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The Federal Coach – Make a clear statement: ‘We are listening’

In today’s column I speak with Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs about issues ranging from how to set priorities to how to surface ideas and issues from the front lines.

Q: Given all your responsibilities, how do you prioritize your time?

A: The secretary, chief of staff and I all share a common briefing binder, so I begin each night with the ride home, essentially reading about 100 pages worth of material. We start every day with what I would call “situational awareness,” an analysis of the security situation. I spend two days a week doing classic oversight, risk management and decision-making. I spend a full day a week on people, focused on hiring, coaching, evaluating and offering opportunities for assistant secretaries, undersecretaries and subject-matter experts to come in and have that one-on-one.

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