Preparing to Manage the Stimulus

In a recent survey completed by Government Executive Magazine’s research arm, the Government Business Council, data revealed that only 66% of government managers who were aware of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) anticipated meeting or exceeding the expectations of the funding program. At the same time, only 11% of respondents of the survey felt the current infrastructure was sufficient for managing the stimulus funds and over 54% claimed they were overwhelmed or anxious about the additional responsibilities associated with the management of the funds. And 55% of respondents felt that ARRA will not meet the public’s expectations.

It is clear from the results of the survey that new thinking is required to help federal and state government employees successfully meet the new requirements from the ARRA. Existing technology, processes and management practices will not be enough and agency leadership must rapidly adapt to meet these needs. In particular it will be critical for leadership to:

-Invest additional time in communicating expectations and requirements to staff. The step of Transitioning for Execution the strategy behind ARRA is currently a missing link in the process of delivering results.
-Revisit decision making processes which lead to bottlenecks and subsequent processing delays. Empower routine decisions to lower level managers or eliminate decisions where possible.
-Adopt simple tools and practices from outside of government to rapidly redesign processes. Simplifying processes to their core value can rapidly streamline to allow existing staffing levels to meet the additional requirements required by ARRA.
-Recognize that existing technology is not adequate and also recognize that new technology cannot be put in place in time to support ARRA. As such, leadership needs to work with staff to put in place short-term processes which can facilitate integration of disparate technologies and systems to make them workable.

It is critical for the leadership of federal, state and local government to quickly recognize that what works under normal conditions will not suffice under the additional stress of ARRA. And while there are no silver bullets, there are quick solutions which can support the needs of stimulus spending. Now is the time for swift and simple actions.

By Ron Wince, CEO of Guidon Performance Solutions
Post taken from The Ascent Blog: http://blog.guidonps.com

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