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It’s Sesame Street Simple – 6 Tips to Improve Your Agency

We’ve all watched Sesame Street at some point in our lives. Every day during the show, the puppets express a simple and achievable lesson that each of the kids watching can take home with them. Oftentimes the lessons are about patience, perseverance, forgiveness and honor.

Those sound like pretty good lessons for anybody, not just kindergardeners. When issues arise in government our leaders often look for complex solutions. But breaking down the issues into small and manageable pieces is the real way for success.

Tom Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. He has analyzed the Best Places to Work Survey to find data to help you do your job better.

Fox told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that the most high achieving agencies make Sesame Street simple decisions.

“It is Sesame Street simple, the basic concepts are straightforward. The execution is where much more difficult. What you find by looking at places like NASA or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are they are really focused on things like leadership, partnering with the unions, effective communication and finding ways to invest in your employees despite the budgetary constraints,” said Fox.

What to do:

  1. Invest: Great leaders focus on what they can do with those limited resources. They don’t make excuses.
  2. Training Re-imaged: NASA has operations located throughout the country and they had an event they would have once a year. But with travel funding on the decline they went to a full virtual event for their executive summit to connect all their various administrators across the country. They found they were able to increase participation within the summit while at the same time maintaining a very high quality.
  3. Accountable: One thing that really distinguishes the high performing agencies is the notion of having accountability. They have concrete performance objectives they need to meet as part of their executive contracts for just how well their people rate their leadership.
  4. Reward: There needs to be a concrete demonstration of appreciation.
  5. Don’t rest on your laurels: There needs to be a continuous focus on improvement
  6. No excuses: There needs to be an honest assessment of results
  7. Leadership from the top

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Henry Brown

Would add that for 3.Accountable and 4. Reward to have maximum impact the performance objectives and the type of rewards need to be agreed to by most if not all.