A friend called me last week asking if President Obama had yet developed his “management agenda.” I said, “no,” that it may be too early, but in any case there were a number of other initiatives underway. Almost as if in response, President Obama used his weekly radio address this past weekend to recap a whirlwind of initiatives launched over the past couple of weeks. He started with the announcement of a lost of a total of 4.4 million jobs since the recession began, resulting in the highest unemployment rate in a quarter of a century. His address centered on five areas:
Economy. He talked about his economic agenda: The passage of the Recovery Act, which he says will expand broadband, roads, wind turbines, and mass transit. He also announced a plan to unfreeze credit availability to individuals and to allow lenders to help borrowers to restructure their mortgages.
Budgeting. He talked about his drive to change the way Washington does business, saying “We cannot waste money. We will cut where we must, and invest where we need.” He said he inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, the largest in U.S. history, and a budget process that he described as both irresponsible and unsustainable. He said he would “reduce discretionary spending for non-defense as share of the economy by more than 10 percent over the next decade.” He said this would be the lowest level since record-keeping started more than half a century ago.
Contracting. He said he signed a directive last week that would ban no-bid contracts where possible, and dramatically reforming how contracts are awarded. He said this would save $40 billion a year.
Healthcare. He also talked about his Healthcare Summit, where the goal is to create quality, affordable healthcare.
So maybe, after his first 100 days in office, we’ll not see the more traditional “management agenda,” but rather a “performance agenda,” of things that need focused attention on implementation, not management capacity building. . . . .