Tag Archives: Organization

To Get the Best Results From Your Employees, Assemble Them Like a Team of Surgeons

By Oliver Staley – When assembling teams, managers should think about what the different members contribute. Teams where all the members share the same skills or background won’t cover the same breadth as one in which members bring a range of abilities and experiences.

There’s a growing body of research that shows that diversity strengthens teams, whether they’re juries or corporate boards.

Homogenous teams may have less friction and feel like they’re working productively, but as a study of problem-solving among members of fraternity and sororities shows, they’re are less likely to arrive at the right answer than groups where members can challenge assumptions and shared beliefs. more> https://goo.gl/KUDAIW

Organizing to Learn, Learning to Organize


By Chris Brooks & Susan Williams – Traditional education is about banking: I am an expert, I have banked this information, and I am going to pour it in your head—and you are going to tell me back what I told you.

So when people face problems, their first thought is, “I need to go and find a lawyer!” They think they have to rely on others, who have the right kind of knowledge, to solve their problems. Now we head straight to the Internet and Google. We are not encouraged to think that we have the capacity to change things ourselves.

Popular education involves passing on skills and content in a collective way; it’s based on the belief that people can do more than they think they can. Good organizing provides people with the ability to learn together and grow. So these processes are connected. more> https://goo.gl/zXQr1h

Why Most Government Reform Plans Die

BOOK REVIEW

Working With Culture: the Way the Job Gets Done In Public Programs, Author: Anne Khademian.

By Howard Risher – “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” That quote is credited to the father of modern management, Peter Drucker. He was saying that leaders need to understand and address their organization’s culture in their planning.

Writers tell us that culture encompasses the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people. It sets forth the rules—unspoken and unwritten—for working together.

It’s relevant to reform because it governs behavior in work groups. It influences virtually every interaction of people in performing their jobs. It affects the time they start work, their tolerance for sexist comments, the way they deal with customers—everything.

Culture plays an important role in every successful organization. More than a few writers have argued that it would be great if government could develop a performance culture. That’s one where employees are committed to achieving results. Employees in high performing companies are energized by the culture. It’s reinforced by their reward and recognition practices. more> https://goo.gl/AiEOKL

The Path to Better Management of Government’s Huge Programs

By Alan Balutis, Dan Chenok, Greg Giddens, Stan Soloway and Jim Williams – The pace of technology is more rapid today. Government, like the commercial sector, has changed its approach to the concept of programs, shifting to a model in which modular steps and agile processes have largely displaced traditional, large-scale “waterfall” strategies. Still, the need for strong program management skills remains central to success.

But, outside of the Department of Defense and a few civilian agencies, program management is not ‘institutionalized’ as an established management discipline.”

  • First, we believe there needs to a clear line of leadership. Program management is a core component of agency success and should be treated and embraced as such.
  • Second, we need to establish clarity of responsibility and accountability for the delivery of program results.
  • Third, with the establishment under PMIAA (Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act) of the program management career field, we must move quickly to design and implement a consistent training and professional development process for program managers, as well as a clear and contemporary set of requirements for hiring them.
  • Change management, a skill critical to driving success in managing complex programs involving multiple stakeholders, should be a key element of this curriculum.
  • Fourth, to help program managers continue to grow and learn, OMB (Office of Management and Budget) should ensure that the Program Management Policy Council created by the statute is set up effectively.

With these building blocks in place, agencies can zero in on what is most important: performance. Programs fail for many reasons, including inadequate governance, meaningless metrics, and insufficient capacity for or willingness to change. Strong program management can help overcome each of those barriers; without it, they are likely to endure. more> https://goo.gl/PHG67A

Related>

Hierarchy in organizations: when it helps, when it hurts

BOOK REVIEW

Friend & Foe, Authors: Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer.

By Steve Kelman – You can’t say either hierarchical or participatory arrangements are always good or always bad. Instead, there are some organizational tasks for which hierarchy works best, and others where hierarchy creates problems.

How does hierarchy help?

It helps groups of people coordinate their activities and gives people information about who does what. It reduces the need to bargain and argue over such decisions.

Google initially tried to work without managers, but found that “the lack of hierarchy created chaos and confusion. … As they learned, even Google needs hierarchy.”

How does participatory management help?

It helps when the information the group needs to have to make good decisions is more complex and uncertain. The danger of hierarchy is that it tends not to generate a wide range of information.

“The more complex the task, the more likely we are to make a mistake or miss something critical” in a hierarchical organization.

Hierarchy can also suppress dissent, because people don’t want to take on those at the top. more> https://goo.gl/qSusGs

Brexit – A Lose-lose Proposition

By Per Wijkman – The UK government hopes to limit its losses by negotiating a new trade agreement giving what EU membership now offers apart from the free movement of labor and trade subject effectively to the European Court of Justice.

This will be difficult. The UK’s negotiating position is weak since the EU Commission plans to start negotiations on a new trade agreement only after the UK has withdrawn from the EU. The UK thus leaves the EU without knowing what will replace membership. Deprived of a secure fall-back position, it will have little leverage.

Border controls, rather than tariffs, generate the major costs involved in cross-border trade, especially when cross-border supply chains are extensive. In order to avoid border controls between the EU and the UK, they must apply a common set of rules concerning technical standards, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, rules of origin, rules for financial services, etc. In addition, they must apply a common legal system in order to guarantee application of the common rules. The less extensive the common legal system, the more shallow the economic integration must be.

Since one of Prime Minister May’s key objectives with Brexit is to re-establish UK sovereignty over its legal system, a common legal system is ruled out. more> https://goo.gl/pCEs57

Relaetd>

Hierarchy is either strictly constrained or it is indefensible

BOOK REVIEW

Just Freedom, Author: Philip Pettit.

By Philip Pettit – This thesis really is unfashionable, because of the extreme way in which they understand hierarchy at the abstract level.

‘When we talk about hierarchies here,’ they say at the outset, ‘we mean those distinctions and rankings that bring with them clear power differentials.’ And, sharpening the concept even further, they say later that it is ‘a condition in which one adult commands, threatens or forces another adult to do something’.

Nor is this a sort of hierarchy justified by fault or failing on the part of the subordinated individual: that person might be ‘innocent of any wrongdoing, competent to make decisions’ and so on. It is illustrated, they suggest, by ‘political paternalism’, which is defined as ‘coercive interference with autonomy’.

More generally, the essay sketches an attractive architecture of political power in which experts certainly command requisite esteem but their role ‘is often not as decision-makers, but as external resources to be consulted by a panel of non-specialist generalists’. This architecture, it is said, would involve ‘a kind of collective, democratic decision-making that makes use of hierarchies of expertise without slavishly deferring to them’.

There are no objectionable power differentials in a system where there is ‘democratic accountability’ – however proximately insulated – and where there are checks and balances that restrain the different authorities. more> https://goo.gl/812tkO

In defense of hierarchy

By Stephen C Angle, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Julian Baggini, Daniel Bell, Nicolas Berggruen, Mark Bevir, Joseph Chan, Carlos Fraenkel, Stephen Macedo, Michael Puett, Jiang Qian, Mathias Risse, Carlin Romano, Justin Tiwald and Robin Wang – Good and permissible hierarchies are everywhere around us.

Yet hierarchy is an unfashionable thing to defend or to praise.

We live in a time when no distinction is drawn between justified and useful hierarchies on the one hand, and self-interested, exploitative elites on the other.

First, bureaucratic hierarchies can serve democracy. Bureaucracy is even less popular these days than hierarchy. Yet bureaucratic hierarchies can instantiate crucial democratic values, such as the rule of law and equal treatment.

There are at least three ways in which usually hierarchical constitutional institutions can enhance democracy: by protecting minority rights, and thereby ensuring that the basic interests of minorities are not lightly discounted by self-interested or prejudiced majorities; by curbing the power of majority or minority factions to pass legislation favoring themselves at the expense of the public good; and by increasing the epistemic resources that are brought to bear on decision-making, making law and policy more reflective of high-quality deliberation. Hence democracies can embrace hierarchy because hierarchy can enhance democracy itself.

Yet in recent decades, these civic hierarchies have been dismantled and often replaced with decentralized, competitive markets, all in the name of efficiency. This makes sense only if efficiency and effectiveness (usually assumed to be measured in economic terms) are considered the overriding priorities.

But if we make that assumption, we find ourselves giving less weight to values such as the rule of law, democratic legitimacy or social equality. Hence, we might sometimes prefer the democratically accountable hierarchies that preserve those values even over optimal efficiency. more> https://goo.gl/PDDv12

Related>

How Trump’s Plan to Reorganize Government Could Work

By Steve Goodrich – On March 13, President Trump issued an executive order for a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch. It calls for the OMB director and agency heads to develop plans for improving the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of agencies, subcomponents and programs within 180 days.

I am not naïve, and yes, I have seen this many times before. But if done right, with a strong foundation and a plan, it could work. It could also be another once-and-done exercise that demonstrates little to no value. Many administrations have conducted similar exercises, most of which faded with the political passing. The Trump executive order runs the risk of having little or negative impact, reducing readiness and demoralizing employees. It also has the potential to do great things for our country.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make it work.

  1. It must involve Congress.
  2. It should begin with a national summit that results in a strategic plan.
  3. Someone must be in charge.
  4. Reorganization must address vertical and horizontal programs.
  5. Reform must cross agency boundaries.
  6. Accept that some investment will be necessary.
  7. Leverage what you have before you throw anything out.
  8. Make hard decisions.
  9. Fix the foundation.
  10. Create a culture of sharing.
  11. Grow people.
  12. Address financial issues

more> https://goo.gl/CGO0zu

Related>

There’s a Green Card-holder at the heart of Greek philosophy

By David V Johnson – A state that, without due process, simply ignores the rights and obligations it has extended to that legal resident makes a serious breach of its moral authority and the rule of law.

This is why the state’s treatment of its non-citizen legal residents – its visa-holders and permanent resident aliens – can say as much about its health as its treatment of citizens.

The idea that the non-citizen resident is crucial to diagnosing the state’s health is evident in Plato’s Republic.

In the course of the Republic‘s 10 books, Socrates offers a considered analysis of justice and the ideally just state. It can be simplified to one principle: justice is reason ruling.

When rationality rules in government, the state is just. Similarly, when rationality governs the emotions and desires of the soul, a person is just.

When reason fails to rule, whether in the state or the person, injustice obtains. more> https://goo.gl/oTURh3