Changing Government Event with NAPA and Federal Change Agents
You may have seen or heard some of the buzz about our recent event on “Changing Government.” We celebrated Public Service Recognition Week by bringing together current and former Federal leaders who have guided their organizations through significant change, ranging from operational and public relations issues, to making difficult and potentially unpopular decisions with lasting effect on their organizations and the people serving in them.
The half-day event was broken into three segments:
- A brief review of 2016 Changing Workplace Survey Results and Changing Government Report
- A panel discussion about leading change in the Federal environment
- A keynote address detailing how the re-visioned GPO met the challenges caused by technical disruption in the form of the Internet.
The event kicked off by an overview of the results of the 2016 Changing Workplace Survey by Tim Bowden, Executive Director, Consulting Delivery, People and Performance Consulting at Management Concepts. This survey, co-sponsored by Management Concepts and Human Capital Media’s Research and Advisory Group, explores how governmental agencies implement organizational change management.
The panel discussion, moderated by Janice LaChance, former Director of OPM, featured four distinguished NAPA guests: USN ADM (Ret.) Lewis W. Crenshaw, Jr., Rafael Borras, recently of DHS, Dan M. Tangherlini, former GSA Administrator, and Renee Triplett, Assistant Director, US Secret Service. Each guest recounted how they dealt with some of the significant change opportunities they faced during their time in Federal leadership roles. These challenges ranged from:
- Driving the introduction and acceptance of new technology
- Managing through circumstance-driven change vs. initiative-driven change
- Understanding the need to solicit and attend to the voice of the workforce when contemplating and enacting change agendas
- Acknowledging the importance of having executive sponsorship and “championship” to support the changes being enacted, managing to milestones of achievement, and addressing organizational or individual resistance clearly and quickly.
The thought-provoking panel engaged in a vibrant exchange during the ensuing Q&A, as attendees probed some of the ideas being presented and applied the concepts to their own contexts.
Our keynote speaker, Davita Vance-Cooks, Director, US Government Publishing Office, recounted the challenges of reframing the mission of the former Government Printing Office to adapt to the digital world following the introduction and growth of the Internet, without compromising its ability to deliver the services for which they are chartered. She recounted how she has led the organization to:
- Move from a print-centric to a content-centric mission
- Expend its funding more efficiently, reducing its reliance on Federal appropriations
- Transform the workforce from predominantly blue-collar to white-collar
- Create a network of satellite printing contractors to provide scalability for overflow demand in times of special need or crisis.
Throughout these multiple major shifts in the GPO mission and emerging technology used for the delivery of products and services, Ms. Vance-Cooks recounted the importance of staying connected to the people being affected by the changes, listening to and incorporating their ideas, while at the same time supporting those who fear being adversely affected by the changes.
The event, hosted at The University Club in downtown Washington, DC, offered an opportunity to hear from these battle-hardened veterans about their real experiences managing through change, and seeded great insights among the attendees.