Friday, March 13, 2020
Articles from across the Web that we at the IBM Center for The Business of Government found interesting for the week of March 9-13, 2020.

John Kamensky

Piloting Flex in Tech Buying. FCW reports: “In 2018, the IRS rolled out plans for a series of pilots that aimed to sidestep the traditionally lengthy and solution-specific procurement process in favor of a faster, more open-ended approach to buying technology. On March 4, the agency gave an update on how its first Pilot IRS acquisition has performed, provided insights into lessons learned and discussed what's in store for future projects.”

More Transparency. Government Executive reports: “House and Senate panels reported a bill to the full chambers last week to make agency spending more transparent. . . . The measure (H.R. 4894 and S. 2560) would amend the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to increase public access to federal agencies’ congressional budget requests by putting them on various federal websites.”

Bonuses, Incentives. Howard Risher, in a column for Government Executive, writes; “People perform better when they have goals. They perform even better when they are members of a team working to achieve team goals.  . . . however, accountability in government is still somewhat hazy. Reports and anecdotal comments suggest that performance data are used primarily for reporting and not for managing operations; that is, agencies are not relying on data to initiate corrective actions to address problems.”

Defense Audit Progress. Government Executive reports: “The Defense Department’s second-ever audit once again shows wide variation in performance across the military services and Defense agencies, according to a report released on Tuesday by a watchdog group. . . . Truth in Accounting used 10 criteria, along with an inspector general’s analysis, to evaluate how the department did on its fiscal 2019 audit that came out in November. The Pentagon failed the audit, which covered over $2.9 trillion in assets and $2.8 trillion in liabilities, but demonstrated progress and sustained achievements over its 2018 audit.”

New OMB Evaluation Guidance. The Office of Management and Budget released additional guidance on implementing the Evidence Act: “This Memorandum describes the high-level consensus standards and practices currently recognized for their value in supporting a variety of Federal evaluation needs.”

Continuous Vetting for Security Clearance.  Government Executive reports: “In a significant change to personnel security policy, agencies are being encouraged to enroll all applicants for security clearances into continuous vetting and eliminate periodic reinvestigations. The move is an effort to create a clearance system that’s agile and better able to identify risks as they occur, not at 5-year or 10-year intervals.

Supply Chain Gaps. Federal News Network reports: “Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) is turning to a concept that’s already taken hold in large commercial supply chains called an integrated supply chain control tower. In the Navy’s case, it means synthesizing vast amounts of data from government organizations and suppliers and applying machine learning algorithms to build better forecasts of what’s needed, where, and when.”

AI-Supported Administrative Decisions. Federal News Network reports on a new study by Stanford Law School law professor David Freeman Engstrom: “we had our teams look across 120 agencies, subagencies and also, you know, full scale government departments and try to surface every possible use case they could. And they found about 160 of them. They found that 45% of those agency subagencies and departments were either experimenting with or had fully deployed machine learning tools of one kind or another.”

Telework Clarified. The Office of Management and Budget updated guidance on telework: “All Federal Executive Branch departments and agencies are encouraged to maximize telework flexibilities to eligible workers within those populations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified as being at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.”

Michael Keegan

CDC: Data modernization would have improved coronavirus detection, tracking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials urged lawmakers today to fund an existing data modernization initiative that they say would have led to faster detection and tracking of coronavirus as it spread across the country. The CDC's Public Health Data Modernization Initiative is designed to invest in new and upgraded technologies that detect, track and analyze trends around disease outbreaks.

Senate panel looks for supply chain options. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing a conversation about how to mitigate supply chain risks associated with outsourcing and globalization.

Be careful with research-backed leadership styles. Using academic research to pick a management style could be disastrous, writes Theodore Kinni, who reviews a 2019 Dennis Tourish book that's critical of styles such as authentic leadership theory and evidence-based management. Kinni offers four questions leaders should subject any research to before adopting a management style, including what other factors could explain the results.(Strategy+Business online )

Crisis leadership requires accepting pain. Leaders must be decisive and act swiftly when a crisis hits, trust employees to do their best and understand that whatever happens will be difficult for their business, writes Steven Sinofsky, an Andreessen Horowitz board partner and former Microsoft executive. "Failure during a crisis comes from fear of acting or thinking there is a less painful path," he writes. (Thread Reader/Steven Sinofsky)

Five Leadership Adjustments to Survive Uncertainty. Leaders can choose to either allow themselves to be sucked up in the global uncertainty or intentionally decide to face it with resilience. The changes in our workplaces don’t have to throw us off our game. You’ve got this if you are open and willing to pivot ever so slightly.

Four Different Ways of Knowing. Here are brief introductions to four ways of knowing that can help break through barriers to understanding both opportunities and risks. These are by no means the only four ways but, in my experience, they are the most useful.

23 Different Views on Leadership. Leadership is an interesting concept. At one level, it's massively complex. There are entire sections of the publishing industry devoted to it, and we fly people all over the world to discuss it. It's probably a billion-dollar industry onto itself.  At another level, it's deceptively simple. You work for an organization. "It" (the org) has goals. You work with, and manage, other people. They have goals. How do you align "A" (org goals) and "B" (individual goals) in such a way that tangible, measurable results are driven? There are a lot of different ways to think about and conceptualize leadership. Here are a few.

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Next Week on The Business of Government Hour: A Conversation with Tracy Bojko and Macey Cox, co-leaders, the National Science Foundation’s Leadership Development Program. How is the National Science Foundation (NSF) building a pipeline of current and future leaders? What is the NSF’s leadership development program (LDP)? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Tracy Bojko and Macey Cox co-leaders the National Science Foundation’s Leadership Development Program on the next The Business of Government Hour.

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