Michael D. Serlin

Michael D. Serlin is currently writing and consulting on public service change after a thirty-six year Federal career. He retired in 1994 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Management Service. As an Assistant Commissioner, he directed innovations in electronic funds transfer and financial operations for the U.S. Government and initiated entrepreneurial administrative support across agencies.

Understanding the "New Power" Trend

Reinventing Government was organized around ten values, such as government being catalytic, community-owned, competitive, etc. Today, a new management reform trend is evolving, with its own models and values, again inspired by private sector and societal trends. A recent Harvard Business Review article by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms examines this 2010s trend, at least as it has evolved in the private sector, and they call it “New Power.” Not catchy, but their article does crystalize some powerful ideas.

Fire All the Managers

In a refreshingly provocative article in this month’s Harvard Business Review, celebrated business writer Gary Hamel describes the condition of management in most large organizations (costly and inefficient) and how one company did away with all their managers and still manage to run a $700 million company with revenues and profits that leave competitors in the dust.

Improving Customer Service

In the 1990s, the Clinton-Gore Reinventing Government effort thought the answer was “yes.”  President Clinton issued a customer service executive order in 1993 followed up in 1995 with a memo to institutionalize the initiative.

Regulatory Partnerships: Good or Bad? (Part 1)

Three recent IBM Center reports present a different perspective, showing the value of regulatory partnerships.  These reports offer lessons learned on how to create and effectively maintain regulatory partnerships so they don’t result in the failures highlighted in a penetrating Washington Post article “

Defense Reform: The Gates Speech

Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a much-ballyhooed speech this past week about the urgent need to cut defense spending by at least $15 billion. It is worth reading!
 

Calling on Corporate Leaders: Now vs. Then

The White House sponsored a forum last week of about 50 corporate executives to seek insights about how to successfully transform large organizations. These included the leaders of Facebook, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, and Whirlpool. Listening to the videos, it was quite reminiscent of a similar forum, sponsored by Vice President Gore’s reinventing government initiative almost 17 years ago.

Reinventing Saudi Arabia

David Osborne, of Reinventing Government fame, keynoted today's session at the Saudi conference on public administration. He said there are two sets of reforms running in parallel across the globe today. The first focuses on getting the basics right: a professional public service, rule of law, prosecuting corruption, a transparent budget and contracting system, etc.

Dispatch from Saudi Arabia

I'm in Riyadh this week, blogging from afar at a conference on public administration. The exotic is in the small things – Google comes up in Arabic with the scroll bar on the left and there's an arrow painted on the ceiling of my hotel room pointing to Mecca.

Recognizing Civil Servants

One of the things I learned working on the Reinventing Government initiative in the 1990s for Vice President Gore was that civil servants do some pretty amazing things. And they get little recognition for it. But now it's time to make government cool again!

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