Step 6: Exerting Leadership

Despite the federal government's solid core of capable employees, it lacks effective leadership and management strategies. In 1992, GAO delivered a stark diagnosis of the situation. Our government, GAO reported, lacks the "processes and systems fundamental to a well-run organization. Most agencies have not created a vision of their futures, most lack good systems to collect and use financial information or to gauge operational success and accountability, and many people do not have the skills to accomplish their missions." This situation, GAO concluded in a burst of understatement, was "not good." See Note 61

The sweeping change in work culture that quality government promises won't happen by itself. Power won't decentralize of its own accord. It must be pushed and pulled out of the hands of the people who have wielded it for so long. It will be a struggle. We must look to the nation's top leaders and managers to break new ground. The President, the Vice President, cabinet secretaries, and agency heads are pivotal to bringing about governmentwide change. It is they who must lead the charge. Under President Clinton's leadership they are determined to make it happen. If we want to make the federal government a better place, our current leadership must make it clear by what we do that, when we offer change, we mean business. That is a promise we must make to the entire community of hardworking, committed federal workers. It is a promise we must keep.

Action: The President should issue a directive detailing his vision, plan, and commitment to creating quality government.

See Note 62 Graham Scott, who as Secretary of Treasury for New Zealand helped shepherd reinvention of that country's government, cautioned Vice President Gore, "Our experience is that government won't change unless the chief executive is absolutely 100 percent committed to making it change." See Note 63 CEOs of corporations the world over echo Scott's call.

The first directive issued along with this report will clarify the President's vision of a quality federal government. It will commit the administration to the principles of reinventing government, quality management, and perpetual reengineering, as well as the National Performance Review's other recommendations. In addition, it will detail the strategic leadership roles of the cabinet and agencies in implementing them.

Action: Every federal department and agency will designate a chief operating officer.

See Note 64

Transforming federal management systems and spreading the culture of quality throughout the federal government is no small task. To accomplish it, at least one senior official with agencywide management authority from every agency will be needed to make it happen.

Every cabinet-level department and federal agency will designate a chief operating officer (COO). In addition to ensuring that the President's and agency heads' priorities are implemented, COOs will be responsible for applying quality principles in transforming the agencies' day-to-day management cultures, for improving performance to achieve agencies' goals, for reengineering administrative processes, and for implementing other National Performance Review recommendations.

The COO will not add an additional position in the secretary's or director's staff. Secretaries and agency directors should designate the deputy secretary or under secretary with agencywide authority as the COO. The COO will report directly to the agency's top official.

Action: The President should appoint a President's Management Council to lead the quality revolution and ensure the implementation of National Performance Review plans.

See Note 65

A new President's Management Council (PMC) will be the President's chief instrument to retool management systems throughout the executive branch. It will act as the institutional lever to drive management and cultural changes throughout the bureaucracy. The PMC will ensure that quality management principles are adopted, processes are reengineered, performance is assessed, and other National Performance Review recommendations are implemented.

Unless everyone understands what a work process is, how to map it, how to analyze and quantify its essential elements, no organization will be able to reap the enormous gains in performance that come with an involved and empowered workforce. Frank Doyle Executive Vice President, General Electric Reinventing Government Summit, Philadelphia June 25, 1993

The President should appoint the Deputy Director for Management of OMB to chair the PMC, and its progress will be overseen by the Vice President. The council will include the COOs from 15 major agencies and three other agencies designated by the chairperson, the heads of GSA and OPM, and the President's Director of Cabinet Affairs (ex officio). Its agenda will include setting priorities, identifying and resolving cross-agency management issues; establishing interagency task forces to transform governmentwide systems such as personnel, budget, procurement, and information technology; and soliciting feedback from the public and government employees. It will secure assistance from the CEOs, officials and consultants who have helped transform major American corporations, states and local governments, and non-profit organizations. In addition, the PMC will conduct an annual performance review of the federal government and issue an annual report to the public on its findings.

Working together, the President, Vice President, PMC and every agency head will carry the quality message into the sleepiest corners of the bureaucracy. Successful and innovative agencies will be cheered; slower moving organizations will be prodded and encouraged until change occurs.

Action: The President's Management Council will launch quality management

See Note 66

However pressing the need, we cannot expect leaders, managers and employees caught up in old ways to change overnight. To nurture a quality culture within government, we must help the entire workforce understand the President's vision. Unless we train everyone in the new skills they need--and help them understand the new roles they are expected to play--they can, through passive or active resistance, frustrate well-intentioned attempts to progress. So first and foremost, everyone will need to learn what working and managing for quality is all about.

The President and agency heads must send a clear message about their commitment by becoming directly involved in the design and delivery of quality training in their agencies. Therefore, the PMC, working with the Federal Quality Institute, will begin quality training with the cabinet secretaries and agency heads. Training sessions will focus on defining a shared vision, developing a strategy to embed that vision in the each department, committing participants to lead and be responsible for change, and establishing a process for training the next level of management.

Even as agencies reorganize around quality and customers, their staff may need training to fulfill expanded job responsibilities. Line staff may need to learn budget and procurement processes. Managers may need help in becoming coaches rather than commanders. We will pursue the goal of reaching the entire federal workforce with quality training.

It is worth noting that some cabinet secretaries already are up on the quality learning curve. During the past few months, more than 60 top field managers, contract lab directors, and assistant secretaries have joined Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary for 6 days of total quality management training at Motorola University in Chicago. They've agreed on a mission statement, set the department's core values, and put strategic planning in motion. In the process, skeptics have become energized, egos have been subsumed, hidden agendas unearthed and dispensed. In the words of one participant, "Everyone is working as a team. We're incredibly excited about doing better. In just 6 days of quality training, we have moved from 'I' to 'we'." See Note 67

Other departments are hot on Energy's heels. Such agency leadership is pivotal to moving quality forward. As quality innovator Dr. Joseph Juran told Vice President Gore, "As we go at it energetically in the federal government... we're still going to see some of the agencies step out in front and everybody else is going to watch. And as they get results and nobody's hurt in the process, others will be stimulated to do the same thing." See Note 68