Sometimes It Takes Fresh Eyes to Solve an Agency’s Biggest Challenge
“Doing more with less” seems particularly relevant today. Federal agencies face growing demands and smaller budgets. Given this climate, the tendency to address government’s biggest challenges with in-house staff is understandable. An alternative approach is to apply external resources to address entrenched issues. External experts with mission knowledge and experience set clear goals and provide a repeatable process to get there. Trusted consultants work hand-in-hand with clients to quickly set a path for success – what we call Speed to Mission.
So what are the critical elements in tackling obstacles?
First, get your hands around the issue with a comprehensive review.
- What are the applicable laws, policies and regulations? Do they provide enough guidance, too much guidance? Often a seasoned professional coming in from the outside can more quickly identify gaps
- Does the mission of the organization match with staffing or has the organization grown up around personalities? Sometimes this dynamic is more easily identified by an “outsider” with mission knowledge
Then, identify your stakeholders, internal and external, including employees, and gather as much data as possible through confidential focus groups, surveys and interviews. The consultant’s “outsider” role creates a safe space to voice fears, ideas, hopes, and even vent frustrations without repercussions.
Third, based on what you learned, develop a comprehensive change management and communications plan that keeps employees front and center. Never underestimate the impact change will have on your workforce. Plan ahead for this early and often.
Finally, be as transparent as possible, communicate often, and provide information regularly, even when you think you have nothing new to share. Withholding information leads to speculation. Openly sharing information builds trust. Be honest about your goals, what you are trying to achieve, and how others in the organization can help.
Taking a Speed to Mission approach can provide a fresh set of eyes to tackle new challenges in the evolving homeland security mission, or old challenges that are difficult to overcome.