President Barack Obama will nominate Bob McDonald as the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Mr. McDonald is the former CEO of Procter and Gamble and a Vet. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the Army for five years. Mr. McDonald is also a businessman with a lot of executive experience under his belt. He is esteemed like Dr. Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic, but it appears that the President wanted to move away from appointing another decorated general, a doctor or a politician. Nevertheless, the nomination remains in the arena of males who have served in the military.
It is amazing a workforce as large as the Federal Government seems to only be able to identify major glitches in management responsibility after a crisis or a scandal. There is something called proactive management, the anticipation of problems and the immediacy of solving those problems before they become national headline negative news. It serves no purpose to write up a 200 page report of the ills at the VA after the dams have burst and a tsunami of water is running in the streets. Reports that an internal audit was completed in May by VA that revealed approximately 1,700 veterans were at-risk of falling through the scheduling cracks in a Phoenix facility because they were no where on the wait list. This makes good press to underscore what a poor job the VA is doing.
The question is, however, does it help the veterans to talk about these dynamics after the fact. Proper and appropriate management means periodic audits, consistent monitoring and evaluation to make certain the pistons are properly firing. In the world of reasonable thinking, you don’t take the car to have the oil changed, after it has blown up on the highway. Federal workers make up the largest civilian workforce in the world. These individuals perform some pretty significant work to keep the nation moving forward.
It matters not how decorated or esteemed any appointment to a position is if the understanding is not there to be proactive from the top to the bottom. Good leaders never have to tell anybody that they are in charge, their actions simply demonstrate that. When we listen to our Vets not being taken care of, that sentiment should resonate with the heads of every agency within the Federal Government to begin doing an inventory of the tasks involved in their mission.
Leaders are often imbued with writing and making lofty statements that sound good. Secretary Shinseki, former Secretary of the VA, along with his senior staff put beautiful words on paper: being people-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking. There were those 16 initiatives including eliminating veteran homelessness and transforming health care delivery through health informatics. The VA is being whipped because they are tasked with providing very important services to veterans and their families, real life and death provisions unique to that agency. The VA has very complex and monumental responsibilities to take care of those who defend the nation. The tasks of the VA can be accomplished, just as the tasks of every federal agency. However, some hard, consistent work is required by not just a few people but all the people involved in the business of each individual agency.
The Federal Government must examine employing the technology of the CLOUD or some similar technology. The work of the Federal Government, particularly for an agency like the VA, is too complex and time sensitive for one entity not to know what another is doing. Collaboration and corroboration must take place with integrity to ensure customers are getting even more than the service they expect.
P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.
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