This year, I attended the ASPA National Convention in Seattle. One panel was several members of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) raising the question of what advice should they provide to the new administration and Congress. One of the commentators lamented how do you get them to read it. Forget a stack of… Read More Returning to a Government of Competence
If you answered yes, congratulations. You’re having fun! If you answered no, congratulations. You’re part of the global and national workforce that is the majority. So how do you create a happy workplace? The blindingly obvious answer is, “To have a happy workplace, get rid of the unhappy people.” There’s a lot of truth in… Read More Is Your Organization Happy?
Does this scenario sound familiar? Jack’s agency was targeted by a Congressional subcommittee for failing to deliver results. To show improvement, the agency director dictated each division would send a team of a midlevel managers to a two-week seminar, “Delivering Results through Innovative Leadership.” With airfare, lodging and meals, and conference fee, Jack’s division invested… Read More Leadership and Supervisory Training: A Waste of Time and Money?
Fire Captain Thomas Atkins slapped at his coat, fending off the morning chill of Boston’s winter. Internally, he felt excitement, anticipation and perhaps a bit of apprehension as to this endeavor. On this January day in 1678, he stood before 12 men and their recently acquired fire “engine,” ready to serve as the colonies first… Read More Manage Costs for Mission Success
I’m in a quandary. Here’s why. Do the people in public organizations, especially at levels that interact with elected officials, have a responsibility to tell the electorate about the elected official’s performance while in office? While serving in the military, the answer was no. While serving as a director of a local government agency, I… Read More What Say You?
Last month, I discussed Washington State’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The enabling legislation focused on state requirements for the licensing of production, processing and retail sales. It ignored the fact that these operations occur in counties and cities with their own ability to promote or deny such operations. The state’s failure to take a holistic… Read More A Failure to Coordinate = Citizen Ridicule (Part 2)
In November 2012, with one of the highest election turnouts, Washington State voters legalized recreational marijuana. Though the initiative passed 55 percent to 45 percent statewide, the measure failed in 19 of Washington’s 39 counties. The excitement over the decriminalization of marijuana generated a new industry, with job opportunities and revenue sources via sales and… Read More A Failure to Coordinate = Citizen Ridicule
The weekly staff meeting is in five minutes. As usual, “better citizen service” tops the agenda. You’ve heard the spiel so many times you now lip sync its delivery. Your eyes closed and lips ready, the meeting begins. “This man left his three sons 17 camels. The first son gets half. The second son gets… Read More The Power of TWT
Reminiscent of the 1828 presidential election (John Quincy Adams vs Andrew Jackson), this year’s presidential campaign is reality television at its best while disruptive to our “established” electoral sensibilities. Mr. Trump’s “unpresidential,” theatrical demeanor aside, he has demonstrated a very valuable and worthy lesson for public administrators at all levels of government – disruptive innovation.… Read More Follow Donald Trump’s Lead – Use Disruptive Innovation
Professional public servants should be disheartened by the above survey results. Conducted in October 2015 and reported nationally by Time, the people we serve … fear us? In November 2015, Pew Research Center released Samantha Smith’s “6 key takeaways about how Americans view their government.” While public trust is at a historic low, Americans believe… Read More Can Public Administrators Dispel American Fear of Government?