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Think tank publishes transition guides for government leaders

Books offer advice on establishing relationships, setting clear agendas, communicating with employees and learning government jargon.

The book also includes essays on managing relationships with everyone from Office of Management and Budget officials to union representatives to Government Accountability Office investigators.

The IBM Center for the Business of Government has released two books that offer detailed guidance to help government executives navigate the presidential transition.

In The Operator's Manual for the New Administration, IBM presents eight areas in which newly appointed agency heads and their senior management teams should focus to learn the culture of government, familiarize themselves with jargon and use all the tools at their disposal.

By concentrating on these eight areas -- leadership, performance, people, money, contracting, technology, innovation and collaboration -- executives "make [government] work to advance policy goals and objectives," the introduction stated.

Authors Mark Abramson, Jonathan Breul, John Kamensky and G. Martin Wagner encourage executives to communicate with and engage employees using a variety of leadership styles and to articulate their strategy clearly.

"Everybody will be looking to you for how to act on the organization's mission and vision," they wrote. "A clear strategy provides a map of how you and your leadership team get to where you want to go, given constraints within your operating environment and the resources available."

The book advises executives to maintain the focus on program performance cultivated over the past eight years and look for ways to advance the use of performance measures. Once a framework for performance assessment is in place, executives can take advantage of that information to correct problems, motivate employees, plan and budget, and identify and encourage best practices, the authors noted.

"There is an old saying… 'If you don't know where you are going, you will never get there,' " they wrote. "This is truly the case of managing in government."

The authors said they intentionally did not rank the eight focus areas because executives must pay attention to each to fulfill their mission. "None can be ignored," they stated.

The IBM Center also released Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives, with a six point to-do list. The authors advised appointees to: