Why Do We Sometimes Insulate Ourselves from the Truth?

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finding the truth

It’s an interesting phenomenon we observe during this election season, the adoration of a candidate or perhaps unrelenting allegiance regardless of their position or their truthfulness on an issue. We watch as one candidate attacks the other with untrue or incredibly stretched statements. They want so desperately to win they are willing to diminish their honor. For some voters, they are so desperate to experience a candidate they are willing to overlook reality. Read More


No Big Proposals in State of the Union for Feds

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US-podium

COE's Steve Goodrich speaks as a guest on "Federal Drive" with Tom Temin on Federal News Radio.

As promised, last night's State of the Union speech from President Barack Obama was relatively short on big legislative proposals. More a restatement of his and his administration's values and a call, perhaps, for a little less partisanship. After listening to the speech from halfway around the world Steve Goodrich, CEO of the Center for Organizational Excellence, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to share some analysis. Read More


Institutional Wisdom as a Tool for Effectiveness

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Mature organizations are not necessarily old organizations, but they do share the characteristic of wisdom we often attribute to more experienced people.

Wisdom is generally recognized as good problem-solving and decision-making through an integration of experience, knowledge, and deep understanding. Mature organizations are energetic, vibrant, results focused, innovative, caring, and calm. Having “institutional wisdom,” organizations can operate consistently (across quality, values, performance, results), and easily adapt to change with little to no drama whether or not the leader is present.

They regularly achieve high marks on quality, results, service, employee satisfaction, and adaptation to new realities. They proactively and realistically see issues before they become problems, are solution oriented, transparent, collaborate well with others inside and outside the organization, and get things done efficiently and effectively.

I realize this may sound utopic, but maintaining institutional wisdom is one of the critical roles of the leadership team. Without it, you are forever playing catch up in reacting to the world around you. What a mature organization looks like and how to get there is the subject of this brief article. Making it happen requires strong leadership, a cultural shift for some, and legislative action to reform the budget process and the civil service in a way that both honors federal employees and allows for strong management to support organizational effectiveness. Read More


Here’s Our Chance to Fix Government Once and for All

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The federal government is on an unsustainable fiscal path that threatens our national security and social safety net. While many cuts and changes have taken place, government has yet to address the effective management of programs that serve the American people. Read More


9 Key Steps to Cyber-Preparation

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We are dealing with a systemic crisis—critical government information is being hacked and falling into the hands of "evil doers," and there appears to be no end in sight.

Hardly a week goes by when we don't hear of some attack. Lately we've been hearing a lot about identity theft of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) which can harm individuals, as well as our national security. While that is certainly cause for concern, the threat can go far beyond intelligence leaks, industrial espionage, or personal financial impact. Imagine a world where hackers take control of airplanes and automobiles, alter medication dosages, interfere with the ability of first responders, take control of our C3 systems, or shut down our electrical grid. Read More


Defining and Achieving Efficiency in Government

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Inefficient and ineffective federal agency programs have been chronicled for eons. Most of the discussions center around making government cost less, cutting budgets, or holding hearings on perceived program lapses. With these actions, cost is sometimes eliminated, service levels are possibly reduced, or resources are condensed. This allows the argument that the government overall is more efficient, but that does not mean programs are efficiently operated or managed. Because of this high-level approach, most managers don't relate to what efficiency truly is or how to achieve it, and many opportunities that could make government work better are left on the table. Read More


Leadership Get Ready

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We need our federal employees—career executives and managers—to be prepared for the upcoming transition to a new administration next year, and at the same time we need to increase the stature of federal employment. At a minimum, these transitions must refocus federal employees on a revised strategy or agenda. The 2016 presidential election will, as is typical, create a level of disruption while the political leadership of each agency transitions. Our career leaders are the stabilizing catalyst that must ensure the proverbial train keeps moving efficiently, effectively and on time. Read More


Don’t Wait for Congress to Improve Agency Effectiveness

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We've all heard the stories -- programs that cost too much, duplication and fragmentation, fraud, waste and abuse. You can hardly pick up a federal news report without hearing about a program in some agency that is suspected, or shown, to be in trouble. The yearly reports from GAO attest to the significant issues that abound.

Currently, Congress is working on reintroducing a bill that will help agencies transform their programs so they are efficient, effective, credible, and economical. We all agree that systemic change is needed, but in the hustle and bustle of getting day-to-day activity accomplished, meeting administration agendas, and trying to work in an environment of uncertainty, waste just happens. Read More


Do These 6 Things Now to Prepare for the DATA Act

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By now everyone is familiar with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) passed by Congress last year with specific deadlines and know that Treasury, OMB, and others are busy preparing to address its requirements to disclose direct expenditures and link them to contracts, loans and grants. It requires the establishment of standards, improvements in the quality of data and streamlined reporting through the use of USASpending.gov. It may also, at the discretion of the Secretary of Treasury, establish a data analysis center to facilitate better analysis and increase efficiency. If implemented correctly, the act could provide an underlying framework to support not only transparency and accountability in government, but the improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of government programs. Read More


6 Simple Fixes for the Federal Procurement Process

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As the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, our government has a rigorous procurement process in place to protect the American taxpayer, designed to facilitate helping Uncle Sam buy what he needs to perform his myriad missions efficiently, effectively, and economically. Unfortunately, the federal government fails to spend taxpayer money wisely with such frequency that newspapers and television reports are rife with examples of overspending, failed projects and bloated contracts. Read More