By Howard Risher – The problem, as summarized in the report’s Foreword by NAPA President Terry Gerton, is fundamental:
Over time, the alignment between the government’s mission, strategy, and tactics on one hand, and the capacity of its workforce on the other, has fallen further out of sync. The result has been an accumulating series of program failures that have grown into a genuine national crisis.
To call it a national crisis is not hyperbole.
Human capital management leads the 2017 list of GAO’s high-risk areas and workforce management is integral to each of the areas on the list. GAO’s focus was limited to the skills gap. In its report, GAO concluded, “OPM and agencies have not yet demonstrated sustainable progress in closing skills gaps.” It’s been on the high-risk list for 16 years.
The skills gap needs to be seen as the tip of the iceberg. Skills alone cannot produce improved performance. The Office of Personnel Management describes the problem on its website with this formula:
Performance = Capacity x Commitment
According to OPM’s website, “In a work setting, the capacity to perform means having available the competencies [skills], the resources [technology is an essential tool], and the opportunity to complete the job [empowered to make decisions]. If employees are missing these, the work will not get done and the results will not be achieved.” Commitment is synonymous with engagement. more>
Posted in Book review, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Leadership, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Government, human resources, Jobs, Leadership, Organization, performance, Productivity
By David Sloan Wilson – As an evolutionary biologist who received my PhD in 1975, I grew up with Garrett Hardin’s essay “The Tragedy of the Commons,” published in Science magazine in 1968. His parable of villagers adding too many cows to their common pasture captured the essence of the problem that my thesis research was designed to solve.
The farmer who added an extra cow gained an advantage over other farmers in his village but it also led to an overgrazed pasture. The biological world is full of similar examples in which individuals who behave for the good of their groups lose out in the struggle for existence with more self-serving individuals, resulting in overexploited resources and other tragedies of non-cooperation.
Is the so-called tragedy of the commons ever averted in the biological world and might this possibility provide solutions for our own species?
Evolutionary theory’s individualistic turn coincided with individualistic turns in other areas of thought. Economics in the postwar decades was dominated by rational choice theory, which used individual self-interest as a grand explanatory principle. The social sciences were dominated by a position known as methodological individualism, which treated all social phenomena as reducible to individual-level phenomena, as if groups were not legitimate units of analysis in their own right. And UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher became notorious for saying during a speech in 1987 that “there is no such thing as society; only individuals and families.” It was as if the entire culture had become individualistic and the formal scientific theories were obediently following suit. more>
Posted in Book review, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Media, Net, Regulations, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Internet, Leadership, Regulations, Technology, Tragedy of the commons
By Don Norman – We have unwittingly accepted the paradigm that technology comes first, with people relegated to doing the actions that the machines cannot do. This requires people to act like machines, ever ready to take over when things go wrong.
As a result, we require people to do tedious, repetitive tasks, to be alert for long periods, ready to respond at a moment’s notice: all things people are bad at doing. When the inevitable errors and accidents occur, people are blamed for “human error.” The view is so prevalent that many times the people involved blame themselves, saying things like “I knew better” or “I should have paid more attention,” not recognizing that the demands of the technology made these errors inevitable.
We need to switch from a technology-centric view of the world to a people-centric one. We should start with people’s abilities and create technology that enhances people’s capabilities: Why are we doing it backwards?
We have turned the positive trait of curiosity into two negative ones. One is that of distraction, leading to accidents; the other is that of following the trails on enticement leading to addiction. We have our priorities completely wrong. more>
Posted in Book review, Business, Economy, Education, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Curiosity, Human error, Human trait, Jobs, Technology