Getting Into “Drive”
August 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm #108184
As a member of the ERB, I would like to welcome you to participate in our first of many online discussions for the Senior Executives at the Department of Labor on GovLoop, a social network for Government.
Joining Govloop is very simple (even I managed to do it!). To join, just follow the simple instructions given on the website. Set up a profile. And you are ready to go.
Once you’ve joined and your information is confirmed, you will be able to join the DOL Group for SES, named DOL SES, or you may start your own.
You will remember Daniel Pink’s book “Drive” that was given to each of you at the SES Leadership Conference on June 23, 2010.
To inaugurate the DOL SES Govloop Group, we would like to begin with reactions to the idea put forth in Dan Pink’s book “Drive” where you are allowed to spend 20 percent of your time working on anything you want. You have autonomy over your time, your task, your team, and your technique. This idea of giving people 20 percent of their time to work on whatever they want supports innovation and engagement.
To get the conversation started on the DOL SES group (remember to join the group once you have signed up for GovLoop), I will post a few questions on the 20% concept and its applicability to DOL.
As we get further into a discussion of Dan Pink’s book, we will also discuss other notions, including:
1. Autonomy as a Key to Success and Motivation
2. Theories on Purpose and Achieving Goals
3. Concepts of Mastery and Achievement
4. Thoughts on Productivity and personal fulfillment.
Most importantly, we’ll have a chance to “discuss” our various perspectives in a space that is ours and that does not require us to track rapid-fire e-mails. You can jump into a conversation whenever you like, and there is no right or wrong answer to the questions. Rather, it’s a way to share thoughts with colleagues, and maybe gain some insights in the process.
Here’s a question to get us started. It concerns how you would go about implementing Dan Pink’s 20% question:
As a practical matter, how would you go about implementing Dan Pink’s 20% concept in a way that addresses concerns about innovation and engagement time that does not generate high value outcomes? How should successes and shortfalls be dealt with from a performance accountability perspective — if at all?
I look forward to your joining the discussion!
August 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm #108194
I would comment, John, but I seem to have lost my copy of the book, so all I’d have to go on would be Carl’s delightful discussion about 20% days at the management meeting this AM. Maybe somebody can loan me a copy??
August 17, 2010 at 9:38 pm #108192
I would be glad to loan my copy to you. I will have finished reading it by Thursday and will bring it to your office.
August 18, 2010 at 7:24 pm #108190
Jean L. AckermanParticipant
Before we even get to the question of implementation, there’s a question of where to find the time. 20% is an enormous amount of time — one day a week — and I’m sure that the public will not stop calling in, needing help, just to facilitate some quiet time for employees to work on their favorite projects. Not to mention the negative impact on my region’s enforcement program if we spend 20% less time on investigations. I hate to be a bucket of cold water here — I can think of a dozen high-value projects that need doing — if we could only find the time.
I think Dan Pink is talking primarily about the “next big thing” for businesses, something that would capture the public’s imagination and generate profits from a previously-untapped segment of the market. I’m not sure there’s an equivalent in govt. We’d have to generate 20% more efficiency in order to recoup the time spent developing the new “product” or process.
August 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm #108188
Thanks for the comment. Our time constraints are real and limit opportunities for take on new things–no matter how promising. However, I don’t believe that 20 percent is necessarily the threshold amount of time required to deliver positive results. Reserving less time is probably OK. In fact, how to organize “space” for “innovation time” is likley to differ from agency to agency, and from office to office within agencies.
If you could carve out the time, how would you initiative this work in your region?
August 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm #108186
Thanks, John. Don’t know what happened to my copy, but I’ll undertake to peruse yours and get it back to you shortly.
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