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Hiring Freeze? Time to Thaw the Organization’s Human Capital Plan

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Hiring Freeze? Time to Thaw the Organization’s Human Capital Plan

Despite the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with it, the Federal hiring freeze may be a forcing mechanism to invest in what the GAO has been asking the Federal government to do for almost two decades now—get better at human capital planning. HR staff and leadership at all levels can benefit from viewing this freeze as an opportunity to take an internal assessment of the programs that present the greatest human capital need. This will further prepare organizations to manage through the workforce reduction plan requested by the January 23...

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The Presidential Transition and Beyond: HR Skills for an Even Stronger Federal Workforce

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

The Presidential Transition and Beyond: HR Skills for an Even Stronger Federal Workforce

With the Presidential transition approaching, change is around the corner for over 4 million civilian and military employees in the Federal government. As in any organization, HR’s function is to support transitions in a way that maintains a ready and productive workforce. The Presidential transition, like other leadership transitions, presents both opportunity and uncertainty. Here are 5 challenges and opportunities for leadership and HR to take on in the coming months. Unsettled Employees amid Change Some people are uncomfortable with...

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3 Keys to Applying for a Federal Job

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Human Resources | 1 comment

3 Keys to Applying for a Federal Job

With more than 2 million jobs, the Federal government is the largest US employer with many thousands of vacancies at any time. The average annual Federal workers compensation, including pay plus benefits, exceeds $124,000, but the competition for those jobs is considerable, and finding the right Federal government job for you can be a daunting journey. It is not for the faint of heart and can be somewhat frustrating. The biggest turn-off for many would-be applicants is the hiring process, which requires patience and persistence. But if you...

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Federal Spotlight Recap: OPM’s Rebecca Ayers and Your Next Career Decision

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Federal Spotlight Recap: OPM’s Rebecca Ayers and Your Next Career Decision

In her Federal Spotlight interview in November, OPM’s Rebecca Ayers shared her insights on a rewarding career and building a satisfying career in the Federal government. My take-aways from her interview: find something rewarding and work with people who share your passions. With September upon us—a time when job search activity increases, job market activity spikes, and our Federal government approaches a new fiscal year in October—Ms. Ayers’s words are relevant for employers and employees alike. If you’re data-driven (like I usually am),...

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Performance Review Season

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Performance Review Season

The national conventions have wrapped up but campaign season is far from over. Everywhere you turn you are inundated with the latest breaking political news…. And maybe a few resurfaced stories. As bogged down as I have become with the flood of politics on the news, in my social media thread, and creeping in to dinner conversations, I have to admit – I like the attention that the “plans” are getting. It may be campaign season for some Feds, but for most of us it is performance review season and the perfect time of year to take stock of your...

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FLSA Update: Overtime Pay

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

FLSA Update: Overtime Pay

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs minimum wage and overtime pay for full and part-time employees in the public and private sector. On May 17, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that will go into effect on December 1, 2016, increasing the salary threshold for overtime pay. It is important for employers and employees to be aware of the new regulations as they pertain to executive, administrative, and professional workers in order to be fully compliant. It is estimated that 4.2 million more salaried...

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Do You Have What You Need for Succession Planning?

Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Do You Have What You Need for Succession Planning?

31 percent of Federal employees will be eligible to retire by 2017. Succession planning is complex, though, and retirement is only part of the picture. Attrition comes from turnover, retirement, promotions, lateral movement, and any number of triggers that shape your workforce. To approach succession planning, here are some tools you need at hand in your organization: Workforce Plan A good workforce plan works in concert with your organization’s strategic plan. The strategic plan outlines the organization’s plan for growth, and the workforce...

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Hiring Excellence: Using Four Hiring Authorities to Attract Top Talent

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Hiring Excellence: Using Four Hiring Authorities to Attract Top Talent

Finding and taking a prospective applicant through an organization’s hiring process is no easy task. So, in what ways can human resource professionals and managers more effectively use the tools at their disposal to attract top talent? Beginning in 2016, OPM’s Hiring Excellence Campaign looks to provide those involved in the hiring process the ability to do just that. One of the major goals of the Hiring Excellence Campaign is to work collaboratively with hiring managers and human resources professionals to ensure that agencies are using all...

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Talent Analytics: 2016 Hot Spots

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Human Resources | 1 comment

Talent Analytics: 2016 Hot Spots

While each HR or human capital department must focus on the needs of their specific agency, in 2016 several factors point to the need for quality data analytics in HR, including the GAO’s 2016 Annual Report on improving efficiency and financial health. Talent Analytics affects HR and human capital strategy and operations in virtually every area, but key ones for the current fiscal year include: Workforce planning. Workforce and competency data are indispensable to the workforce planning process. Ensure the data you use in your workforce...

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What Would It Take for HR to Be a Role Model for Culture Alignment in Your Agency?

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

What Would It Take for HR to Be a Role Model for Culture Alignment in Your Agency?

Undoubtedly, you have heard the expression “HR is a critical strategic partner to the success of a Federal organization.” Yet, in reality, you find many HR policies and practices create barriers and cause extra work for Federal managers and employees each and every day. A recent example is the inability of agencies looking to hire an individual that another agency has already assessed without “starting from scratch.” This situation could change if the House bill sent to President Obama is approved. But in the end, it still may not reduce any...

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How to Recruit and Retain the Best Talent with the 3Rs

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

How to Recruit and Retain the Best Talent with the 3Rs

For Federal HR professionals and managers planning their staffing, there is good news to help you ensure that highly-qualified employees fill key government positions. As of this month, the 2011 spending cap that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) placed on the 3Rs—recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives—has been lifted. Previously, agencies were required to ensure that any 3R spending did not exceed calendar year 2010 levels. This guidance expired at the end of 2015. An...

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Can Federal Agencies Get Ready for HR Tech?

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Can Federal Agencies Get Ready for HR Tech?

The beginning of the New Year is a chance to kick off fresh initiatives that benefit the Federal HR workforce. Emerging HR technologies are focused on supporting individual career development and the Federal government will need to utilize these technologies to remain an attractive option for employment. The following HR technology trends will be important in 2016 and beyond. Focus on at least one option and work towards implementation at your agency to stay ahead of the curve: Predictive Analytics Software, or programs that assist in...

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Strengthen Your Nontraditional HR Skills

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Strengthen Your Nontraditional HR Skills

HR is changing, and organizations are discovering new needs, new functions, and new responsibilities in this field—not that anyone rightly thought it was a field of lessening relevance (though it is sometimes notably and popularly decried). The data revolution, HR’s increased role as strategic business partner, and a fresh emphasis on improving workplace culture have amounted to new opportunities, new responsibilities, and new career arcs for HR professionals. Leaders in Federal agencies and non-Federal organizations alike, in endeavoring to...

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Ask the CHCO: SSA’s Dr. Reginald F. Wells

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Ask the CHCO: SSA’s Dr. Reginald F. Wells

The latest “Ask the CHCO” interview with Dr. Reginald F. Wells, the Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Human Resources of the Social Security Administration (SSA), highlighted Federal workforce management in action. Dr. Wells is the last remaining original member of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council that has championed Federal human capital management efforts such as wellness in the workplace, efficient hiring, and career development. The Council’s mission is to provide a forum for senior management to exchange best practices and...

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How HR Can Support Better IDPs

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Human Resources | 0 comments

How HR Can Support Better IDPs

Although Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are used throughout the Federal government, their usefulness varies greatly based not only on how they are used in the agency but also on the quality of the IDP itself. HR can help managers to change IDPs from an administrative process to an opportunity to improve both individual performance and engagement. HR plays a critical role to evangelizing the IDP process itself and making sure managers see the value. According to the Journal of Personnel Psychology, employees “who develop and...

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Ask the CHCO: GSA’s Antonia Harris

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Ask the CHCO: GSA’s Antonia Harris

Federal News Radio recently interviewed Antonia T. Harris, Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) for General Services Administration (GSA), as part of our Ask the CHCO series. Ms. Harris provides not only a clear roadmap for the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) at GSA, but also for the HR profession in the Federal government. Ms. Harris’s HR philosophy focuses on “understanding the value you add as an individual to the success of the organization.” This is sound advice in any function, but particularly important to HR as HR seeks a...

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The New Meaning of Jobs and Careers

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

The New Meaning of Jobs and Careers

I grew up in a small town in central Florida with an economy driven, in large part, by agriculture – cattle ranching, farming, and citrus growers were the economic backbone of the community. Throughout much of my childhood, the adults I encountered either worked in family businesses where they’d stay for their entire working career, or changed jobs only a few times, staying with organizations for multiple decades. My dad’s work life included only three employers over the span of nearly five decades. I often think about how the impressions of...

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From QUIET to LOUD: Military Personnel Reform

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

From QUIET to LOUD: Military Personnel Reform

A Military Times article published last month reported that the Pentagon is quietly pushing for military personnel reform. While this is an exciting development, I think the push should actually be loud and swift to create the energy and momentum needed to fully rethink and modernize the DoD’s approach to managing military talent. That being said, Acting Undersecretary for Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson’s quiet call for revolutionary change in the human resources practices at DoD is a perfect example of what it means to step...

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Ask the CHCO: FLRA’s Vicki Barber

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Ask the CHCO: FLRA’s Vicki Barber

On this week’s edition of Federal News Radio’s Ask the CHCO series, reporter Lauren Larson interviewed Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)’s Chief Human Resources Officer Vicki Barber. Ms. Barber took her post at FLRA in 2010 at the same time the agency was undergoing a major overhaul of its human capital strategy. In the interview, she discussed some major lessons learned and best practices that have taken FLRA from the bottom of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings to fifth among small agencies. She credits the...

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The Future Generation Workplace

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 1 comment

The Future Generation Workplace

Last Friday, I attended the session, The Future Generation Workplace, led by Mika Cross, Director of Work/Life and Flexible Workplace Strategy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at the Federal Workplace Expo & Training event in Washington, DC. Ms. Cross led a diverse cross-section of Federal HR leaders in an interactive session on what forces are shaping the future of work. The participants shared insights on the workforce trends that are driving change at their organizations. Considering how much change in technology,...

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Analytics.usa.gov and Federal Human Capital

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Analytics, Human Resources | 0 comments

Analytics.usa.gov and Federal Human Capital

As part of Sunshine Week, the General Services Administration’s 18F Team unveiled a new real-time analytics dashboard at https://analytics.usa.gov/ that, according to the site “provides a window into how people are interacting with the government online.” Already, experts are gathering insights from the data that will both inform improvements to Federal customer service and shape the next generation of open data initiatives and dashboards to support data-driven decisions across the Federal government. By now, you might be wondering, why...

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Considerations for Building a Strong Coaching Culture

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Coaching & Mentoring, Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Considerations for Building a Strong Coaching Culture

So you’re thinking about bringing coaching into your organization, but not sure where to start. How do you know what kind of coaching is right? What are you willing to do to make it work? Three coaching modalities are most prominent within organizations, including: External coaches Internal coaches Managers/leaders using coaching skills According to a recent joint report by the International Coach Federation and the Human Capital Institute, Building a Coaching Culture, organizations with strong coaching cultures seek to develop a combination...

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Individual Talent Acquisition Skills Key to Solving the Government’s Recruiting Woes

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Individual Talent Acquisition Skills Key to Solving the Government’s Recruiting Woes

On Monday, The Office of Personnel Management Director, Katherine Archuleta, revealed an ambitious, data-driven approach to “untie the knots” in Federal hiring and recruiting new employees. According to the Washington Post, “Among the problems: Hiring managers often are blocked by rigid rules from hiring talented candidates, Archuleta said. Job seekers send résumés to apply for open jobs, only to hear nothing for months, if at all. Human resources staff members, who do the bulk of hiring, are poorly trained.” As an HR professional, when I...

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Managing the Diverse Needs of Expecting and New Parents in the Workplace

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Human Resources, Leadership, Workforce Management | 1 comment

Managing the Diverse Needs of Expecting and New Parents in the Workplace

A few weeks ago, the President issued a memorandum “Modernizing Federal Leave Policies for Childbirth, Adoption and Foster Care to Recruit and Retain Talent and Improve Productivity.”  These policy changes provide greater flexibility for and support of new parents – both mothers and fathers. Such policies alone, however, cannot create a family-friendly workplace. Leaders and supervisors must take action to imbed a family-friendly culture, especially for expecting and new parents. I was visibly pregnant with my first and then second child when...

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Keep Up the Work with Federal Telework

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

This month’s GSA Inspector General Report on telework does hit GSA on a previously well-served program.  But, while GSA may not be able to report on exactly how many teleworkers it has, we should not discount what is still a viable and helpful program.  Keep in mind, the Telework Enhancement Act was only enacted in 2010, so this is still a new program.  We as a Federal workforce should view this as a learning experience, make necessary changes, and move forward.  Telework is still a beneficial program for agencies and their employees. Read...

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Career Resolutions for You and Your Staff

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Acquisition, Coaching & Mentoring, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Career Resolutions for You and Your Staff

Each January, we all make resolutions with varying degrees of sincerity and dedication. As we get further and further from New Year celebrations, life has a way of creeping in. Achieving lifestyle changes is not solely about exercise or dieting; it should also be about improving your professional competence and positioning yourself and/or your staff for future success. This year, why not try a different resolution? Are you an individual trying to manage your career? Resolve to focus on your career. Ask for the stretch assignment. Explore...

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What to Consider When Starting a Federal Workforce Plan

Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Human Resources, Leadership, Workforce Management | 0 comments

What to Consider When Starting a Federal Workforce Plan

To the Federal Human Capital professional: Workforce planning is must-have skill in advancing your human resources career. Even if you aren’t driving creation of your agency-level workforce planning, understanding the process and how to effectively contribute to it is critical. Even at the division level, however, the workforce planning process can appear to be a huge undertaking. To make it both manageable and effective – as well as headache free – you need to plan out your individual process before you begin. The first step is to really...

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Career Pathing: The Magnificent Seven of Program Development

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

In the Federal Government, career pathing identifies the required competencies, proficiency levels, and General Schedule grades for roles so that employees, their supervisors, and human resource leaders alike can determine transferrable skills, developmental needs and solutions, and potential career movement opportunities including promotion readiness, lateral moves, and other opportunities.” Developing a career pathing program in Federal agencies is best done as simply as possible. In most cases, that means piloting the program with a few...

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Optimizing the HR Function: How the HR Generalist Drives Efficiency

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in Human Resources | 0 comments

A few years ago, I was supporting a major defense contractor in restructuring their HR organization. A key component was developing a bright line between the Human Resources Business Partners (HRBP) and the Human Resources Generalists (HRG). Despite clear definitions of the roles, a leader in one of the divisions insisted that “all my HR staff are strategic business partners.” His principle was that everyone in HR is strategic and everyone partners with the business even if indirectly. On some levels I agree with him. Every HR professional...

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2014 NAPA Fall Meeting Focuses on the Future of Public Administration

Posted by on Nov 13, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Management Concepts will be participating in the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) 2014 Fall Meeting taking place November 13, 2014 in Crystal City, Va. Management Concepts is an Academy patron-level sponsor and the event’s focus is on “Public Administration 2025 – How will Government Adapt?” The event’s theme aligns with our view that the government in the next ten years will look drastically different than how it looks today. With technology, priorities, and the workforce changing considerably, the government must remain...

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Does Anyone Look at Those End-of-Course Evaluations Anyway?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 2 comments

Does Anyone Look at Those End-of-Course Evaluations Anyway?

When you complete an evaluation, do you ever wonder if anyone actually looks at your responses? Do companies take your feedback seriously and make changes based on what you have to say? If they are asking for your feedback, they should review it and take action when warranted. Anyone who has taken one of Management Concepts training courses knows there will be an end-of-course evaluation to complete. Why? It’s good practice to collect students’ feedback on courses they’ve just taken. We collect feedback about the learning experience including...

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Federal Workforce Trends Not So Scary When You Have a Plan

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Coaching & Mentoring, Human Resources, Workforce Management | 0 comments

As GAO reported in its February 2013 High Risk update, agencies must integrate strategic human capital planning with broader organizational strategic planning  to develop the talent, skill, and experience mix required to cost- effectively execute mission and program goals. Most critical to the strategic human capital plan is the workforce planning that informs it. Workforce planning has become so increasingly complex in the Federal Government, however, that it’s scarier than Freddy Kruger reading you a bedtime story. Why is it complex?...

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Effective Mentoring as Part of Phased Retirement: HR’s Role

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Coaching & Mentoring, Human Resources, Leadership, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Implementing OPM’s Phased Retirement program creates a powerful opportunity for HR to drive value and productivity through an agency mentoring program. Moreover, according to OPM, “the main purpose of Phased Retirement is to enhance the mentoring and training of the employees who will be filling the positions or taking on the duties of more experienced retiring employees.” Federal HR professionals can rise to the challenge through a structured process for implementing the mentoring program. Although OPM has yet to write implementation...

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Help Your Federal Team Hit More Home Runs

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Analytics, Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Help Your Federal Team Hit More Home Runs

According to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), performance information’s effect on Federal managers’ decision-making has remained largely unchanged in six years. Despite the increase in the amount, variety, and availability of performance data and analytics tools to drive decisions, performance data’s promise in the Federal Government has not yet been realized. There are many theories as to why this is the case, but I would argue that the shift to data-driven decisions in the Federal Government requires...

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Hedgehogs, Foxes, and the Future of Federal Workforce Planning

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Workforce Management | 0 comments

As reported by the GAO in July 2014, the Federal Government has a pronounced need to create more agile talent management capabilities to address inflexibilities in current systems. How can the Federal Government accomplish this? It’s not about the systems themselves, but rather about the approach to Federal workforce planning. Most agencies plan like a hedgehog, but they need to plan like a fox.  Not following the animal references? Greek poet Archilochus of Paros wrote: “The fox knows many things; the hedgehog one big thing.” He was...

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Forget the Knowledge Management System: Mentoring as Knowledge Transfer

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 1 comment

Ah, the perpetual threat of the Federal retirement wave. First, experts predicted it would come down on us like a “tsunami” in 2012.  Then it didn’t for reasons described by other experts (including myself). Now it’s expected to “skyrocket” in 2017. The good news is that the Federal Government has time to prepare for the brain-drain of boomer retirements. Sounds like a great reason for a large technology project resulting in a shiny new knowledge management system, right? The simple answer is NO. Workers would rather get information from...

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The Value of Project Management Skills and Roles in Federal IT Projects

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Despite the technical improvements made in many Federal IT programs, the Federal IT workforce often still lacks the foundational project management skills necessary for project and program success. Time and again, we see large-scale projects fail. However, with the right project management training, skills, and tools, IT projects can yield effective results. Leadership, communication, understanding of contracts, and the balance of schedule and cost are necessary for project participants to move beyond their assigned tasks and work to solve...

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It’s Time for Your Fiscal New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back more than 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians who made promises to earn favor of the gods and start the new year off right. Today, most New Year’s resolutions represent a chance for individuals to set goals, establish their focus for the coming year, and chart a course to self-improvement and success for the next 365 days. With the end of the Federal Government’s Fiscal Year upon us, I thought it might be a great time to think about another set of New Year’s resolutions —...

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Motivation: Using the Right “Carrots” to Reaffirm Valuable Contributions

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

A Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) study released in 2013 revealed that a mere 21% of Federal employees feel their job has the potential to be highly motivating. In other words, 79% of employees feel little-to-no reason to be motivated based on their jobs. To be clear — this is not about whether employees want to do their jobs, it’s whether employees think their jobs present particularly motivating factors: “Does my job come with good ‘carrots’?” Motivation is critical for engagement, but with limited budgets and a shrinking workforce,...

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How to Make Training “Stick”

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

How to Make Training “Stick”

As summer is ending and kids are going back to school, I was thinking about ways to get the most out of learning. While there are many reasons for attending a training class, most of us take training to meet a certification requirement, or because we need to improve/expand our skills. Just like we tell our kids to do in school, we know that during training, it’s important to take good notes, interact positively with our instructor and classmates, and pay attention to the lessons that are covered. Doing these things will get you through the...

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Workforce Planning Is Key to a High-Performing Future Agency

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

The Federal Government’s most valued resource is its people. At a time when the Government faces what the GAO describes as a “period of profound transition,” management of human resources within the Government has become a key driver of not only achieving mission today but also of positioning agencies to be ready to achieve missions in the future. Despite advances in human capital management in the Federal Government, strategic human capital management has been designated by the GAO as government-wide high-risk area since 2001. Last year the...

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Feedback: Pay it Forward

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

You’ve heard of the expression “pay it forward,” where instead of repaying a favor when a person helps you out, you pay the favor forward by helping someone else when they need it. Well, I couldn’t help but think of this idea as I was recently looking over survey data gathered by a team of my Management Concepts colleagues. Each year we work with many individuals who are either working towards or have recently moved into supervisory roles in their organization, and we were curious to see how prepared they felt to take on their new...

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Does It Make Any Difference?

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Does It Make Any Difference?

From time to time it is important to take stock of why we invest our energy in the things that occupy us.   Birthdays, job changes, and retirements are points where we as individuals commonly reflect and ask “does what I do make any difference?” In early August my colleague, Cleve Pillifant, retired from Management Concepts.  He joins the cadre of senior “‘tweens” who work on occasion a few days or weeks here and there, ‘tween work habits compacted over a career and a complete leisure retirement.   Cleve proudly and irreverently (as is his...

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Is Trustworthiness a Professional Competency?

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 2 comments

Trust as Essential for Engagement According to the 2010 Deloitte Ethics & Workplace Survey, 48% of employees cite loss of trust in the organization as a driving factor in the decision to look for a new job. In a recent Federal News Radio survey, 90% of respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Does the government need to rebuild trust with its employees?” and almost 68% of survey respondents believe lack of trust is causing employees to leave government service. “Trust is a symptom of whether or not employee...

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Levels, levels everywhere and not an ounce of clarity anywhere!

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

About once or twice a year, I find myself sitting in a meeting with clients and colleagues, and I suddenly realize that confusion has ensued without people realizing it. I specifically remember one meeting where, despite that fact that we were all training and learning experts in our own right — we began to talk past each other. The discussion was on “levels.”  A few of us had confused looks on our faces. The discussion continued as each person tried to explain and re-explain the points they were trying to make. After several painful...

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Windshield or Bug? — How to Thrive During Change

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

As both Mary Chapin Carpenter and Dire Straits have pointed out, “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” This isn’t exactly the case with change in organizations because there are inevitably fewer people leading the change than there are people impacted by a change they don’t control. Change management practitioners would emphasize that every individual has influence over whether change is accepted in their organization. From change champions to passive accepters to active resistors, everyone can affect change. In many...

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Start With Goals: Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

With constantly changing technology to keep up with, demands for efficiency and a shortage of millenials entering their ranks, Federal leaders are under more pressure than ever to recruit and retain new talent, and get more from existing employees. The need to optimize talent in the workforce is evident. How do you begin to assess the critical skills gaps in your workforce, and align professional development and training to agency missions and goals? And once you have a vision of what your future workforce should look like, how can you make...

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Supervising a High-Potential Employee and a Lesson From Happy Gilmore

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 1 comment

Leslie was a rock star on the rise . . . until she got fired. We’ve all seen someone with Superman or Superwoman potential, one with extraordinary talents. With eyes closed and one hand tied behind the back, this person can still, somehow, miraculously pull out great results. That’s what Leslie did in her promising career, going from strength to strength . . . until so many relationships internally were so damaged that her boss had to see her out the door. How do you supervise a high-potential employee? How do you help him or her avoid career...

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Having an “HMU” Instead of an Attack

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

A senior leader at a Federal agency I recently worked with was revered throughout the organization, known for his wisdom, excellent communication skills and approachability. When something went bad or wrong with anyone, he would sit down with the person and have an “HMU” conversation. Before explaining what an HMU is, it is important to remember how most conversations go in many organizations when something goes wrong. The conversation often goes badly, evokes negative emotions, defensiveness, hurt feelings, future avoidance and other damage....

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Instructional Games in Government and Industry

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

A growing trend in today’s business learning environments has been moving toward simultaneously teaching and experiencing important ideas through verbal, tactile, and surrogate methods.   In other words, we don’t just describe, display, and observe — we simulate.   Game-based business simulations provide a means for students to perform tasks, demonstrate skills, and also exhibit attitudes in order to create or experience effective approaches in dealing with real or potential situations. The concept and practice of simulations are not...

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Affordable Care Act’s Butterfly Effect

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

In conversation, a friend often mentions the “Law of Unintended Consequences,” which refers to chain-event related outcomes that may not have been foreseen when an initiating action occurred. It is an extension of Chaos theory’s “Butterfly Effect” that suggests unforeseen linkages such as, “When a butterfly in California flaps its wings, weeks later, a typhoon hits Asia.” From a management perspective, this is “Systems Thinking,” the art and science of making reliable inferences about behavior by developing an increasingly deep understanding...

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Be Prepared for IT Leaders Retiring: Start Training Your High Potential Staff Now

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

The aging demographics of the Federal workforce has been apparent for years, and the latest set of data (March 2014) released by OPM show no improvement in the outlook.  In the short term, the government has the benefit of the long years of service and experience of a seasoned workforce. Almost half of the IT workforce is now age 50 and above. Most of these workers are retirement eligible at age 55 or 56, so within a few years, as older workers retire and leave Federal service, so leaves that experience. Funding in the Federal budget for...

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Lesson from the VA: The Role of Culture in Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Recently, failures of service at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been in the news.  Investigators have found that the problems at VA are not occasional occurrences but to quote the Washington Post, the VA suffers from “corrosive culture of employee discontent and management retaliation. “   Unfortunately, organizational culture and workforce development continue to be particularly challenging for many Federal agencies. Federal agencies have always faced unique challenges in workforce development including competition in attracting and...

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I’ll take Cognitive Analytics for $1000, Alex

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Analytics, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

I’ll take Cognitive Analytics for $1000, Alex

One of my fondest memories from my childhood is my family’s nightly ritual of gathering around the TV to watch Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek. I’m still a big fan of the show and when, in 2011, IBM”s Watson took on two Jeopardy champions I was captivated. Having worked on some early efforts to use Natural Language Parsing (NLP) and Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), it was great to see how the technologies had advanced to allow querying of large sets of unstructured data using plain language queries. Watson is just one, impressive, example of the...

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Building Career Pathing Capabilities: A Federal HR Perspective

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in Human Resources | 0 comments

The private sector has latched on to Career Pathing like a teenage girl to a Taylor Swift song. McLean & Co defines Career Pathing as “the process of developing an enterprise-wide … competency-based model for possible employee progression within an organization which maps out the requirements for both vertical progression (promotions) as well as lateral moves (transfers)”. American Express’s Career Pathing Program is lauded in its Best Companies to Work For materials on an international scale. A growing number of consultancies offer to...

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Don’t Forget the Sammies This 4th of July!

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Don’t Forget the Sammies This 4th of July!

I’m not referring to the “sammies” you may be planning for a July 4th picnic celebration, but you can get back to perusing tasty recipes for your holiday menu in just a minute. I’ll be brief. I’m talking about what are referred to as the “Oscars” of government service awards: The Service to America Medals awarded each year by the DC-based Partnership for Public Service. The Sammies recognize “outstanding Federal employees who are making high-impact contributions to the health, safety and welfare of countless Americans and others around the...

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Rock Your Next Federal Job Interview

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

You’ve completed the self-assessment, submitted your resume via USAjobs.gov, and have been selected for an interview. Now what?  Interviewing can be quite nerve-wracking in general, but can be even more so for a Federal job, which is quite different from interviewing with a private firm. Successful planning and preparing in advance will be the key to success… and hopefully an offer for employment. Below are some tips on preparing for a Federal job interview. Before the interview… Prepare Using the Job Announcement: You applied and tailored...

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4 Generation Workforce: Instructional Challenges for Human Resources & Management Leaders

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

“They’ve been called Generation Y. They’ve been called Echo Boomers. They may go by different names, but there’s no debate about their effect on business. They are the fastest growing segment of your employee population. They’ve been trained to use their heads more than their hands to solve problems.  It will take a new set of leadership skills to understand their perspective and motivate them to succeed.”  –  Donald D. Shandler, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President, Graduate and Adult Education, Marymount University, and author of...

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Pop Quiz: How Do You Evaluate Training?

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Recently, I’ve encountered several instances where agencies want to make sure they get what they pay for when training their employees. One method that I’ve observed is giving students a test at the beginning and end of a class. At first glance, this makes sense: Let’s make sure the employees are learning something when we spend our scarce training dollars. To understand the limitations of the before and after test, let’s look at Laura, a GS-9 analyst with ambitions to move up to deputy program manager and eventually to program manager. Laura...

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Elevate Employees to Improve Motivation

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Federal managers know to reward employees who go above and beyond. But what should they do with underperformers—those who can, but won’t? Sometimes the best way to get them up and running is to find out what they need and give it to them. In my upcoming book, 98 Opportunities to Improve Management in Government, I recommend increasing involvement in activities to engage people who don’t give it their all: Some employees will do the bare minimum to get by, but nothing more. You know the type. They are cynics who will work within the outer...

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Lost in Translation: Building Effective HR Partnerships with IT

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Human Resources, Uncategorized | 0 comments

A few weeks back I was participating in a discussion on LinkedIn’s HR & Learning Technologies Forum where the question was raised about whether HR is ready for big data and if it is even relevant for the function. The question sparked an interesting and wide-ranging discussion about the role of “big data” in the HR space. Posts ran the gamut from pointing out organizational successes with HR analytics to assertions that HR isn’t ready to be data driven, and even that data isn’t all that important, since after all people are the main...

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How Coaching Really Worked – At Least in This Case

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Coaching & Mentoring, Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Man, was I ever stuck. I had struggled with this problem, literally, for years, tearing my hair out, frustrated, and increasingly pessimistic about a solution. It was a chance encounter at a coaches’ conference (of all places) when I sat down for lunch with the amazing coach Karen Gravenstine. In less than five minutes, everything shifted. The door opened, and I had cracked the case. Before explaining just what happened, it’s important to focus on one incredibly important aspect of coaching, a feature that, among others, helps give the...

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Walk into Better Management

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

While many are focused on better using technology to achieve mission goals, Federal managers shouldn’t forget that sometimes the best way to know what’s really going on is to get out of the corner office and talk to people. In my upcoming book, 98 Opportunities to Improve Management in Government, I recommend management by walking around:   I highly recommend that you manage by walking around. Such an approach will increase your visibility and give the employees greater confidence in you—if for no other reason than if they see you every...

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Stop Feeling Overwhelmed! Three Questions You Should Ask When Weighing Leadership Development Options

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

The most successful leaders know that you can never stop learning and should continually invest in your professional development. That’s easier said than done these days because there are more options than ever for leadership development and professional services like leadership coaching. While the leadership development landscape was once dominated by commercial providers (ahem, Management Concepts), both public and private universities are furiously entering the leadership development market. The good news is you have a lot of high-quality...

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Assuring Successful Adoption of Business Innovations

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 2 comments

It’s common practice for the government and commercial entities to periodically modify their organization’s reporting structure, business processes, and day-to-day procedures to adapt to the changing needs of the agency or company.  And … it’s human nature to be resistant or hesitant to the accepting the changes, or confused by the new ideas that result from those actions.   Senior leadership tends to introduce the “new ways of doing things” through policies, memos, all-hands meetings, and the all too frequent “word of mouth.”  Although these...

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Employee Performance: Do You See the Big Picture?

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Linda, a supervisor of an eight-person analysis team, went home every night for a week frustrated that her team wasn’t getting the job done. She shared her frustrations with her husband over dinners, “Maybe this team just doesn’t have what it takes. Charles and Kelly don’t seem to understand some of the analyses we do. And, Jose and Pat just seem apathetic most of the time.” Linda’s husband asks, “Wait, didn’t you invest a lot in training those four last year? Remember how many dinners I ate alone because you were doing their work while they...

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Take It Personnelly: Crisis Communications in HR

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

On the day Mary Bara was promoted to CEO of GM, I happily tweeted a congratulatory message and spent some time fantasizing about being the first female Motor City CEO. I admit a large part of that may be my fantasy about having a 1967 Chevrolet Impala just like Dean Winchester’s, but there also exists a desire to see women in the driver’s seat of a Detroit car company (insert groan for the horrible pun.) I was not, however, thinking about running a company that was hiding a product defect that resulted in the deaths of 13 people and the...

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Bounce Up When You Can’t Bump Up: Strategies for Getting Ahead in the Federal Government

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 1 comment

Are you ready for a promotion, but know there won’t be an opening for you until Hilary’s grandchild is old enough to run for President? Given the shrinking size of the Federal workforce, the budget constraints on filling open positions, and lack of retirements from baby boomers, opportunities for promotion in your current division or even your current agency may appear non-existent. As discussed in an earlier blog, this results in the need for members of the Federal workforce to view a career as a lattice rather than a ladder. In plain...

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Use the Active Voice for More Impactful Writing

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

We often lessen the impact of our writing by using the passive voice. In The Government Manager’s Guide to Plain Language, I offer some very practical guidance and examples that illustrate how government managers can add directness and impact to their communications, both with their staff and with the public. Give it a try with something you’ve written recently. See the difference? PREFER THE ACTIVE VOICE In an active sentence, the person or agency performing an action is the subject of the sentence. In a passive sentence, the person or item...

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Not Just Phoning It In: HR’s Role in Supporting Agency Telework

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 3 comments

I attended the Federal Workplace Training and Expo recently. There were many great presentations, but my favorite by far was by Mika Cross from OPM on the topic of telework. I was not surprised to hear that 32% of teleworkers participate in telework three or more days a week. I was surprised, however, to learn that 12% of Federal workers have not been notified of their telework eligibility and 24% of Federal Agencies still do not have a telework policy in place to meet the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. (You can learn more about the act...

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Can You Handle the Truth?

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

There is an infamous scene in the movie “A Few Good Men” where Jack Nicholson’s character responds to constant questioning about the truth with a legendary outburst. “You can’t handle the truth!” he shouts to Tom Cruise’s character. This scene reminds me of coaching, but not in the way you might think. As coaches, it is not our job to goad our clients into acknowledging their situation the way Tom Cruise’s character does in the courtroom. In fact, as coaches, we do not necessarily even know what the truth of a particular client’s situation...

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Assess Before You Diagnose

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

I opened my copy of Performance Improvement recently and was excited to read “An Ounce of Good Assessment is Worth A Pound of Analysis and A Ton of Cure” by Roger Kaufman. It is only natural for managers and executives to diagnose their organizations. They want quick answers. The sooner they can figure out what is causing a problem, the sooner they can focus on getting “real work” done. When I go to the doctor, I am the same way. I’ve already Googled my symptoms and think I know what’s wrong. I don’t want to spend time talking about the...

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Is It Time for a Training Line of Business?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Reducing budgets and increasing efficiency is standard fodder these days in all discussions about Federal Government operations. Whether discussions focus on government civilian pay and pay systems, retirement contributions, veterans’ benefits, redundant and overlapping programs, or Federal real estate, the need to improve return on investment and reduce spending is a pervasive theme. For more than a decade, the Federal Government has been introducing line of business (LOB) initiatives to reduce redundancy and increase process and system...

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Is ILT Dying?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Yes, ILT (instructor-led training) is dying, but we need not mourn its loss. Instead, we should realize we are standing on the brink of something exhilarating: the reincarnation of instructor-led training as virtual instructor-led training (VILT). The traditional brick-and-mortar ILT classroom has been smoldering for a while now. As federal travel budgets shrink and training dollars dry up (although the future of training is looking up), organizations are seeking alternatives to fill their training needs. Organizations are continually looking...

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GSA Uses the Cloud to Smash Barriers

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

The term road block is synonymous with barrier for a reason. Perhaps that’s what inspired the General Services Administration (GSA) to look to the cloud to overcome communication barriers as they move toward a hoteling model for their office workspaces. As discussed in The 77 Deadly Sins of Project Management, if your project hits a barrier—anything that restrains or obstructs progress or access—that means there is something coming in between you and the success of your project. As project managers, it is our duty to remove barriers to keep...

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Tips for Government Managers to Overcome Writer’s Block

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Whether writing a business plan, memo, or report, one of the hardest tasks government managers face in writing is getting started. In my recent book, The Government Manager’s Guide to Plain Language, I offer some  tips to help you break through the writer’s block we all experience—and also to help you make an initial assessment of what you have written before passing it along for editing and review.   TIPS FOR WRITING DRAFTS To make the draft stage easier and more productive, consider the following steps: • Once you have a complete...

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Are You Leading in a Hostile Workplace?

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 4 comments

The recent controversy over hostile workplaces in the National Football League (NFL) should have each franchise owner taking a hard look at his or her organization, and serves as a great leadership fishbowl from which the rest of us can learn. For those not following the situation, rookie hazing has had tacit approval in the NFL since its inception. Earning the right to interact with teammates as a peer comes at a price in the NFL. Rookies are expected to entertain veteran players, run errands for them, and as we learned from the Miami...

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Trying Times: Leading With Emotionally Intelligent Communication

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Emotional intelligence matters almost all the time, but one time it really matters is when any doctor, including a vet, is giving really bad news. After 11 great years, our beloved Corgi dog, Lily, was dying. Her fatal condition came on very suddenly. As my wife and I sat in the vet’s office processing this news, I could not help but notice the compassionate communication and emotional mastery the vet and her assistant practiced in helping us understand and deal with this sad news. When at work we teach emotional intelligence, we talk about...

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How Do You Know When You’ve Closed the Gap Between Strategic Goals and Workforce Capabilities?

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

One of the recurring questions I hear from clients on a regular basis is: “How can we measure the success of our learning and performance improvement solutions?” For years, training and learning professionals have wrestled with evaluations of training effectiveness, return on investment, and impact on the business. Frameworks like Kirkpatrick’s four-level model and Phillips’s five-level evaluation provide an established structure for gathering metrics to evaluate training success. But, with the increasing digitization of training and growth...

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Contract Negotiation: The Ambiguous Authority Tactic

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management, Uncategorized | 0 comments

In The Government Manager’s Guide to Contract Negotiation, author LeGette McIntyre offers federal negotiators a host of tactics they can use to get a solid, fair deal for their agency. One of these tactics is the “ambiguous authority” tactic—which we’ve all been subjected to when we’ve bought a car! How do you employ the tactic to get the best deal for the government? Share some experiences with your colleagues and we’ll all be better prepared for the next negotiation!   THE AMBIGUOUS AUTHORITY TACTIC You can use the ambiguous authority...

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What Can You Learn About Mentoring From the Game of Tennis?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Here’s a mentoring tip, borrowed from the world of tennis. In tennis, the mantra is that if you want to get better, you should play against people a little better than you. (Not a lot better, because you get smoked 6-0 and that’s just demotivating.) The reason playing against people a little better than you is so important is that in doing so you start to notice moves you would not have made. The other person is playing a different, better game. It has been said that all the best moves are stolen.At work, I recommend identifying people who...

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Will 2014 Be the Year of Employee Value Proposition in Federal Government?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Like many of my colleagues in the human capital, training, and leadership development fields, I enjoy reading the many articles that pop up across the web discussing the current state of the industry. As I think back about the themes and trends I noticed throughout 2013, one of the most common seems to be the looming critical talent shortage organizations will face in 2014 and beyond.  In fact, Josh Bersin predicted that 2014 will be the year of the employee, boldly proclaiming that “The war for talent is over, and the talent won.” Of course,...

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Mentoring: Something to Celebrate

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Did you know that, in addition to being National Blood Donor Month, January is also National Mentoring Month? For those of you already in the know, that’s awesome. For everyone else, consider yourself warned. Mentoring is making a comeback in leadership development, and for good reason. Jumping on the bandwagon could change your professional life or the trajectory of your organization. And, there is no needle involved. Promise. Mentoring has been around forever if you think about it. The term “Mentor” comes from Greek mythology and has been...

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Sometimes Smaller is Better: Starting an HR Analytics Program

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Analytics, Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Sometimes Smaller is Better: Starting an HR Analytics Program

Last week, I blogged about the emerging skillsets required in the HR function for introducing analytics and data driven decision making to the HR practice. Even with the right team in place, it can be daunting to launch your first analytic study. Much has been said about the importance of data driven decision making for HR. The early results suggest that organizations who are adopting data analytics to support HR decisions are reaping the benefits. However, as the resources available to government agencies continue to be stretched thin,...

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Are You Ready for Data-Driven Decision Making in HR?

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Analytics, Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Are You Ready for Data-Driven Decision Making in HR?

A few weeks back, Management Concepts released the white paper Federal HR Trends in FY14, our take on the five trends we believe will shape the Federal human resources and human capital space this year.  In this blog, we’ll explore the third item on our list: Data Analysts in HR. It’s not news that the rise of big data is a leading story in the field of human resources or that the push for HR departments to embrace data driven decision making strategies is a major focus across the industry. Much has been said about the importance of analytics...

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Make Peace with Change and Focus on Building Resilience

Posted by on Jan 3, 2014 in Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Management Concepts recently identified 5 Essential NEW Leadership Habits for Federal Leaders. The second item on that list is “Make peace with change and focus on building resilience.” It was not so very long ago that many people in organizations sought to minimize risk, preserve the status quo and even get by until retirement. That strategy worked, in a sense, so long as the going was good. Today, it is a very different story. Beset with change, disruption, technological and social transformation, and rising demands for results, practically...

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Play Dumb to Get What You Want: The Question Tactic in Negotiation

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Play Dumb to Get What You Want: The Question Tactic in Negotiation

Negotiation skills aren’t just for entrepreneurs on Shark Tank. Federal managers can also benefit from mastering these valuable skills. In The Government Manager’s Guide to Contract Negotiation, LeGette McIntyre offers some very specific tactics that could help any fed facing a tough negotiation. Here’s a great example from the book that McIntyre calls “The Question Tactic.” Try this in your next meeting and let us know your results. THE QUESTION TACTIC In any negotiation, knowledge is power. You increase your power relative to the other side...

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The Workplace Wisdom of Christopher Robin

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Financial Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were finally getting around to cleaning out the coat closet when we stumbled on our kids’ baby books. As we leafed through the pages of memories, I ran across a snapshot of my son carrying a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal.  I was reminded of how central Winnie, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and the rest of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood were for several years of our lives.  Thinking back on that time, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes when Christopher Robin said to Pooh, “Promise me you’ll...

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What’s in a Name? Human Resource Business Partners v. Human Resource Generalists

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Human Resources | 1 comment

Recently, Management Concepts released Federal HR Trends in FY14, our take on the five trends we believe will shape the Federal human resources and human capital space in the coming year.  Let’s take a moment to contemplate the first item on our list:Bright lines between Human Resource Business Partners, Human Resource Generalists, and Line Managers I recently participated in a Twitter chat session that included a question about whether an MBA or an MS in HR was more useful to an HR professional. My response, which was seen as controversial...

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A First (Quick) Look at the 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Human Resources, Leadership, Uncategorized | 2 comments

The 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results are out. There are thousands of ways you can slice and dice the data, but for instant analysis, let’s look at a few key points. First, the results overall are showing the toll of pay freezes, sequestration and furlough concerns, reduced training and everyone having to do more with less. Positive responses to a majority of the questions declined; a phenomenon that started last year. There was a significant drop in employee satisfaction. Second, in what I call the 80% club – critical mass in...

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New Whitepaper: Federal HR Trends in FY14

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Attention human capital and HR professionals, check out the latest whitepaper from Management Concepts: Federal HR Trends in FY14.  In addition to managing your organization’s human capital, HR pros are also tasked with handling the human consequences of uncertainty driven by the political environment.  In such a rapidly changing environment, what can you do to stay effective in your role?  Prepare for the latest HR trends.  HR practitioners should start educating and training their teams now to get ready for these 5 upcoming trends:...

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Dispelling the Retirement Wave Myth: It’s an Undercurrent, Not a Wave

Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Human Resources, Leadership | 1 comment

For years now Federal human capital  and human resources practitioners have been told human resources horror stories about the retirement wave: “Nobody go into the barn, the boomers are all in there retiring!” In most Federal organizations, however, it’s just not happening. We know it’s coming, but more like a herd of “walkers” way off in the distance in “The Walking Dead” that is out there but never seems to approach us. (It’s Halloween, thus the scary movie references.) Of course, organizations with mandatory retirements face challenges as...

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Management Concepts Introduces Eight New Training Courses Designed for the Federal HR Professional

Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Management Concepts recently introduced eight new courses for federal human capital professionals.  These courses help federal HR professionals become strategic partners within their agencies and accomplish their human capital missions.  In addition to the six SHRM developed courses already offered by Management Concepts, these new courses greatly enhance a growing suite of Federal HR training.  See the press release below:   Tysons Corner, VA (PRWEB) August 15, 2013 Management Concepts Inc., the nation’s leading provider of effective...

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Thought Bubble: “Blah, Blah, Blah”

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

As leaders and HR professionals, we frequently have the amazing opportunity to work with our clients on their improving their leadership skills. Maintaining a strategic focus, treating the people well, and meeting or exceeding business results are leadership indicators that most leaders would agree are vital to their success. I’ve had the opportunity to hear Pat Donahoe, Postmaster General for the United States Postal Service, speak on several different occasions. Whenever he opens the floor for questions, people inevitably ask him the same...

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5 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Psyche

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Human Resources, Leadership | 0 comments

Spring has sprung early this year. From the rescheduling of the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC, to the record setting pollen counts in Atlanta, no one can argue that Mother Nature decided to exit her Winter hibernation a bit sooner than usual this time around. And with Spring comes a few rituals that we’ve come to embrace over the years: the Easter Egg hunt on the White House grounds, the Spring practices of college and pro football teams, longer days and shorter nights, and all the other outdoor activities that we associate with warmer...

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What Should I Know About You?

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Human Resources | 0 comments

As an HR Development professional, I get the opportunity to meet a variety of people in a variety of settings. My work has taken me to almost every state in the US, as well as a handful of countries in Western Europe. These opportunities always present me with experiences that I learn from on many levels, not the least of which is how people view themselves, how they introduce themselves to others, and how much they share. One of my recent favorite ice breakers (yes, I hear the collective groan out in the blogosphere), is to have participants...

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Achtung!

Posted by on Apr 3, 2012 in Human Resources | 1 comment

Many of you probably recognize the German word for “attention.” Did I just capture yours? How long did I keep it? What’s important to you about “attention?” Why do I keep asking you rhetorical questions? How many more questions will I ask? Hmmm… I recently attended a webinar. The topic of the webinar had intrigued me, and I had never heard one from the organization presenting it before. So I dutifully registered and looked forward to seeing (and hearing) a new perspective on the topic at hand. About five minutes into the webinar, the...

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From Bedtime Stories to Workplace Stories: 3 Tips to Harness the Power of Storytelling

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Human Resources | 0 comments

The little boy fidgeted in his bed. Surrounded by his stuffed animals and his achievement trophies, he eagerly anticipated the brightest spot in his day. In fact, it was the brightest spot in almost all of his days, though he probably didn’t realize it at the time. It was the moment when his grown up majestically entered his room, book in hand, and sat beside him, snuggled in among his stuffed animal friends, and began the adventure. The adventure took them on different places every night. From tales of princes and princesses in faraway...

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The Unexpected HR Professional

Posted by on Mar 21, 2012 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Many HR departments in the Federal Space find themselves, just as with many private sector companies, in a desire to become true business partners with the clients they serve. They want to have a voice in planning and co-crafting the future of the agency. From workforce planning (ensuring the best talent is available to continue the mission of the agency) to succession planning (ensuring the agency has groomed a pool of talent to fill key roles and positions for the future), HR professionals are often able to provide invaluable expertise to...

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Of Service to Whom?

Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in Human Resources | 0 comments

As HR professionals in the government sector, we often times have many competing commitments. We have to keep abreast of what seems like never-ending changes to rules and regulations that govern our industry. We have to balance the work we must do, with the work we want to do. We want to provide assistance and service to our clients, and we want to further the mission of the agency. But at the end of the day, what is it that makes us want to do the best job possible? What is IT that has caused us to choose a career in the field of human...

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Transitioning Private Sector Employees into the Government: Things to Remember

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Human Resources | 0 comments

There’s an ancient proverb that says: “May you live in interesting times.” Given the turbulence of the economy, the changing demographics of the workforce and the overwhelming amount of talent that HR professionals now have to pick and choose from to fill their government jobs, our times are proving interesting, indeed. One of the newer wrinkles emerging during our “interesting times” is the movement of many private sector employees into government positions. For many, government jobs may represent a sense of stability and job security that...

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A Different Kind of EKG

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in Human Resources, Leadership | 2 comments

There are scores of helpful courses, articles and books by multiple firms on how to lead during times of change. (Full disclosure: the company I work for is one of those firms.) Many of these resources focus on strategy and tactics, while others focus more on the human emotions that leaders must also pay attention to. Thankfully, that human side of leadership and change seems to be gaining more attention. This is good news for the workplace, and quite possibly, the world as we know it. Change seems to be the rule more than the exception,...

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The Role of Fairness in the Workplace

Posted by on Jun 4, 2010 in Human Resources | 0 comments

The opportunities for leadership to offer fair and equitable treatment to the people they lead within their organizations is rich, open to offer on a daily basis. But, does the average leader take the opportunity to focus on fairness? Or are they so focused on achieving the task within their business units they only look at who can get the job done in a timely manner? What each person deems fair in the performance of their jobs is interpreted differently depending on the perspective of who is viewing the situation, what is at stake, what the...

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