The Business of Government Hour

 

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The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

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Join the IBM Center for a weekly conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business.

Ambassador Prudence Bushnell interview

Friday, November 19th, 2004 - 20:00
Phrase: 
"The issues of diplomacy have become far more complicated. The skills of diplomacy are important, but also skills of leadership. A diplomat’s role is not only to influence one-on-one but to provide leadership to all other government agencies overseas."
Radio show date: 
Sat, 11/20/2004
Intro text: 
Leadership; Innovation; Strategic Thinking; Human Capital Management...

Leadership; Innovation; Strategic Thinking; Human Capital Management

Magazine profile: 
Complete transcript: 

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Arlington, Virginia

Mr. Lawrence: Good morning and welcome to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, partner in charge of The IBM Center for The Business of Government. We created the Center in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness. You can find out more about the Center by visiting us on the web at www.businessofgovernment.org.

The Business of Government Radio Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. Our special guest this morning is Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, dean, Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute.

Good morning, Ambassador.

Ambassador Bushnell: Good morning. How are you?

Mr. Lawrence: Great, thank you. And joining us in our conversation also from IBM is Kim Hintzman.

Good morning, Kim.

Ms. Hintzman: Good morning, Paul.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, Ambassador, let's start by finding out about your current position; I was intrigued as I introduced you. Could you tell us about this position?

Ambassador Bushnell: As you said, I'm the dean of the Leadership and Management School, which is one of four schools in the Foreign Service Institute. And our mandate is to provide both leadership and security training for the people in the Department of State, both those in Washington and those who are going overseas. It's a wonderful job.

Mr. Lawrence: How so?

Ambassador Bushnell: Because the Department of State is a global organization with 265 branch offices in 180 different countries employing 30,000 people of different nationalities with a mandate to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world with resources of no more than one percent of the U.S. budget. The job of me and my team is to help civil service employees and Foreign Service employees deal with the challenges of implementing that mandate. It is very complicated, very challenging, and very adventuresome.

Ms. Hintzman: Ambassador, that's very interesting. Can you tell us a little bit more about the brief history and overview of the Foreign Service Institute itself?

Ambassador Bushnell: Let me start by saying that the Foreign Service is actually a fairly new service. It was created in the '20s, the modern Foreign Service in the '20s, and the Foreign Service Institute was created in 1946, originally to provide people with economic training. Now when you think back of what the U.S. was doing in 1946, we were preparing to become a global power, we were looking at issues of the Marshal Plan, and helping Europe recreate itself, so it made sense that people needed to be economically savvy. Since then, however, the Foreign Service Institute has broadened to encompass a number of different issues. We're very well known for the 70 different languages to which we train, but we also provide a lot of trade craft courses, a lot of seminars to prepare people with children, spouses going overseas. So we are a full-service organization.

Ms. Hintzman: Great. So how is the creation of the school related to the evolving profession of diplomacy over the years? I think you started telling us a little bit about that. Can you expand on that some more?

Ambassador Bushnell: Diplomacy has changed tremendously, particularly since the end of the Cold War. It used to be that one could be a very, very effective diplomat as an individual player. You could make your reputation and do the government's business by your own individual actions vis-�-vis the government or the person whom you wanted to influence. As the U.S. became more of a global power, more and more federal agencies went overseas, and the role of the diplomat was not only to influence one-on-one, but also to provide leadership and a sense of direction to all of the other government agencies overseas. The Leadership and Management School is helping people to do just that, and it shows just how much more complicated our job has become.

Ms. Hintzman: Can you tell us what your vision is for the Leadership and Management School?

Ambassador Bushnell: I would like to see the school continue as a creative and dynamic partner to our colleagues who are implementing the very difficult mandate of creating a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world.

Mr. Lawrence: A lot of people talk about leadership and management together in one sentence. What are the key differences between the two?

Ambassador Bushnell: You know, I don't worry about that too much. Having spent a lot of time doing management training and leadership training, I think some of the differences are artificial. I think that it's more of a difference of emphasis. The leader, if you will, focuses on the direction; the manager focuses on getting there. Often you hear that leadership is doing the right thing and management is doing things right. You need both, in order to be effective either as a manager or as a leader.

Mr. Lawrence: And you don't focus on the difference between them because you think they're both important? I was curious about that comment.

Ambassador Bushnell: What is more important for me is to look at what behaviors go into leadership, because very often, I find that people want to wait until they're in a position of leadership in order to think that they're going to start practicing leadership. Well, if we all wait until we finally arrive at that position with who knows what as a title, without ever having practiced leadership behaviors, then we're not going to be very well prepared.

So what I would rather have people do is to look at what are the component behaviors of leadership. And it doesn't matter to me if you call them leadership or management, but what are the component behaviors? How can we practice them regardless of what title we have on our jobs or what position we occupy so that we can be ready for that stellar moment when we are crowned as leaders?

Mr. Lawrence: Well, do you answer the question for them? What are the component behaviors of an effective leader, in your opinion?

Ambassador Bushnell: I think the key behaviors are interpersonal skills, absolutely key. And when we train the leadership at the Leadership and Management School, we do it from the inside out, with the notion that leadership is not about you, leadership is about the other person. So you can't be so focused on how am I doing, how are people treating me, how do I need to behave. You really need to have a very good sense of yourself and a sense of discipline in yourself and managing your own behavior so that you can focus on the other person and lead the other person in terms of understanding the other person, motivating the other person, setting a sense of direction, and providing the environment that those people need to get their jobs done.

Ms. Hintzman: Tell us about your career prior to becoming the dean. How did your earlier positions help prepare you for your current position?

Ambassador Bushnell: I joined the Foreign Service 23 years ago, and before then, I had been involved in management training and found that when I came into the Foreign Service and went into the administrative work, there was a great deal of transferability of skills. It was very useful to know management concepts and procedures as I became a manager in an overseas context supervising people of different cultures. Since then in the Foreign Service, I've had jobs that entail both the practice of management and leadership as well as the theory and concept of management and leadership. So it's been very -- it's been a back and forth.

Mr. Lawrence: Tell us some more of those experiences. Take us through your career and how you got here.

Ambassador Bushnell: My first overseas position was in Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, as management officer. Then I went to Bombay, India; came back to the Foreign Service to do leadership training at the Foreign Service Institute. I then went out as deputy chief of mission back to Dakar, Senegal. I have to tell you that the Senegalese who had known me when I was a lowly administrative person were thrilled to see me come back five years later in a senior job. They were just so proud of me. This is, you know, a general services officer made good.

From that job, I returned to the United States and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, then Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; went out to Nairobi, Kenya, as an ambassador, and from there to Guatemala as U.S. ambassador.

Mr. Lawrence: Now I also understand, in preparing for this interview, I learned that you recently received the Service to America Medal for your career achievements. Could you tell us more about this and why you were selected?

Ambassador Bushnell: The Service to America Medal is given by a nonprofit, nonpartisan partnership for government and the Atlantic Monthly media. And what they are trying to do is to highlight the contributions of public servants, so mine was not the only award. There were many other wonderful people who have done terrific things. And the purpose, as I say, is to highlight contributions of public servants and appeal to people to join the public service. Our nation, our government, I think, is as healthy as the quality of our public servants, and it's terribly important that people see public service as both a noble and a wonderful way to go in their lives.

Mr. Lawrence: I hope you told the Senegalese about this award.

Ambassador Bushnell: Yes, yes, I'm sure they'd be very, very proud.

Mr. Lawrence: That's interesting.

What does it mean to manage during a crisis? We'll ask Ambassador Bushnell to tell us more about this when The Business of Government Hour returns.

(Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, and this morning's conversation is with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, dean, Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute.

And joining us in our conversation is Kim Hintzman.

Ambassador, as you mentioned in the previous segment, you were ambassador to Kenya at the time of the bombing in 1998. Could you tell us what it's like to manage during a crisis like that, during the attack, and the days that followed?

Ambassador Bushnell: Let me situate you. The embassy was in a very, very busy downtown area of Nairobi. The explosives amounted to about two tons that went off in this very busy intersection. Within a nanosecond of the explosion, 213 people died; over 5,000 people were wounded mainly from the chest up, which meant an enormous amount of blood; about 150 businesses were instantly destroyed; and a two-mile radius of the bomb site was devastated. We had, within five minutes, about 20,000 people on our -- in front of the embassy, because the building next door to us had completely collapsed. This was a seven-story building that pancaked. And windows in all of the buildings in our area had been blasted out.

There was no 9-1-1. This was a city that had a minimum amount of resources for itself in the best of times, and in the worst of times was completely inadequately prepared. What is different from what happened to us to what happened to people on 9/11 in New York, as an example, is that we, the victims, had to be our own rescuers. We had about 50 percent casualties in the chancery building, in the building that was blown up. The other 50 percent of the people came out onto the sidewalk, regrouped, and then went back into what was by that time a deathtrap of a building to bring out their dead colleagues, their wounded colleagues, and go under the rubble to find those who survived.

We went from there to finding the many, many people who were missing, because I did not want any of us to stop until we could account for every single person in the mission, both Kenyan and American. So we sent out teams to go through morgues, hospitals, neighborhoods to find our people. Meanwhile, we were recreating our embassy and an emergency action center at another building within town. There was, as you can imagine, a flood of media, a flood of attention. There was an inordinate amount of need on the Kenyan side, so we were trying to deal with the needs that the Kenyans had in addition to taking care of ourselves and recreating our community and our organization.

Most of the people, most of my colleagues, American colleagues, who had an opportunity to curtail from their assignment, choose not to. And even those who had been evacuated for medical attention returned, many of them with shards of glass still in them. Most of our Kenyan employees continued to work. And as a community, we reconstructed ourselves. We continued the bilateral business and recreating the bridge of friendship, which was sorely mangled at the point of the bombing, and we carried on. It was the most extraordinary lesson in leadership and exercise of leadership that I have ever gone through, and certainly changed my life and my thinking about what leadership is all about.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, tell us some of those lessons you learned and how your thinking changed.

Ambassador Bushnell: Let me give you an example. During the first few horrible, horrible hours, when we really were all by ourselves, before any rescuers from outside could come and help us I could hear on the embassy radio net everything that people were doing to help out to rescue our colleagues. And it created in me an incredible need to be worthy of these people who were doing so much. Some weeks later, one of them came up to me and said, geez, Ambassador, you know, we were really trying so hard to keep up with you. I said, well, I was trying hard to keep up with you. So there was this incredible synergy that was created.

And as I think about the leadership component to that synergy, what it was included a team of people who knew one another and trusted one another. Because I had spent a lot of time in the two years I was in Nairobi, before the bombing, creating teams and having us work together as teams. Being a team member and trusting one another doesn't mean you have to like one another necessarily, but trust and knowing how to accommodate one's work style was terribly important, so we had a team that was familiar with one another.

We had a leader. I had experience in crises as a result of having worked as Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. I had a fair amount of experience in leadership. And very importantly, I had a relationship with my team. They trusted me and I trusted them. And I think they knew they could depend on me as I knew I could depend on them.

And the third was a sense of mission that encompassed all of us. Failure was not an option. It was unacceptable; absolutely unacceptable to do anything but pick ourselves up and help one another get through what was a catastrophe. So team, leader, and mission to create this incredible sense of synergy where when one falters, the other can sort of pick you up temporarily and go forward.

Ms. Hintzman: The terrorist attacks on these embassies were front page news. How often are Foreign Service officers confronted with managing a crisis and we don't hear about it in the news?

Ambassador Bushnell: Very often. Part of the Leadership and Management School is a division called the Crisis Management Training Division. We recently did a survey of our colleagues overseas, all direct-hire Department of State personnel -- Civil Service, Foreign Service, and Foreign Service National, who work in our embassies overseas -- to find out just what experience with crises people have. And the crises we're talking about are crises as defined in our foreign affairs handbook, so we're talking hijacking, hostage, bombing, chem-bio, natural disaster, beyond the kinds of crises that we can get involved in, traffic accidents and family crises. So these are fairly, I think, major crises.

What the survey came back with was that 67 percent of our people overseas have either been a victim of or involved in resolving a crisis. When you talk about the population within the Foreign Service, the population of generalists with 15 years experience or more, that number goes up to 87 percent. So what I learned recently is that who we are, as Secretary Powell says, is on the front-line of offense, truly are the Americans with our Foreign Service National colleagues who are facing incredible dangers that are becoming more and more serious every day.

Mr. Lawrence: I understand the Leadership and Management School has a course about crisis management. Could you tell us about that course?

Ambassador Bushnell: In part because of this incredible statistic, I have to tell you that all of us who worked at State and are in the Foreign Service acknowledge that we deal with crises and we have sort of taken it for granted. We also recognize that we had jolly well better prepare ourselves, so the handling crises and dealing with personal security permeates many, many of the courses in the Foreign Service Institute. It is mandatory, for example, that every employee of the U.S. Government goes through a security course, and we actively encourage spouses and children to go through that personal security course as well.

In addition, the crisis management team which I mentioned to you that works within the Leadership and Management School travels to literally all parts of the globe to exercise 50 percent of our embassies every year. So these people create post-specific scenarios, then go to the posts and work with the emergency action committee of the United States' mission, the Americans and the national employees, to go through a scenario and help them become better prepared. Every two years, 100 percent of the posts in the world will have gone through a crisis management exercise, and we will exercise posts more frequently if they need it.

In addition, we recently created a crisis leadership training for senior leaders. And what this does is to extract from the array of management and leadership skills that are useful at any time those specific skills that are needed in times of crisis, and we train people specifically to those skills.

Mr. Lawrence: That's interesting, especially the part about the training specifically for that.

What does one do when their job description includes promoting democracy? We'll ask Ambassador Prudence Bushnell to help us get a better picture of what a Foreign Service officer does when The Business of Government Hour continues.

(Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, and this morning's conversation is with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, dean, Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute.

And joining us in our conversation is Kim Hintzman.

Ms. Hintzman: The Leadership and Management School gets people joining the Foreign Service from all sectors, as well as those already within the Department of State. How many non-career ambassadors join the Service, and how does the school help them to acclimate more quickly to their foreign posts?

Ambassador Bushnell: About one-third of our ambassadors overseas are non-career people, and this has been a tradition since the Founding Fathers created the United States of America. One of the challenges that I have, an absolutely delicious challenge, is running the ambassadorial seminar, which helps people who are going out to be ambassadors, be they from the career service or non-career service, anticipate and plan for what they are going to be doing.

We spend a day with our non-career colleagues specifically orienting them to the culture and the language and the acronyms of the Department of State. And then in the two-week seminar, they interact with their career colleagues looking at some of the issues that are going to be facing them. And my job is to help everybody, both career and non-career, look at what kinds of skills they have gained in their past and how to transfer it to the context of a chief of mission.

Mr. Lawrence: I understand that one of the career tracks that a foreign officer might select is political, where he or she may be asked to promote democracy and the rule of law in developing countries. How does one go about promoting democracy?

Ambassador Bushnell: Easier said than done. You know, for most of us, we tend to think of democracy as a concept and as a theory. For us overseas who have the job of promoting democracy, it is real and tangible. So one of the things that we do is look at what do we mean by promoting democracy, and what is going on in this country in which we are currently located? Democracy essentially is citizen participation. That's one way you can look at it.

Let me take you to Kenya, where I was for three years, and where we went through an election. When we looked at promoting democracy, particularly going up to a presidential election, we were looking at citizen participation. Who's participating? Are women participating? Only 50 percent of the population; very little participation. So when promoting democracy in Kenya, going up, leading up to the elections, we placed a lot of emphasis on working with women, getting women to recognize their political rights, their legal rights, and encouraging them to participate in elections. And in fact, there was a woman who was running for president.

We did a lot of work on election monitoring among Kenyans so that they could monitor their own elections. That was very different from Guatemala, where I next served, where a lot of the issues we were dealing with were rule of law issues. And again, rule of law seems theoretical and pie-in-the-sky. And what we tend to do is to look at, again, the circumstances on the ground to see where can we move in and help create a better system.

One of the things we found, for example, in Guatemala, is there was a great deal of confusion on a crime scene or any scene as to who would do the investigating. The prosecuting attorney's office had investigators and so did the police. The result was that the evidence was often tampered with and was absolutely useless in a trial. Therefore, one of the aspects of promoting rule of law was trying to get the attorney general's office and the police to have a memorandum of understanding about how to treat evidence.

Things that seem, as I say, very theoretical can turn into very, very practical issues. And you take it one step at a time, depending upon the circumstances that you find, and those circumstances are different with every single country.

Mr. Lawrence: What management tools do you use to do that? I was thinking of the example where the two people with the two investigators. I mean, how did they come to figure out there should only be one and one person would be in charge of it?

Ambassador Bushnell: Well, that's very difficult, particularly since the issue was between two branches of the Guatemalan government, and here we are, the gringos, you know, stepping in and saying, okay, why don't you all do it our way. Actually, it's not just a management tool, but it's a training tool. How do you sit down with people and get them to see where the differences are in their approach, where the commonalities are in their approach, and how essentially they can get to yes. And what we did, what I did a lot as ambassador, was essentially facilitating. I do that a lot as a trainer. And I think that the skills of listening, active listening, the skills of finding commonalities are skills that are very important to managers, leaders, and diplomats.

Mr. Lawrence: How about promoting democracy in different cultures? You gave the example where people were unused to perhaps women voting, and working through that. But how about where they have a history of conflict and losing is probably, you know, resolved different ways than sort of acknowledging the winning as we do in elections? How do you promote democracy in a situation like that?

Ambassador Bushnell: It becomes even more complicated, because what conflict does is increase a state of mistrust. And if you think of democracy and participation, it's also power sharing, right? I am sharing in the power with my government. Conflict, on the other hand, is generally viewed as win-lose. I win, you're dead. That is not exactly power sharing, nor is that conducive to the kind of trust necessary for a democracy.

In a lot of countries, the step to promote democracy after conflict is one of reconciliation, where people recognize what happened and come to grips with what happened so that they can then move on and create a democratic culture. And it has worked. If you look at South Africa, for example, it has worked in South Africa. It has worked in Salvador.

In other countries, it's much more difficult. You certainly need, I think, a national consensus that we have got to come to peace with one another. And you need, I think, the leadership that is going to promote the kind of open and transparent systems that allow people to have some trust in the use of those systems.

Ms. Hintzman: Since development issues, environmental factors, and historical context can be so different from one country to the next, how does a Foreign Service officer translate his or her past experiences and apply them to new challenges?

Ambassador Bushnell: There are certain skills that a Foreign Service officer has that can be taught. Language, of course, is one of the most basic ones. Before I went to Guatemala, after my tour in Kenya, I spent two months, eight weeks learning Spanish, six hours a day, one-on-one. There was no place to hide. Now if I felt like speaking Spanish or not, I did. I was very motivated, because I kept having the thoughts of an ambush press conference, and there's nothing like the thought of appearing stupid on television to make you want to learn a language and be a little smart.

So we teach languages as the Foreign Service Institute. We teach all kinds of trade craft courses. What we don't teach and what you can't teach is experience. And I think that people in the Foreign Service learn how to go into a different culture and observe and see what works and where they fit. And that is very, very important and something that you just get as a result of doing it from time to time. In many respects, it comes down to strategic thinking.

Mr. Lawrence: You've talked about promoting democracy and rule of law, sort of taking a very theoretical thing and making it practical. How do you measure the performance of how effective we are at doing those things?

Ambassador Bushnell: By becoming very practical about it. We have a system in the Department of State of starting with strategic goals and moving them all the way down to performance indicators. So every single embassy overseas and every bureau in the Department of State has a program plan which is created and reviewed every year. And from that program plan, employees create their work requirements and their work objectives for the year with the performance indicators tagged to the performance indicators of the mission program plan.

Mr. Lawrence: That's interesting.

Should other organizations establish a Leadership and Management School? We'll ask Ambassador Bushnell for her perspective when The Business of Government Hour returns.

(Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, and this morning's conversation is with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, dean, Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute.

And joining us in our conversation is Kim Hintzman.

Ms. Hintzman: Ambassador, how does the Leadership and Management School measure the success and impact of its programs?

Ambassador Bushnell: I think that's a difficult challenge for anyone engaged in influencing human behavior, because there are so many other factors involved. We always have evaluations immediately after our training events. We often do impact evaluations a few months later, but this is self-reporting. And it's wonderful to get kudos and it's wonderful to hear people say yes, I'm an even better employee than I used to be. Is that true? We start looking at anecdotal evidence to see whether the culture is changing.

The culture of leadership in the Department of State is something that we are promoting, so it is more than simply people's reactions to the training, it is what happens on the job, because that's where it's important. It's great that we deliver a good product, and we do. What I'm interested in is what is happening at work. Are people changing the way they behave toward one another? Are they becoming more effective? Are they creating teams? Are they leading better?

I think that we are seeing some changes, as indicated through conversations we have with our Inspector General, with the people who serve on promotion boards. And I think that obviously, as in any change effort, we have a very long ways to go.

Ms. Hintzman: Do you think the model of the Leadership and Management School should be emulated by other organizations, both in the private and public sectors?

Ambassador Bushnell: I think it depends very much on their population and what they are trying to do. Our training is exceedingly pragmatic. We take people for a very short period of time. We have very focused training that is immediately applicable to their work. We just don't have the numbers of people or the time to spend a great deal of hours on concept. We also have a very smart population, so they get it. So our focus is not just on talking about the importance of listening, that's sort of a no-brainer, but, okay, now you go through the practice of listening--very practical.

That works for us. I think each organization needs to decide for itself what is going to work for its own population.

Mr. Lawrence: My observation is people's perceptions of foreign policy and the role in the U.S. and in global conflicts change over time. Looking back on your career, I'm struck by the fact that 10 years ago, many people dismissed your efforts to keep America's attention focused on the conflict in Rwanda, and today you're being honored for these same efforts. What changed?

Ambassador Bushnell: One of the lessons I find is that I have asked myself the same thing, you never know what you do that is going to make a difference in hindsight. So what I tell a lot of people is if you are in a position of leadership, just do the right thing, because you'll be able to face yourself in the mirror later on; and, who knows, since you don't have any choice as to how you will be judged, do it and you might be judged properly.

I tried to do the right thing on Rwanda. What happened is people looked back as historians, looked back at this extraordinary genocide as political leaders, such as Bill Clinton, looked back on it. They saw that a lack of engagement helped to facilitate people who wanted to murder their fellow citizens, and that made us think twice. And I think if you look at our response to Sudan and our response to Rwanda, you will find a great difference.

Mr. Lawrence: It will probably seem obvious to historians what should have been done, but how hard was it to do the right thing when nobody else seemed to be going along?

Ambassador Bushnell: Well, actually, you know, I have to tell you that for all of the efforts it wasn't just me, there were a number of us who were exploring ways to stop the killing within the parameters of our policy -- we were not successful. We tried to be very, very creative in what we did, because the policy was that we would not provide people or resources to stop the killings. So we were using the press. I was telephoning senior people in the Rwandan government. How much that did, I don't know; I don't think it did a whole lot. But the lesson for me is that you do what you can do. There is just so much we cannot control, but we can control our own behavior. And even if somebody else isn't doing what we think is the right thing, we can do the right thing.

Ms. Hintzman: How do you envision the profession of diplomacy changing five or ten years from now?

Ambassador Bushnell: I think it's going to continue to change as dramatically as it has changed in the past five years. We have gone from a profession that essentially looked at very narrow issues between governments to a profession that deals with an array of complicated subjects: from fighting HIV/AIDS and poverty and promoting democracy; to looking at terrorist financing and helping United States business create new markets with constituencies that become ever more interested and involved in what we do. So now we are not just interacting with governments, we're interacting with nongovernmental communities; we are interacting with business communities, with faith-based communities. Our jobs become far more complicated, the issues become far more complicated, and the numbers of players become far more numerous, which takes me back to where we began. This is why the skills of diplomacy become important, but so do the skills of leadership, because really, every diplomat now has leadership behaviors which will serve him or her well.

Mr. Lawrence: You've had a long career dedicated to public service, so I'd like to ask you to be reflective in this last question. What advice would you give for a young person considering a career in public service, say, in general, and international fields specifically?

Ambassador Bushnell: I would like to see resurgence among young people in public service. I think I mentioned earlier that the quality of a society and of a government to me is directly related to the quality of public servants. Having served in developing countries, I have seen what happens when you do not have, when you cannot depend on a good civil service group. So I would encourage people to join the public service. I looked up the website: usajobs.opm.gov is the website. For federal employment and for international employment in the Department of State, it's state.gov. Go on the website and you will find an array of adventuresome careers awaiting you.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, thank you very much, Ambassador, for squeezing us in your very busy schedule. Kim and I appreciate you joining us this morning.

Ambassador Bushnell: Thank you.

Mr. Lawrence: This has been The Business of Government Hour, featuring a conversation with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, dean, Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute.

Be sure and visit us on the web at businessofgovernment.org. There, you can learn more about our programs and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness, and you can also get a transcript of today's fascinating conversation. Once again, that's businessofgovernment.org.

This is Paul Lawrence. Thank you for listening.

Ambassador Prudence Bushnell interview
11/20/2004
"The issues of diplomacy have become far more complicated. The skills of diplomacy are important, but also skills of leadership. A diplomat’s role is not only to influence one-on-one but to provide leadership to all other government agencies overseas."

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