Advice to Chief Operating Officers: Connect the Dots!
It is not clear if the Obama Administration is providing strategic advice to agencies on how to cope with the various management initiatives it has underway or is in the process of launching, but the newly-redesignated Chief Operating Officers in departments and key agencies should quickly see the connections among them, and leverage them to their advantage.
The typical response by most agencies when a new initiative comes out of the White House is to assign someone to prepare the response plan. A dozen initiatives would equal a dozen staffers tagged with coming up with a response. Open Government Plan? Appoint an Open Government lead staffer. An Administrative Flexibility Plan?
Appoint an Admin Flex officer, etc. Oftentimes, this is reinforced by different offices in OMB or the White House being tasked with leading the different initiatives, as well.
But that would be a mistake, especially in today’s cost-conscious environment. There’s a lot of opportunity for synergy among the various initiatives and there should be a lot more commonality in approach. Where are there opportunities for collaboration?
Following is a list of White House and OMB initiatives that would seem to benefit from an integrated strategy. This list, plus the Jeff Zients’ six Accountable Government Initiatives, might be a useful self-assessment checklist on how well their agencies are connecting the dots:
GPRA Modernization Act Implementation:
- Statute: “GPRA Modernization Act of 2010,” P.L. 111-352
- Initial Guidance: OMB Memorandum: “Delivering on the Accountable Government Initiative and Implementing the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010,” (April 4, 2011)
- Additional Guidance: pending
- Hold an Agency Priority Goals Review by: June 30, 2011
- List of current (FY 2011) Agency High Priority Performance Goals
- Agency/OMB Leads: Agency Performance Improvement Officers are to be formally named by June 1. Here’s the current list.
- OMB point person: Shelley Metzenbaum.
Open Government Initiative.
- Presidential Memorandum: “Transparency and Open Government,” (Jan. 21, 2009)
- OMB Memorandum: “Open Government Directive,” (Dec. 8, 2009)
- Link to Agency Websites and Plans: Open Government Dashboard
- Agency/White House Leads: Agency leads have been designated to the governmentwide “Open Government Working Group.”
- White House point person: Chris Vein, in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Reorganizing the Government
- Presidential Memorandum: “Government Reform for Competitiveness and Innovation” (Mar. 11, 2011)
- Public Comment: Website (closed for comments on April 15, 2011)
- Plan due to President: June 9, 2011
- OMB point person: Jeff Zients; White House point person: Lisa Brown
Administrative Flexibility Initiative.
- Presidential Memorandum: “Administrative Flexibility, Lower Costs, and Better Results for State, Local and Tribal Governments,” (Feb. 28, 2011)
- OMB Guidance: “Implementing the Presidential Memorandum, “Administrative Flexibility, Lower Costs, and Better Results for State, Local and Tribal Governments,’” (Apr. 29, 2011)
- Agency Plans: due August 29, 2011
- Agency Leads: to be designated by June 1, 2011
- OMB point person: Vivek Kundra, with OSTP point person: Aneesh Chopra
Service Delivery and Customer Service Initiative.
- Executive Order: EO 13571 “Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service,” (April 27, 2011)
- OMB Guidance: Pending
- Agency Plans due to OMB: Oct. 24, 2011
- OMB point person: Katie Malague
Plain Writing Initiative.
- Statute: Plain Writing Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-274)
- OMB Guidance: “Final Guidance on Implementing the Plain Writing Act of 2010” (April 13, 2011)
- Agency plans due to OMB by: July 13, 2011
- Agency “Senior Officials for Plain Writing” to be designated by: July 13, 2011
- OMB point person: Cass Sunstein
Regulatory Review Initiative.
- Executive Order: EO 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”
- OMB Memorandum: “Executive Order 13563: “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” (Feb. 2, 2011)
- Agency plans due to OMB by: May 13, 2011
- Agency leads to be designated: to be discussed in agency plans
- OMB point person: Cass Sunstein
Energy Efficiency Initiative.
- Executive Order: EO 13514 “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance,” (Oct. 5, 2009)
- General Guidance: FedCenter Site
- Agency point person: Agency Senior Sustainability Officers
- White House point person: Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive, Council on Environmental Quality
IT Management Reform Initiatives.
- OMB Guidance: “25 Point Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management,” (Dec. 9, 2010)
- CIO Council Toolkit: Link
- Agency leads are their Chief Information Officers, who comprise the governmentwide Chief Information Officers Council.
- OMB point person: Vivek Kundra
Use of Governmentwide Problem-Solving Networks.
These problem-solving networks (either planned or in action) have the ability to help tie together cross-agency initiatives or surface best practices. These are in addition to the existing management councils sponsored by OMB:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There are other initiatives that may or may not fit into an overall grand scheme for integrating management initiatives, such as the Civilian BRAC property realignmentinitiative, the Improper Payments initiative, the Telework initiative, Labor-Management Forums, and the Hiring Streamlining initiative.
What else do you think is missing and should be added to the list, and do you have any updates or corrections to the list above?
Graphic Credit: U.S. Department of Transportation