Here are three interesting links to stories from the past week:
Marc Ambinder, a blogger for The Atlantic.com, reported on July 24th: ”Obama Team Begins Work on Presidential Transition.” People following how good transition work probably breathed a sigh of relief that at least one candidate is beginning to think about the complexity of moving from campaigning to governing. Of course the various people named as being involved all declined to comment!
The Washington Post’s David Broder editorialized in his July 27th column on “Management 101 for Senators.” He pointed out that senators typically do not have executive management experience and are unfamiliar with the mechanics of how a White House works. He recommends an upcoming new book, by Brookings scholar Brad Patterson, which is an office-by-office guide to how the Executive Office of the President is organized, with historical background on each office. The book was first published in 2000. I found it to be invaluable in understanding the internal operations of the White House. However, it excludes some key functions in the Executive Office, such as the Office of Management and Budget, that will be important to understand in the overall context of how to govern. The 2008 version isn’t actually available yet, but will be worth waiting for!
This past week’s issue of Federal Times published an op-ed by Paul Lawrence, a vice president at Accenture, entitled: “The Next Administration Should Let Agencies Lead Reform.” He observes that over the past 16 years, management reforms have been led out of the White House and that it’s time to consider :an agency-specific approach in which agencies take the lead in assessing what reforms are needed within their own organizations.” He recommends that the White House ask each new agency head to prepare a management improvement plan and hold them accountable for what they promise to deliver. Lawrence says that this should create a more collaborative working relationship among agencies and be focused on improving services and results to Americans, not be as focused on internal agency management fixes.