Leadership Readiness for New Realities

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
7:30am - 4:45pm
Grand Ballroom, 3rd Floor, Marvin Center, George Washington University, 800 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
7:30am Reception Desk Opens
7:45am Continental Breakfast
8:15am Welcome
Marc Flaster, FEIAA President
Katherine Archuleta, Director, Office of Personnel Management (Invited)
9:00am Six Trends Driving Change in Government
John M. Kamensky, Senior Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government
Today, government is in the midst of significant changes that have both near-term consequences and lasting impact. Such changes become more complex in nature and more uncertain in effect. At the same time, government leaders face major challenges, including: fiscal austerity, citizen expectations, the pace of technology and innovation, and a new role for governance.

These challenges influence how government executives lead today, and, more importantly, how they can prepare for the future. The IBM Center for The Business of Government has identified a set of trends that correspond to these challenges and drive change in government. These trends—both separately and in combination—paint a path forward in responding to the ever-increasing complexity that government executives face today and into the future.  These trends include:

• Performance. New laws, policies, technologies and techniques are changing how government improves performance by providing incen¬tives to use evidence-based approaches in decision-making.

• Risk. Risk takes on many forms: national security, economic, budget and program, and privacy.  However government leaders lack an accepted culture and framework to properly manage, incorporate, and communicate risk as part of program operations.

• Innovation. Government executives must be able to articulate the value of innovation within their agencies, align innovation efforts to agencies’ mission, and tap into innovators beyond government.

• Mission.  Mission support functions have professionalized and centralized in recent years, but they need to better align with mission delivery leaders in order to add value.

• Efficiency.  The visible results of efficiency are best fostered via transparency in current costs and their ability to document and retain savings to continue mission achievement.

• Leadership.  Successful government leaders must go beyond established parameters and institutional strictures, working across organizational boundaries in pursuit of multilayered, networked approaches tailored to a specific challenge.
10:30am Networking Break
10:45am Crisis Leadership: Leading When the Levee Breaks
Matthew Stafford, PhD, Dean of Faculty, Federal Executive Institute
In describing his presentation, Stafford says, “Anton Chekhov wrote, ‘Any idiot can face a crisis—it’s day-to-day living that wears you out!’ While I do not necessarily agree with Chekhov’s view on facing crises, he does have a point about the difficulties of our day-to-day working environments! Quite often the struggles we face in those environments can be draining—and straining!”

Stafford’s discussion will help participants to lead successfully even in routine situations. He will begin the session by taking an objective, academic stance at what constitutes a crisis. “I will meld this with some analysis of how crises can affect us personally. Knowing how humans react in general and how we react specifically to crises is crucial to leading successfully in such situations,” Stafford says.

From this discussion, he will broaden the perspective to look at a proven model for leading effectively in crises. Some authors call the model the Five Key Tasks of Crisis Leadership. They are sense making, decision making, meaning-making, terminating, and learning. “[By] leveraging historical examples, we will analyze these five steps, discovering what has worked and what has failed in the past,” Stafford says.
12:15pm Luncheon and Networking Break
Suzanne Logan, PhD, Director, Federal Executive Institute
1:45pm Lead the Way through the Permanent White Water
Warren Blank, PhD, Founder and President, The Leadership Group, and Adjunct Faculty Member, Federal Executive Institute
Leading is about gaining willing followers, and organizations need leaders at all levels because of the reality that we live in “permanent white water.” Change, ambiguity, and uncertainty are constant forces faced by today’s organizations. Holding on to, “The way we have always done it,” and, “I’m in charge, so do it my way,” do not work in this climate of chaos. Taking the lead in permanent white water is everybody’s business.

Effective leaders adopt an expansive and inclusive, wide-angle lens awareness to better understand their environment and to be able to chart a course through the white water. Such leaders model and create “culture roots” that engage, empower, and entrain all organizational members to “think like owners.” This means all members recognize the need to adapt to change and to lead at their level through the forces of change. Successful leaders also work the “fundamentals” of accountability, collaboration, and transparency by relying on influence beyond authority to establish a foundation of stability in turbulent times. 

The program includes a multi-media PowerPoint presentation, small and large group activities, video segments to illustrate key content points, and field tested “action ideas” so that participants can directly apply the program and realize “take home value” from their investment of time at the session.


Upon completion of this program participants are able to:

1. Go into the G.A.P. (Gain Another Perspective) to gain both a “long-view” and a locally focused perspective about the change landscape and to proactively chart a course through change.

2. Recognize the paradox of change responses: people can be ready, reluctant, and resistant.

3. Assess one’s degree of “change readiness.”

4. Engage and empower the “change ready” to proactively respond to change.

5. Entrain with the change reluctant and resistant to move them through change and maximize the formation of a change ready culture.

6. Recognize the “leadership limit:” no one can be forced to follow and there are always risks navigating through white water.

7. Rely upon key “fundamentals:” accountability (We have to “count on” each other), collaboration (“We all have to “co-labor”), and transparency (“No one has the “one-way, right” answers).

8. Apply the “action ideas” presented in the program.
3:15pm Networking Break
3:30pm Lead the Way through the Permanent White Water (con't.)
Warren Blank, PhD, Founder and President, The Leadership Group, and Adjunct Faculty Member, Federal Executive Institute
4:45pm Concluding Remarks
Marc Flaster, FEIAA President