“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Major change is coming to capitol offices and agency corridors on November 6 – and that will be true regardless of the political candidates who turn out to be the election night winners.
So the real question for career government professionals is this:
How do you successful navigate the tricky terrain that comes with a presidential transition?
I attended a workshop last week at the Government Workforce event hosted by ASTD and The Public Manager where I learned a number of great tips that I wanted to pass along to GovLoop members. Most of these insights came from Ronald Sanders, a Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton who has been through at least six presidential transitions
in his government career, including stints as the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) first Associate Director for Human Resource Policy, the first chief human resources officer for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Director of Civilian Personnel for the Department of Defense. Clearly, Mr. Sanders know a thing or two about transition.
1. There’s not much difference between a hostile (change in parties) and friendly (second term) transition.
2. Forget what is going on in the White House; transitions are personal – new bosses in every corner of government will ‘roll downhill’ and have an impact on you.
3. Someone in your agency owns “The Transition Book” – find out who it is and make them your friend.
4. Make a one-page case for your program that’s tied to bottom line results, linking your programs to overall agency performance and public perception.
5. It doesn’t hurt to show how your program links to the Administration’s goals *and* your new agency administrator’s interests.
6. Build a book on new political appointees. Study their biographies and find ways to connect with them – LinkedIn is a great tool for this research.
7. Take advantage of the appointee gap – most immediate changes happen most quickly at the top, then the rest are slower. Get access to them and make a direct case for your program.
8. Know what your online profile says about you – Google yourself and see what comes up.
9. Double check your LinkedIn, Facebook and other public accounts to ensure that you stand out when vetted by savvy new administrators (and not in a bad way!).
10. Make the new Administrator’s look good – get them invited to give a speech, help them write it, go with them to it, ride in the car and get to know them (and help them get to know you!).
11. On the flip side, never undermine your new appointee. You might have political leanings that differ from theirs – never let it show.
12. Consider the “Pony Express Strategy:” Ride whatever horse gets you where you need to go. Deliver on time and in budget.
Which tips resonate with you most?
What other tips can you offer colleagues new to election transition?