Tuesday, May 17, 2011
When Donald Rumsfield was in the Pentagon, his staff talked about his incessant memos asking for information or direction action as “snowflakes.” Well, there’s a blizzard of memos and guidance coming from the White House on a range of management improveme

It is not clear if the Obama Administration is providing strategic advice to agencies on how to cope with the various management initiatives it has underway or is in the process of launching, but the newly-redesignated Chief Operating Officers in departments and key agencies should quickly see the connections among them, and leverage them to their advantage. 

The typical response by most agencies when a new initiative comes out of the White House is to assign someone to prepare the response plan.  A dozen initiatives would equal a dozen staffers tagged with coming up with a response.  Open Government Plan?  Appoint an Open Government lead staffer.  An Administrative Flexibility Plan?  
Appoint an Admin Flex officer, etc.  Oftentimes, this is reinforced by different offices in OMB or the White House being tasked with leading the different initiatives, as well.

But that would be a mistake, especially in today’s cost-conscious environment.  There’s a lot of opportunity for synergy among the various initiatives and there should be a lot more commonality in approach.  Where are there opportunities for collaboration?

Following is a list of White House and OMB initiatives that would seem to benefit from an integrated strategy.  This list, plus the Jeff Zients’ six Accountable Government Initiatives, might be a useful self-assessment checklist on how well their agencies are connecting the dots:

GPRA Modernization Act Implementation:

Open Government Initiative. 

Reorganizing the Government

Administrative Flexibility Initiative

Service Delivery and Customer Service Initiative.

Plain Writing Initiative

Regulatory Review Initiative.

Energy Efficiency Initiative

IT Management Reform Initiatives.

Use of Governmentwide Problem-Solving Networks.

These problem-solving networks (either planned or in action) have the ability to help tie together cross-agency initiatives or surface best practices.  These are in addition to the existing management councils sponsored by OMB:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There are other initiatives that may or may not fit into an overall grand scheme for integrating management initiatives, such as the Civilian BRAC property realignmentinitiative, the Improper Payments initiative, the Telework initiative, Labor-Management Forums, and the Hiring Streamlining initiative.

What else do you think is missing and should be added to the list, and do you have any updates or corrections to the list above?

Graphic Credit:  U.S. Department of Transportation