To change the employee culture in government, to bring about a democracy of leadership within our bureaucracies, we need more than a leap of faith. We need a leap of practice. We must move from control to collaboration, from headquarters to every quarter. We must allow the people who face decisions to make decisions. We must do everything we can to make sure that when our federal workers exercise their judgment, they are prepared with the best information, the best analysis, and the best tools we have to offer. We must then trust that they will do their best--and measure the results.
Indeed, we must let our managers and workers fail, rather than hold them up to public ridicule when they do. Only if they fail from time to time on their way to success will we be sure they are even trying to succeed. Someone once asked an old man known for his wisdom why he was so smart. "Good judgment comes from experience," he said. And experience? "Well, that comes from bad judgment." To transform the culture of our government, we must learn to let go. When we do, we will release the same kind of creativity, energy, productivity, and performance in government service that was unleashed 200 years ago, and that continues to guide us today.