Getting Butts in the Seats – Conference Style, Plus Your Weekend Reads

Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

A busy week here on GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Government Innovation Success? RFP-EZ Launches – hear from Clay Johnson: The federal procurement process is broken. It’s a long drawn out process that requires 100 page RFPs. But now the Presidential Innovation fellows have come up with a streamlined, easy, and usable alternative. It’s aptly called. RFP-EZ. So how does it work? And is a REAL solution for the governments contracting woes? We talked with RFP-EZ’s lead fellow, Clay Johnson.
  • Exposing Government: In his first term of office President Obama pledged to shed light upon the shadow of our veiled government. Simply put – bring transparency to the executive branch. To accomplish this he set forth policies issuing greater exposure of government documents through new mediums. Although initially successful, Obama’s Open Government is still far from complete. We talked with Katherine McFate about President Obama’s next steps.
  • Postal Service Woes: The Postal Services faces a bleak economic future. To the tune of billions of dollars in debt. So what can be done? The Government Accountability Office weighed the pros and cons of the Postal Service Reforms currently being debated in Congress. We got their insights.
  • Millennial Mayhem – Managing, Training and Capitalizing – Next year, millennials will make up more than 35% of the federal workforce. That’s a staggering number of feds who will all have been born after 1976. So how can leaders really connect, train, manage and capitalize on their talents?

Our issue of the Week: at conferences in 2013
With shrinking budgets and fewer resources to support mission goals, federal government decision makers and influencers plan on attending fewer events this year.
Market Connections polled 400 feds about their plans to attend conferences in FY 2012. And the results were bleak for contractors.
Lisa Dezzutti is the President of Market Connections. She told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that only 5% of respondents said they would attend more conferences this year than last.

“The survey validated what we already know, federal managers and leaders are attending fewer events,” said Dezzutti.

  • 78% said budget was the reason for attending fewer events
  • 58% cited travel restrictions
  • 36% said management wouldn’t allow it

Getting Feds in the Seats

  • Only 25% said they would go to an event hosted by a corporate entity. While 72% said they would prefer a trade organization. So contractors should partner with trade organizations for events.
  • Contractors need to make sure they have a robust and integrated plan – look at other methods of reach the government customer.
  • Events have to be education focused. If they are not getting that education component or if they get a hint of sales pitch they won’t come back to another event.
    • 61% say the go to conferences to stay abreast of current technology and trends
  • Events need to be more topic specific. If you can’t find a way to have niche things happening like that you won’t ge the same drawl.
  • Events need to be more local. Close by. If it could be on-sight all the better.

Impact of GSA and VA Scandals
“The scandals will have a ripple effect for the next few years. Right now people are still avoiding any mention of the word resort in a conference title,” said Dezzutti.

Weekend Reads:

Governing:What Darwin Can Teach Government: Charles Darwin’s revolutionary ideas about evolution are once again making waves, but this time in a way that offers governments and other organizations a tool for overcoming systemic challenges through the evolution of the way work is done. Darwin’s theory of natural selection was simple but significant: Variation occurs naturally within any population, and nature will favor and spread characteristics that are advantageous for survival.

Edward I. Koch, Ex-Mayor of New York, passed away this week.
The New York Times called him the “brash embodiment of the city he led.” Mr. Koch, a showman of City Hall, was a three-term mayor who steered New York City through the fiscal austerity of the late 1970s and the racial conflicts of the 1980s. He was 88. AtlanticCities pulled together 8 Pearls of Wisdom From Ed Koch.

Fast Company: Screwing Up Could Be Your Best Career Move–If You Do It Right

The rules for a proper mistake:

  1. Be first with the news if you can. You get much better control of the matter if the bad news comes straight from you. Plus, right after delivering the news, you can show that you…
  2. Have a plan. People get over the shock of your screwup pretty quickly if you show you have a way to fix it. But don’t wait to give the plan. You need to present it immediately after giving the news. Why? Because that way you…
  3. Shift to the future. Focus on what happens next. That’s what Clinton did.
  4. Don’t apologize. This is the most controversial advice I give. Apologies come with several problems. First, they focus on the past, on the screwup, reminding people of what you did. Second, apologies rarely satisfy people. They almost always seem inadequate. That’s because apologies are “self-belittling”–they shrink you down to the size of the victim or smaller. People often demand an apology more as vengeance than as any way to improve matters. Instead, you need to be in a position of strength so that you can solve the problem and get past the screwup.

Making a business case for bedtime:WSJ: Go Ahead, Hit the Snooze Button Weary Workers Learn to Count Sheep Using Special Lighting, Office Nap Pods One-third of American workers aren’t sleeping enough to function at peak levels, and that chronic exhaustion is costing billions of dollars in lost productivity, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School.

And a off-topic weekend diversion:
Disney has just released its Oscar-nominated short, Paperman, online for all of us to see an enjoy. If you haven’t seen it, it is nothing short of delightful. But it is also the technological next step in animation mixing both computer generated animination with hand-drawn pictures. Not is the story heartwarming, but it is simply georgous — UK’s Telegraph called it the best thing Disney has done in years.

Paperman is the best thing Disney has done in years – Telegraph
Disney’s Beautiful Gamechanger Paperman Debuts Online –

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