Developing Organizational Resilience through Effective Transition
During administration changes, agencies face the challenge of onboarding new personnel while maintaining core functions to serve the mission. Fortunately, transition cycles are usually predictable, and preparation can begin well in advance. By adopting past best practices and the latest innovative thinking, Government agencies can become more operationally resilient in the face of both scheduled transitions and unexpected leadership changes.
Conducting a thorough organizational assessment, embracing dynamic new technologies, and working with an experienced, dedicated transition team enables agencies to efficiently manage the transition and limit disruptions. Listening to mission experts early to mitigate risk and anticipate issues, political appointees have the ability to identify ways to increase organizational resilience.
A key transition stage is an agency review, conducted by the administration transition team, highlights important issues and policies, and provides an overall assessment of the agency. These assessments often require a transition briefing, which provides a detailed understanding of the agency’s mission and presents prospective appointees with lists of priorities and policies that the new administration may wish to pursue.
Agencies are constantly evolving, and gathering current data for assessment is a constant challenge. To mitigate these roadblocks, transition teams must issue required data calls as early as possible in the transition process. Details always change, but processes – such as updating information in regular intervals through agency portals like SharePoint and Microsoft Business Intelligence – are vital tools designed to ensure accurate, up-to-date information. Automated processes like dashboards that help aggregate data save valuable time and enable leadership to make data-driven decisions.
Transition can divert career staff from their jobs before and after Inauguration Day, as they must support new appointees and temporarily fill leadership roles. Experienced contract staff dedicated to transition can provide these career employees with the flexibility to support incoming appointees while continuing their regular missions.
Transitions are stressful, but if an agency prepares itself by adopting these practices, the benefits will last long after transition and strengthen institutional resilience as a whole. An intentional focus on building organizational resilience and reinforcing a mission-focused culture can be a bellwether for long-term resilience.