Center Blog

Planning Ahead: Management Matters Now

June 8, 2016

Kennedy Thompson, Fellow, Partnership for Public Service

Presidential candidates talk about policies and programs on the campaign trail, but seldom explain how they will put their ideas into action. Sound management and capable people are crucial for policy implementation. Thinking about how to get things done and how the government will be managed needs to be a major part of presidential transition planning.

Here’s five concepts to get transition teams started.

  1. Focus on executive talent in government. Find capable leaders with management experience to implement the new administration’s policies and programs, and set up systems to foster collaboration among political and career executives.
  2. Think enterprise government. Many of today’s critical challenges, from food safety to cybersecurity, can rarely be solved effectively by one agency acting alone. Achieving many of the new administration’s priorities will require making full use of enterprise management—having the government operate as a single entity instead of acting as a set of separate, disconnected agencies on a range of critical issues as well as internal government operations. The incoming team needs to establish processes to identify cross-agency priorities and determine how these will be effectively managed.
  3. Strengthen decision-making processes. Effective decision-making will be a critical element for the new administration to address key priorities quickly and effectively. Planning must take place to ensure leaders can clearly define and explain how they will make decisions in different situations and what information they will need to ensure those decisions are well-informed.
  4. Harness innovation to improve outcomes and productivity. When the next president takes office in 2017, the new administration will have the opportunity to embark on its own innovation agenda, building on past efforts and setting new goals. The new team should begin focusing on ways to improve customer service, increase citizen engagement, deliver efficiencies and improve outcomes.
  5. Get it done in government. Getting things done in government is challenging due to a complex mix of stakeholders, congressional oversight, uncertain funding and a wide array of rules and regulations. The transition team and the new administration must examine how to navigate the government landscape, including having the required authorities and the necessary resources, knowing how to manage stakeholder relationships, and understanding how to coordinate with key federal agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

For an in-depth examination of our management focus areas, take a look at the management whitepapers on our website, the recommendations in the Presidential Transition Guide and watch for our comprehensive Management Roadmap for the new administration that will be released later this summer.


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