I wanted to share an article I read in graduate school and see if anyone has some insights to share with the GovLoop community. The article is titled, Are Large Public Organizations Manageable? The piece is written by Donna Shalala, who served 8 years as the Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton and is currently the President of Miami University. She received her Masters and PhD from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
I read the article in my Public Organizations and Management class, here is the intro to the article:
Americans like many big things: cars, open spaces, movies. But we don’t like big bureaucracies. Americans think that large government organizations are too complex, too impersonal, too inefficient, and cost too much. They are partly right. But at the same time that Americans express a dislike of bureaucracy, they also treasure many of the programs that government runs. The paradox is illustrated by the comment of one individual: “Keep your bureaucratic hands off of my Medicare.”
This paradox was very much on my mind in 1993 when the president asked me to become the chief executive officer (CEO) of one of the largest government organizations in the world. This was not my first encounter with the federal government; I had already served in the Carter administration and had close contact with government in my jobs as the president of two leading public universities. But I knew that taking over the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a department whose budget, at that time, consumed 40 percent of federal spending-would be unlike anything I ever did before.
Donna has a really interesting background and I really enjoyed this piece. You can check out the entire article here, but Donna continues to provide 7 strategies for leading large public organizations.
Lesson 1: Know the Culture of Your Organization
Lesson 2: Find Ways to Assure that Appropriate Coordination Takes Place
Lesson 3: Don’t Overlook the Needs and Abilities of the Career Public Service
Lesson 4: Choose the Best and Let Them Do Their Jobs
Lesson 5: Stitch Together a Loyal Team
Lesson 6: Stand up and Fight for the People Who Work for You
Lesson 7: Set Firm Goals and Priorities and Stick With Them
What are some further lessons you may have? Anything Donna may have missed? Any great management stories?