- By Mark Micheli
- June 13, 2013
It wasn’t too long ago we had the pleasure of reporting Congress is less popular than the likes of root canals, colonoscopies, cockroaches and Nickleback. Today, we return to once more examine the public's hate-hate relationship with Congress.
According to Gallup, Americans’ confidence in Congress decreased by 3 percent this year, falling from 13 percent in 2012 to 10 percent in 2013—ranking last on a list 16 American institutions for the fourth year in a row. How does that compare to other times in history? I’ll let Gallup take it from here:
This is the lowest level of confidence Gallup has found, not only for Congress, but for any institution on record.
Ouch. Congress withstanding, what public institutions are Americans feeling confident in? Good news for the defense community (and the upcoming launch of GovExec’s new defense publication, Defense One) more than three-fourths of Americans (76 percent) feel pretty darn confident in the military.
The full rankings are in order below:
Anything here surprise you?
Image via Gary Blakeley/Shutterstock.com
- By Dr. Francis Collins
- June 13, 2013
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project—a 13-year endeavor that I had the privilege of leading—the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC is launching an absolutely fantastic exhibit called “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.”
The exhibit goes way beyond basic biology—what DNA looks like, what it’s made of, and how it works—and reveals how your genome affects your life, and your past, current, and future health.
You’ll be able to see how scientists make connections between genes and traits and diseases. And you’ll see how we can personalize your medicines and drug therapies according to your genes.
There are plenty of interactive activities to capture your interest and imagination. For example, you could do a little detective work using DNA samples. Or you might choose a physical trait and explore the genes that contribute to it—where, for example, is one of the major genes for eye color? If you’re a history buff, you might want to trace the ancestry of one of nine characters, using their DNA to peer into their recent and deep history and trace their migration route ...
- By Victoria Grady
- June 12, 2013
Government is challenged by the increasing need to embrace organizational change. All types of change. Organizational change that includes attracting (and retaining) new talent at your agency, creating (and managing) new strategy to optimize performance/maximize effectiveness, weeding out duplicative programs and, maybe the most pressing current challenge, navigating (and surviving) the repercussions of sequestration and furloughs.
Leadership is well aware of the need for change in government, but ironically, often doesn’t recognize the change success prerequisite—proactively managing throughout the change process.
Typical change initiatives are initiated like this, with a leader saying (or even worse, thinking): “We probably don’t need to give this presentation on [insert looming change], we’ll just tell employees the change is coming. They need to be ready to ‘deal’ with the change and adjust accordingly.”
Does that careless line of thinking sound familiar? This is, needless to say, not a successful approach to change management. So, how do you manage change? Here are a few suggestions to get started:
1. Define the Challenge
Change is hard. Take a deep dive to more comprehensively understand the needs of an organization adapting to constant change. Fantastic tools are available to initiate the deep ...
- By Sarah Koppelkam
- June 12, 2013
Remember when homework consisted of cutting out pictures we liked from magazines and pasting them on poster board, collage style? It turns out the 3rd grade art teachers of the world might be onto something.
Vision boards are a more adult version of those colorful posters, filled with inspirational quotes and images to help anyone — young or old — get motivated and improve themselves. Whether made with scissors and Elmer’s glue, or pieced together online, vision boards may help people achieve their goals. Is there real science behind these boards, or is it all in the mind?
What's the Deal?
Vision boards are all about positive thinking and channeling the power of the subconscious. Want to achieve a specific goal? Basically, the board is supposed to spark your creativity, focusing your thoughts on the goal you want to accomplish and helping articulate an objective you're having difficulty putting into words. At the very least, this visualization can help promote better choices, no matter their size. So how do you make one? The simplest approach to creating a vision board is ...
- By John Kamensky
- June 12, 2013
Several new studies demonstrate the difficulty of defining what constitutes the “atom” of a federal program, but a recent Washington Post article begins to uncover why it is so elusive, much like finding sub-atomic particles in physics.
Defining Federal Programs Isn’t Simple
There is more than one way to define what constitutes a federal “program,” and it is not unlike trying to define molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles.
Several years ago, Congress asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to prepare an annual series of reports on the extent of duplication and overlap among federal programs. GAO has dutifully complied and it has delivered reports over the past three years that it believes covers the waterfront. In its latest testimony, GAO says there are 83 areas where it identified duplicative, fragmented, or overlapping programs. But GAO’s definition of what constitutes a “program” leaves the definition in the eyes of the beholder:
Generally, an organized set of activities directed toward a common purpose or goal that an agency undertakes or proposes to carry out its responsibilities. Because the term has many uses in practice, it does not have a well-defined, standard meaning in the legislative process. It is used to ...