Federal Coach: Preparing for What the Supercommittee Has in Store for Federal Agencies

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, often called the Supercommittee, is examining a wide-range of options that could dramatically affect federal employees, such as huge cuts in agency budgets and programs, workforce reductions, extension of the federal employee pay freeze and increased contributions to the retirement system.

As this difficult and tension-filled political process unfolds, many senior leaders across our federal government are busy preparing contingency plans. One leader – Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, the head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – recently announced that he will furlough employees rather than shutter regional offices or lay off employees as a result of budget cutbacks. Other agencies are already offering buy-outs and beginning the downsizing process.

As a federal manager in this environment, you are faced with a serious challenge: trying to keep your employees focused and motivated despite the changes coming that may affect them personally and programmatically.

While there is no easy way to deal with the pain and difficult choices that lie ahead, it may be a good time to dust off some of those old books – or discover new ones – about leading change.

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