5 reasons why 'groupthink' is good

Congress and Bush administration officials who make laws and policies might not hear a lone voice. But when groups voice their opinions, they create a chorus that often gets a hearing.

Many groups are worth joining, but if policy-making is your bag, here are five organizations you should consider.

1. Coalition for Government Procurement

The Coalition for Government Procurement, an industry group, exists to educate its members and influence policy. “We are multi-industry but singly focused on government procurement issues,” said Larry Allen, the coalition’s executive vice president.

2. Information Technology Association of America

The Information Technology Association of America represents the IT industry and lobbies for laws favorable to the industry. “Congress lately has become more and more involved in micromanaging the federal marketplace,” said Olga Grkavac, an executive vice president at ITAA. That makes advocacy on Capitol Hill more important.

The association has more than 325 corporate members ranging from start-ups to industry leaders. “Associations play a particularly valuable role in the public sector” by unifying the voice of industry, Grkavac said.

3. Performance Institute

The Performance Institute maintains a repository of performance-based government management practices. It conducts best practices research and evaluates strategies to solve organizations’ operational challenges. The institute offers consulting and training programs.

“There is always talk throughout government about accountability, transparency and reform,” said Carl DeMaio, the institute’s president. “But reform has to be more than rhetoric. It has to be real.”

4. Council for Excellence in Government

The Council for Excellence in Government’s mission is to build strong leadership and management in the public sector.

“We take a collaborative approach in bringing together leaders to move the ball down the field on critical challenges facing government,” said Patricia McGinnis, the council’s president and chief executive officer.

The group’s priorities include recruiting talented young people into government.

5. Telework Coalition

An increasing number of federal employees are teleworking, but many agency managers are reluctant to embrace the practice. The Telework Coalition lobbies for legislation to promote and improve telework, said Chuck Wilsker, president and CEO of the coalition.

Managers don’t always understand that teleworking is more than just working from home, Wilsker said. It is the ability for employees to do their jobs out of the office, which can free them for fieldwork away from the desk or make them more productive when bad weather or a disaster makes commuting to the office impossible.

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