Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Tough Jobs

January 1, 2009

The top cabinet picks are chosen.  But professor Paul Light in an article for the Washington Post,Low-Profile Jobs That Will Stay That Way, If Obama is Prudent,” highlights ten of the most challenging jobs in the federal government. Each of these positions is further described in the Council for Excellence in Government’s “Prune Book On-Line:”



The Prune Book summarizes over 100 key subcabinet jobs.  Not sure how many of these will be filled from the on-line jobs application (understand there are more than 400,000 applicants so far). 


Are there others you think would be more important than the ones selected by Dr. Light?  He touches on some of the key jobs dealing with healthcare, for example.  But he seems to focus on positions with traditional, longer-term management challenges raised by the Government Accountability Office and recent headlines, but not the seemingly more urgent positions that would deal with the economy, the bailout, or climate change/energy, which seem to be on the top of the Obama Transition agenda.


Transition: IBM Center Special Magazine Issue

December 22, 2008

bog_fall08pubs1Last week I visited with a friend at lunch and had a strange experience!  I’d brought a copy of the IBM Center’s latest magazine to share and left on the table during lunch.  A complete stranger came up and said “Oh, can I get a copy of that magazine?  I really need it!” Then someone a table over said, “Can I get a copy too!?”  This issue has a special section on the transition, which was what was attracting interest.

Well, in case you too are interested, here are the hotlinks to those articles:

Helping the Next Administration Succeed in Washington, by Jonathan Breul.  Management matters, says Breul:  “The transition from campaign to governing requires that presidential policies be transformed from rhetoric into an actionable agenda and then into concrete results. Neither good policies nor sound investments are likely to work, let along succeed, if undermined by poor implementation.”  He goes on to observe that this is difficult both because of the size of the federal government as well as the fact that so much of what goes on must be delegated to others.  He says that having good oversight and controls in place is important, but that a leadership interest in management, and not just policy, is important.

Eight Essential Tools for Achieving Your Goals:  Insights for the New Administration, by Mark Abramson, Breul, John Kamensky, and Martin Wagner.  This essay summarizes the book they co-authored, “The Operator’s Manual for the New Administration.”  They outline the eight tools leaders have at their disposal in every government agency to use to achieve their goals:  leadership, performance, people, money, contracting, technology, innovation, and collaboration.  The book has chapters on each. 

Hubris or Wise Policy?  Early Planning for a Presidential Transition, by Martha Joynt Kumar.  Based on years of study, professor Kumar says presidential candidates need to be prepared to select and vet some 100 top administration officials, staff up their White House, be ready in the first week to issue a dozen executive orders reflecting their social priorities and withdraw ones issued by their predecessors, have ready a speech to Congress on a major policy issue, and decide their budget priorities. Early planning makes all of the difference to the quality of the start a president has once he takes office.  Based on the progress of the Obama transition, it looks like they’ve taken her advice!

What Do (and What Should) Federal Officials Do During a Presidential Transition?, by Bruce McConnell.  This article focuses on the actions of federal officials in four separate phases of the transition: pre-election, post-election, post-inauguration, and post-arrival (of incoming political officials). It differentiates between three types of officials: political officials connected with the outgoing administration, incoming political officials, and senior career civil servants. Finally, it provides some tips for making the transition a success for all concerned.

An Apollo Project for Climate Change/Energy?  History’s Lessons for Future Success, by Henry Lambright. If President Obama wants to launch a massive effort to respond to the nation’s climate change/energy challenges, he can hearken back to large-scale government efforts in the past such as the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Project.  Dr. Lambright’s study of these past efforts offers five success factors for such large-scale efforts:  (1) a consensus-building catalyst for action, (2) a clear and urgent goal, (3) a powerful implementing agency, (4) sustained political will, and (5) exceptional administrative leadership. 

Hope you enjoy your holiday reading!