Next week, we’ll know who the next President will be. And he’ll have to hit the ground running to deal with the mega-challenges he’ll face.
His first task will be to put in place his team of executives to run agencies that oftentimes dwarf even Fortune 50 companies. How do they get up to speed?
Incoming agency executives in the next President’s administration must focus on ensuring success in key management areas, and respond to six imperatives, in order to ensure their success, according to two new books from the IBM Center for The Business of Government.
The authors, all former career federal executives, interviewed hundreds of current and former government officials, public policy experts, academics and researchers to prepare succinct guides detailing the shift from campaigning to governing.
Book 1: The Operator’s Manual
The Operator’s Manual for the New Administration is like a new car manual. It tells you how it works. It details critical areas of expertise – leadership, performance, people, money, contracting, technology, innovation and collaboration – along with examples of effective government management. You can also read the book on-line at a special website devoted to presidential transition resources.
Each critical area starts with a 2-page memo to incoming agency executives with crisp explanations of what they face. Each memo is followed by a series of questions-and-answers.
Book 2: Getting It Done
The Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives is more like a map. While the Manual tells you how the car works, the Guide is more like a map on how to get somewhere. In it, the authors identify six initial imperatives for success. For example:
• “What I meant to say was … “There is likely to be a gap in time (sometimes long) between nomination and confirmation. During this time period, learn as much about your agency as possible.
• Get smart. While you have done your background research on your agency prior to confirmation, devote early days in office to learning more about your customers, your agency programs, and “flash points” that may cause problems down the road for an agency.
• Civil servants are people, too. A key ingredient to your success will be putting together a joint political/career team. Don’t view your staff as two distinct camps. Avoid “political appointees only” meetings as much as possible.
In addition, Getting It Done contains 14 “primers” – written by experienced leaders – on how to work with key stakeholders such as the White House, Congress, the Office of Management & Budget, the media, etc., all of whom are key to “getting it done.”
Transition 2008 Blog
In addition to the two books, the IBM Center sponsors a blog on presidential transition- and government reform-related issues. Because of the recent flood of news, the blog is now updated daily.