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Is Opulence In or Out?

February 25, 2009 Looking around at government offices, it's clear that two dramatically different kinds of managers control the interior decorating dollars. The first type is tight-fisted, sparing only the bare essentials for federal workers. Doors. Walls. Cubicle panels. Plain white desks. Those chairs on rollers with blue back-and-seat cushions (using the term ...

Handing Out Rewards

February 4, 2009 In December 2001, Federal Aviation Administration chief Jane Garvey announced that the agency would not be issuing executive bonuses that year. Garvey acknowledged in a memorandum to FAA executives that many of them had performed extraordinarily and tirelessly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the fact that aviation security ...

Handing Out Rewards

February 1, 2009 There are good and bad ways to recognize employees. In December 2001, Federal Aviation Administration chief Jane Garvey announced that the agency would not be issuing executive bonuses that year. Garvey acknowledged in a memorandum to FAA executives that many of them had performed extraordinarily and tirelessly after the Sept. ...

Leading Questions

January 21, 2009 Nearly every presidential administration begins with a review of the current shape of government -- which agencies are doing what work, at what cost and to what end. The Obama administration is no exception, with the new president promising a top-to-bottom review of federal operations. Each president has entered office ...

Stop Wasting Time

January 7, 2009 Federal employees often complain about how much of their time is wasted-by their bosses. It's a sweet irony of many workers' 9-to-5 routines that the people responsible for making sure they get their jobs done are the ones most responsible for making sure their jobs don't get done. By dint ...

Stop Wasting Time

January 1, 2009 Don't make it harder for employees to do their jobs. Federal employees often complain about how much of their time is wasted-by their bosses. It's a sweet irony of many workers' 9-to-5 routines that the people responsible for making sure they get their jobs done are the ones most responsible ...

Say No to Yes Men

December 17, 2008 Everyone does stupid things -- some more stupid than others and some more frequently than most. People make mistakes, bad decisions and poor judgment calls. Managers and leaders are not immune to this human condition. So it behooves good leaders to surround themselves with people who are willing and able ...

Over Your Shoulder

December 3, 2008 In 1916, a bit of public administration history was made. The Bureau of Efficiency was born. It was the first of many efforts by presidents and Congress to perfect the bumbling bureaucracy-most recently President Clinton's National Partnership for Reinventing Government and the Bush administration's President's Management Agenda. A century ago, ...

Over Your Shoulder

December 1, 2008 Oversight is a necessary evil, but only when it helps managers do their jobs better. In 1916, a bit of public administration history was made. The Bureau of Efficiency was born. It was the first of many efforts by presidents and Congress to perfect the bumbling bureaucracy-most recently President Clinton's ...

Easy Target

November 19, 2008 President Clinton, a Democrat, did it. So did President Bush, a Republican. Now President-elect Barack Obama has done it. What did all three do? They gave middle managers the rhetorical ax. Either during his campaign or in office, each promised to slash the bureaucracy's middle ranks. Clinton vowed to halve ...