Putting the Mission First in a Leader’s Agency Reform Plan
Agency leaders have more than a little to do these days.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance for implementing Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda on Federal management and human capital. The Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce (M-17-22) directs agencies to create comprehensive plans to enhance mission focus, streamline operations, and improve workforce effectiveness and efficiency.
This memo directs agencies to develop an Agency Reform Plan (ARP) to maximize agency and employee performance and reduce the workforce in the long-term. By the end of June. These plans fit into an overarching management framework that aligns an agency’s mission, the strategy chosen to accomplish that mission, the essential functions needed to implement that strategy, and the resources required to perform those functions.
OMB directs agencies to document the links as they perform their ARP analyses. By doing so, it becomes possible to look across agencies and see overlaps and common resources. These become the top opportunities for finding efficiencies, including deduplication of functions and using shared services to meet multiple agencies’ needs.
So where does a leader start? Here are some ways for executives to make the most of this process:
- Define the benefits their organization uniquely delivers to the nation. Scope creep is a natural tendency that arises from an endlessly interconnected world – every agency’s mission connects to dozens of others. That is not a justification for taking on some pieces of those other missions. Instead, it makes it that much more critical for each part of the government to focus on what they do best as part of the overall team. The approach laid out in M-17-22 offers a way to do just that
- Documenting the costs and benefits of programs isn’t just about satisfying the requirements of a memo – it is a key institutional culture that treats public spending as serious investments requiring business cases and measures of success. The government has long faced challenges in systematically tracking the benefits its programs provide, but the ARP provides an impetus to push ahead with this important cultural change
- Many industries are moving to a “fail fast” model in which companies prototype, pilot, and discard or adopt a steady stream of initiatives. Government has largely not embraced this approach, hindered by attachment to programs and a sense that any abandoned effort was a waste of public funds. The requirement to assess program efficiency and effectiveness as part of the ARP can pave the way for leaders to build a more entrepreneurial and flexible culture within their organizations. They can accept the sunk costs of ineffective programs and move on with more innovative approaches
- A customer service mentality can be difficult to build within an organization, especially when few employees personally interact with customers daily. Experts agree, however, that empathizing with customers and centering programs around their needs plays a major role in satisfaction and ultimate success. The ARP can focus an entire agency around that priority
As a strategy and human capital consulting firm, Arc Aspicio is already getting questions from Government leaders on creating Agency Reform Plans. Plans must align with the agency’s strategy and make a compelling business case for the critical functions and resources it needs to deliver unique benefits to the public.
Leaders have a wealth of resources at their disposal, including experienced employees at all levels, counterparts at other agencies, and outside consultants with in depth mission knowledge and expertise in implementing strategic change.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.