government - vision - innovation - leadership - ses - results
GovLoop Guide JUNE 2012
welcome govloop leadership guide Welcome to Your Path to Leadership: Mastering Core Competencies to Get Ahead in Government! Over the course of the next three weeks, this workbook will serve as your guide. In it, you can find each week’s: 01. top traits of a great government leader 02. required reading 03. and self-reflection questions to inform your personal action plan. We hope over the next few weeks that you will spend some time reflecting on your leadership style and complete the course with a renewed energy and refocus on how you can improve as a leader. We also hope that you will explore what it means to be a leader in today’s government context. As you know, there are many definitions of leadership. One in particular states, “Leadership is the ability to inspire people to make a total, willing, and voluntary commitment to accomplishing or exceeding organizational goals,” (Goetsch & Davis, Quality Management, 3rd Ed. (2000). The question then becomes, how does a person become someone who can inspire their team to make a voluntary commitment to organizational goals? Well, we all know the answer is complicated, but this guide is designed to improve your leadership style, and be an inspirational leader within your agency. Of course, becoming a leader is an iterative process that requires a constant self-analysis for improving, managing and driving both individual and agency success. Being able and willing to explore your management and leadership style and identify how you can improve as a leader is critical to driving success within your agency. Being in tune with how your actions impact the rest of your team is critical to growing as a leader. This guide will facilitate that self-reflection process.
the workbook The ultimate hope of the course is that you will gain some resources that enable you to reflect and find new ways to improve your leadership skills. We have taken some of the best leadership posts from GovLoop, synthesized the content and then put it back into your hands. We share 10 traits of a leader, and a corresponding exercise to help you reflect on how you can improve the trait in your career. Our hope is that through each exercise you start to think critically about yourself as a leader, challenge your behavior and identify strategies for growth. Remember, the process starts with you and your commitment to improve. The ten traits in this guide are as follows: 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10.
Change Champion Bright Spot Specialist Boundary Breaker Savvy Navigator Conflict Mediator Team Builder Diversity Advocate Resource Maven Innovative Entrepreneur Cost Controller
This workbook is intended to help you dig deeper following each week’s webinar. To apply lessons you’ve learned here and on the webinar, make sure to complete the self reflection questions after each trait, as well participate in each week’s SME challenge on the course’s GovLoop group.
the course The workbook is just one element of this course. The entire course is designed to guide you through a facilitated, three-week online learning experience that addresses real challenges presented by current leaders in government. The course will touch upon each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) to train you in the competencies that you’ll need to become a great government leader. Our ten traits of a great government leader are grouped into three sections, one corresponding to each week of the course. Here’s the breakdown: Week 1: June 11 - June 15, 2012\\ Introducing and Implementing New Ideas Introducing new ideas to an organization takes innovation, strategic thinking, and vision. However, that’s only half the battle. If you can’t navigate internal politics and organizational realities, your great idea stands little chance of being adopted. Your assignment for this week is to review the following traits: pages Change Champion (ECQ 1) 05. Bright Spot Specialist (ECQ 1) 07. Boundary Breaker (ECQ5) 08. Savvy Navigator (ECQ 5) 09. Week 2: June 18 - June 22, 2012\\ Transforming the Toughest Employees and Teams Being an effective leader requires an ability to manage conflict and the toughest of employees in order to create high-performing teams. Your assignment for this week is to review the following traits: Conflict Mediator (ECQ 2) Tribe Builder (ECQ 2) Diversity Advocate (ECQ 2)
10. 11. 12.
Week 3: June 25 - June 29, 2012\\ Beyond Doing More With Less: Doing Different Under pressure to “do more with less,” it’s more important than ever that leaders are entrepreneurial problem solvers who can creatively and effectively manage human, financial, and technology resources. Your assignment for this week is to review the following traits: Resource Maven (ECQ 3) Innovative Entrepreneur (ECQ 3) Cost Controller (ECQ 4)
13. 14. 15.
Remember to also check the course GovLoop page for real-time course information, discussions, and other resources.
01 change champion Reading\\ Tips for Change Agents, by Don Jacobson, GovLoop Member On Change, or Why They Hate You, by John Bordeaux, GovLoop Member Choice of Three from the Change Management Series, by Spencer Stern, GovLoop Member Being a Change Champion is a critical trait for a leader. From the readings, you’ll see that a leader is tasked with learning the best way to navigate organizational culture, balance contradicting interests, and drive the organization towards a common mission. The reality about being a change agent is that it all starts with making a personal commitment to yourself. Once you have committed to bringing change within yourself, you are emboldened to work constructively to identify the organizational landscape and how you will navigate your organization to help drive towards mission critical success.
As John Bordeaux identifies in his blog post, “While we should work at the level where we appreciate the whole of the system, eschewing a focus on a specific ‘broken part,’ we also work at the component level. We do not approach change as if mass and acceleration were the only aspects of force, we understand non-linear effects, and how relatively small changes can echo and amplify enterprise change. We work at the component level, but look to system level effects - because no problem can be understood in isolation.” Again, John here is identifying that change is challenging, there are lots of moving parts, and a leader needs to be cognizant of the culture of the organization to effectively bring change within an agency.
Responses\\ “For change to be successful we also need to be aware of the idea that creating change in an organization is a process and not a one time activity or intervention. In my experience, I have seen many leaders take a few steps along the process of change but not have the stamina to see the change through till the end of the process. We are usually good at raising awareness, communicating the vision and asking for commitment. We are not as good at establishing an infrastructure (training for new competencies, creating new reward systems, introducing new tools/systems) that will allow the change to take hold. Finally, leaders need to understand that it takes continued effort, commitment and resources to sustain a change. Most times resources are diverted to either new or additional efforts before ensuring a current effort is fully integrated into the organization.” Craig Petrun, Ph.D.
“People do embrace change but it is change that they initiate because they can trust their own motives for change. When you talk about change that is initiated by change agents, people fear the change because they fear the motives of the change agent(s). Most change agents make the mistake of announcing change and championing change as a foregone conclusion but they do little to engage the affected employees into the rationale and direction for the change.” Bill Brantley
01. What are two lessons you draw from this reading? 02. What are two ways that you will immediately apply these lessons to your job?
bright spot specialist Reading\\ Why Is Change So Difficult in Government?, by Dustin Haisler, GovLoop Member Switch: Don’t Solve Problems--Copy Success, by Dan & Chip Heath, in Fast Company
Change Champions can run into a lot of resistance in their quest to help their organizations evolve. Challenges of outright resistance or low user adoption are two issues change agents may face. These responses could be the result of a number of factors, such as skepticism that a change will actually “stick”, feeling that the change will complicate one’s work, or an unwillingness/inability to break an old habit. Instead of dwelling on problems in implementing change, Dustin Haisler recommends that government leaders take a page from Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch. The book recommends to find and follow the “bright spots” within an organization or situation. By focusing on what is working, Bright Spot Specialists iden-
tify why some users have adopted a change and replicate those conditions elsewhere in the organization, helping to break down resistance. Great government leaders can take cues from what works to help fix what doesn’t.
Responses\\ “The best advice I could give to someone about replicating “bright spots” is to start small and think strategically. Keeping things simple is the best way to initiate positive changes into an organization.” Nathan Greenhut “Change in general is always difficult, it helps to take a positive approach!” Scott Span
01. What are two lessons you draw from this reading? 02. What are two ways that you will immediately apply these lessons to your job?
03 boundary breaker Reading\\ The First Step to Thinking Outside the Box, is Stepping Outside It, by Nicholas Charney, GovLoop Member
A leader in government knows how to gracefully tread along the path of competing interests and unique organizational cultures. In order to do so, leaders will have to work to across boundaries and with many different individuals. Great government leaders are Boundary Breakers. They aren’t afraid to go outside their comfort zone, have new experiences, and connect with colleagues down the hall and across the government. By reaching out to people who are not traditionally in your network, you can learn and gather new insights, and be provided with new solutions to complex challenges. As Nick Charney nicely stated, the first step to thinking outside the box, is stepping outside it – so don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and connect and collaborate with new professionals.
Responses\\ “I don’t care how specialized your organization’s mandate is, there will always be more information and knowledge outside your organization than within it.” Nicholas Charney “Great ideas, epiphanies, insights, come from focus, but they also come from the most unlikely of places sometimes, and at the most unlikely of times, too. So get out there. Stroll out to the perimeter of your knowledge and peer over the edge. Let your employees look over that edge. Turn “I wonder if there is another way of looking at this?” into a habit of mind that doesn’t have to be struggled with, but that comes easily.” Mark Hammer
01. What are two lessons you draw from this reading? 02. What are two ways that you will immediately apply these lessons to your job?
04 savvy navigator Reading\\ How Do You Navigate Internal Politics? by Steve Ressler, Founder and President, GovLoop
Internal politics are a nearly ubiquitous phenomenon. While these politics are subtle in some organizations, other organizations are built on entire sets of unspoken rules that determine who can do what and how. While you might not want to “play the game” of office politics, understanding the game is essential if you want to become a successful Savvy Navigator. To do so will take a mix of emotional intelligence, respect for others, an awareness of where you fit in an organization, and knowing when and how to challenge or work within the rules. Great government leaders are able to apply these traits in order to bring about change in even the most tricky environments.
Responses\\ “...you need to pick your battles - some things are worth fighting for, but give and take is necessary to maintain a successful status in the game.” Arianne Jolene Gallagher “First, take the time to understand the culture that helped to shape the politics. Then, per coping, confront political situations as appropriate for that culture. Remember, you may not always be able to change the leadership, power, and politics of a system - but you are able to change and adapt how you navigate and respond to them.” Scott Span
05 conflict mediator Reading\\ 5 Ways to Approach “Dysfunctional Team Members”, by Deb Green, GovLoop Member Conflict as a Tool for Growth, by Kathleen Schafer, GovLoop Member Get Your Team to Stop Fighting and Start Working, by Amy Gallo, HBR Blog
Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. In the workplace, managing conflict can be one of the hardest aspects of a leader’s job. When conflict arises, it is the responsibility of the manager to act. Conflict can be demoralizing and damaging to morale, but conflict can also be constructive. The key is how you address it. By identifying the root of the problem, and thinking of tangible steps to improve, a leader can take a negative experience, and not only learn and grow herself, but also help her organization achieve its goals. There are a lot of great tips in the required reading sections on how to manage conflict. Be sure to take your time and think through how you can improve as a leader, and identify situations how you can improve how you handle conflict.
Responses\\ “One of the greatest assets in a conflict is the ability to recognize that if people are firedup enough to be angry there must be something they care a great deal about preserving and/or fear losing. As a leader, this is an opportunity to not only move past the conflict, but also to strengthen the existing relationships.” Kathleen Schafer “I never had a team member that I couldn’t work with and get them ‘on the team’ and functional with a little time and effort. A little training, discussion of processes, just listening. Encouragement goes a long way to creating a positive, motivated environment that supports everyone.” Janina Rey Echols Harrison
Have a Nice Conflict, by Jim Elliott, GovLoop Member How Do You Deal With a Workplace Bully? By Emily Jarvis, Online Editor, GovLoop
06 team builder Reading\\ 10 Commandments for a Highly Effective Team, by Emily Jarvis, Online Editor, GovLoop The Myth of the Turnaround Employee, by Mario, GovLoop Member
A leader is only as great as his or her team. This means that great government leaders must be able to put and hold together a working unit that performs at a high level. The recipe for success is one that requires a lot of ingredients: accountability, adversity (see how your team really responds), feedback, integrity (not just during work hours!), openness, organization, purpose, tenacity, training, trust, and truth. However, challenging team members and difficult circumstances can make it difficult to obtain all the necessary ingredients. In this case, it is important for government leaders to know how to turn around a “dysfunctional” team. In doing so, a true Team Builder will improvise in tweaking the recipe, whether it be changing his/her own behavior, setting and enforcing rules of the road, making more face-time for employees who need it, or even changing the makeup of a team. Leading a team isn’t easy,
but a great leader knows how to combine all the right ingredients to build a great team and how to improvise, when things don’t taste so great.
Responses\\ “The assumption that [a] team is dysfunctional because they need directions and waypoints to check against is but only one possible cause to the dysfunction problem. Do they feel connected to the project? Do they feel that what they do actually matters? Inspiration and excitement can do a lot for team dynamics. Get them excited and show that their input matters.” Deb Green “If you haven’t already done so, I challenge all of you to sit down with your work units and develop a list of values that you want to live by, and to post them prominently at your workspace or common area for all to see. Without shared values, peak performance isn’t possible.” Roslyn Brown
10 Ways to Turnaround a Dysfunctional Team, by Paul Wolf, GovLoop Member Counter-Productive Team Language?, by Robert Bacal, GovLoop Member Preventing the Miserable Workplace, by Deb Green, GovLoop Member
07 diversity advocate Reading\\ Agreeable to Disagreement by K. Scott Derrick, GovLoop Member Diversity Matters to the Mission by Peg Hosky, GovLoop Member
Valuing diversity in the workplace is a fundamental trait for a leader. In this instance, diversity means everything from conflicting opinions, to cross-cultural and diverse team members. The key in both instances is to develop a culture that encourages people to speak up and provide positive and negative feedback. People on your team -- all members -- need to feel like they can speak freely and openly. Diversity Advocates think critically about situations and strategies that can be used to develop an open and transparent working environment. Sometimes this is as simple as having an open door policy – at other times, you may need to bring in a skilled facilitator to serve as a mediator. This will help to create a non-intimidating environment for employees.
Responses\\ “If you are a manager or supervisor, there is little doubt that your employees notice your behavior and pick up cues as to whether or not you are agreeable to disagreement. If they sense that you are not open to feedback and diverse views, many of them will be slow to offer valuable input that could help save you from making a serious misstep.” K. Scott Derrick “Managing the web in the Government is still relatively new, at least managing it effectively. As it is, ever-evolving, healthy, spirited discussions are needed on a continuous basis in order to keep our minds and vision forward-looking. The challenge I find is to balance my own thoughts and present them in a way that won’t discourage others from offering their own, even when solicited, for fear it may be contrary to mine.” Martha McLean
08 resource maven Reading\\ Bring on the Drastic Debt Deal Cuts! by Andrew Krzmarzick, Community Manager, GovLoop Can We Really Do More with Less? by Steve Ressler, Founder and President, GovLoop Making the Most of Limited Resources in the Public Sector, by Nick Cotter & Jo Potter, Oakleigh Consulting With the nation at a crossroads on national debt and bruising budget battles looming on the horizon, the best government leaders will be those who are resourceful. While few people would ever cheer draconian cuts to their own budgets, the rest can take hope from the old adage that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Translated to austere budgets, it could be said that nothing sparks creativity like a lack of resources. While much of the focus over the next several years will likely be on cutting programs and personnel, Resource Mavens will also focus on developing new, creative approaches to do more with less - seemingly forming something out of nothing. GovLoop Community Manager Andrew Krzmarzick argues the dual approach of retraction and reinvention will involve carefully evaluating personnel needs (are buyouts an option?), physical space needs (do we really need all those energy-eating buildings?), and institutionalizing incentives for creativity and opportunities for collaboration. While this is no easy
task, Resource Mavens can turn moments of fiscal crisis into moments of creative opportunity.
Responses\\ “(There is an) opportunity to reengineer, improve business processes and cut costs about right now. It is going to take a great deal of courage and creativity from our leaders, but the opportunity is there.” Candace Riddle “This is a bitter-sweet moment for all conscientious Federal employees. I fear arbitrary cuts, but look forward to participating actively in addressing the issues you raised. This time is right for major reforms of the way we work that will result in major savings. We need to look for opportunities to simplify, automate, delegate, and reengineer work so that every individual can make a difference and exercise all their strengths for the common good. Tally ho!” Terry Hill
Is it Time for the Government to Do Less with More? by Peter Sperry, GovLoop Member What Doing More with Less Means for CIOs, interview of George DelPrete by Chris Dorobek, DorobekINSIDER (17:13 - 28:35 of podcast)
09 innovative entrepreneur Reading\\ Doing More with Less is Dead, This is about Doing Things Differently by Nicholas Charney, GovLoop Member
With the current financial state of government, leaders need to bring an innovative approach to help produce changes needed to advance government. Leaders in government are now tasked to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Shrinking budgets, changing staff and increasing demands for service will require not only innovation, but leaders who can make it happen. Being an Innovative Entrepreneur not only means developing new and creative ways to solve problems within your agency – it also means empowering your employees and peers to do the same.
Responses\\ “There needs to be some institutional driver to cause change that affects those most senior in power. How can we game the system to celebrate the change makers? Who measures the quality of working practices objectively? We need a scoreboard for people to be able to say “I work for the best agency” the same way we have sunlight review to measure openness in the US, and annual best website competitions, but for enlightened management.” Brett Husbands “We need to completely transform how we manage work in the future. Not only in terms of technology, but in location, work hours, and hierarchy. We need to streamline operations and hire innovative intrapreneurs to transform our organizations to deliver high-performance at a much lower cost.” Terry Hill
10 cost controller Reading\\ To Make Government Cheaper, You Need to Understand its Cost Drivers by Paul Wolf, GovLoop Member
There’s a lot of talk about government needing to “do more with less,” or to do things “better, faster, and cheaper.” However, Paul Wolf argues that it is impossible to move beyond these talking points without really understanding what drives costs in government. As such, Cost Controllers understand the drivers of government expenditures and know how to contain them. In his book, Extreme Government Makeover, Ken Miller argues that containing costs involves serving customers quickly and in as few visits as possible, while doing things right the first time and ensuring as few hands as possible touch any given task and, finally, letting people simply do their work. To be sure, there are other cost drivers throughout government and it can be debated how possible it is to do things better, faster, and cheaper or where to begin. This is why it
is critical that leaders understand the drivers in their areas. Only then can they effectively work to contain costs and develop new, creative ways to reduce or avoid costs in providing service.
Responses\\ “Speed is a challenge in our bureaucracy. I’m cautious, however, about putting it up front as the main focus for cutting cost in government. I’ve simply seen too many decisions rushed for the sake of speed - often before due diligence could be complete. Cleanup after poor decisions is very expensive.” David Dejewski “The triple constraint ultimately drives any initiative: cost, schedule, and performance.” Jaime Gracia
01. change champion 02. bright spot specialist 03. boundary breaker 04. savvy navigator 05. conflict mediator 06. team builder 07. diversity advocate 08. resource maven 09. innovative entrepreneur 10. cost controller
about the authors This workbook was written and compiled by Steve Cottle and Pat Fiorenza. Thank you to everyone in the GovLoop community and their contribution to this guide. Steve Cottle, GovLoop Graduate Fellow Steve is currently a Graduate Fellow at GovLoop and a student at Georgetown University, where he is pursuing a Masters of Public Policy at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Prior to his time at GovLoop and Georgetown, Steve spent nearly five years as a federal strategy and operations consultant, supporting clients throughout the Department of Homeland Security and serving as a fellow in a think tank for public sector innovation. Pat Fiorenza, GovLoop Research Analyst Pat Fiorenza is currently a Research Analyst at GovLoop. Pat works on the Business Development team and is continually interfacing with the GovLoop community. By researching and authoring blogs, research reports, guides, in-person and online events for GovLoop, Pat helps to identify and find best practices to share with the GovLoop community. Pat received his Masters of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Vanessa Vogel, GovLoop Design Fellow Vanessa is currently a Design Fellow at GovLoop. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design.
about GovLoop GovLoop’s mission is to “connect government to improve government.” We aim to inspire public sector professionals by serving as the knowledge network for government. GovLoop connects more than 55,000 members, fostering cross-government collaboration, solving common problems and advancing government careers. The GovLoop community has been widely recognized across multiple sectors as a core resource for information sharing among public sector professionals. GovLoop members come from across the public sector; include federal, state, and local public servants, industry experts as well as non-profit, association and academic partners. In brief, GovLoop is the leading online source for addressing public sector issues. In addition to being an online community, GovLoop works with government experts and top industry partners to produce valuable resources and tools, such as guides, infographics, podcasts, online training and educational events, all to help public sector professionals do their jobs better. GovLoop also promotes public service success stories in popular news sources like the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Government Technology, and other industry publications. Location GovLoop is headquartered in Washington D.C., where a team of dedicated professionals share a common commitment to connect and improve government. GovLoop 734 15th St NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20005 Phone: (202) 407-7421 Fax: (202) 407-7501