Monday, July 30, 2007

Managing a government agency

I sent a colleague who was appointed to a government post a copy of this essay on my attempt to actually manage after teaching the subject for over a decade. This is also in my textbook.

The government presents a unique challenge to any manager because it has ... few metrics to gauge its performance, and no sticks and only small carrots to align the incentives of employees with the goals of the organization. In addition, government employees are lifetime civil servants, with better information than the political appointees who manage them and strong ideas about what the government should be doing. They can easily outlast the appointees who seem to come and go every few years or so.

Here is my bottom-line advice:
  1. Develop goals--without them you cede control of the policy agenda to your InBox. ...Be as specific as possible with timetables and measurable benchmarks.
  2. Constantly monitor progress toward your goals.
  3. If the organizational structure is broken, fix it. Otherwise, respect the structure you have...If you jump over your managers to get involved in specific matters, you are implictly telling them that you don't think they are capable of doing their assigned jobs.
  4. Finally, manage yourself. Don’t let your InBox run your life...

No comments:

Post a Comment