are the caliber and quality of some of the young people who are coming into the government.
May 15, 2014
June 30, 2014