Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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Advice for a new generation of feds -- and reminders for the rest

Young government leaders converged in Washington, D.C. July 28 to attend the first day of the Next Generation of Government Summit.

The two-day conference includes sessions aimed at helping those leaders tackle issues in their daily lives. I attended a couple of the sessions and found that much of the advice offered was applicable to feds at any stage of their career.

Here are some ideas that I thought were particularly interesting and useful.

  • Discuss ways to be innovative

Patrick Ibarra, cofounder and partner of the management and consulting firm Mejorando Group, said innovation is one of the primary elements for moving a career forward. He suggested that feds get rid of the employee suggestion box at their agencies and instead pose the question, “What more could we do to be innovative?”

He said the question should be publicly displayed in the break room on a bulletin or white board so that fellow employees can respond. This is one way to get the discussion started.

  • Create an idea wall

Ibarra also said that feds might want to create an “idea wall” where employees can post work-related suggestions for improvement. It only takes one employee to move beyond the thought phase and start executing.

  • Pick your capstone
  • Frank DiGiammarino, deputy coordinator for recovery implementation at the White House, said feds should pick a specific job they want to do in a specific time horizon, which he called a “capstone.”

Then, he said, create a matrix with the skills that it takes to do that job and mark whether you are good at, not good at, like, or don’t like those skills to understand why you are pursuing the job. The “why” is important, especially during interviews, he said.

  • Figure out what you do best

DiGiammarino said after people figure out what they are best at doing, they should be able to declare it to anyone. In order to achieve such clarity, he suggested that feds do the following: be open to new ideas, have advisors, talk to themselves, ask question and be brutally honest. 

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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