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Have you ever struggled with accomplishing, getting through, or getting started on something that you wanted to do? Many of us do. Often times we come up with an idea that we’re passionate about or that we know we can do but are hesitant to actually go through with it for fear we may fail or not have the drive or motivation to see it through.
In Ken Blanchard’s latest book, Fit at Last, Ken and fitness authority, Tim Kearin, follow Ken’s personal journey to improve his health and fitness. This quick read applies the battle with getting healthy and losing weight, something many of us can relate to, as an example of how sticking to a goal and making it happen can provide a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and happiness. Whether your goal is to get healthy, like Ken, start a business, or complete a major project at work, these six principles can keep you grounded as you tackle your goal.
Principle 1: Have Compelling Reasons and a Purpose
Figuring out what motivates you to make something a goal in the first place is the first principle that will set the stage to accomplishing your goal. Why do you want to do this? How will the outcome make you feel? What are the benefits that you will realize after this goal is met? If the goal is work related, find out whether or not your goal is aligned with your agency’s goals.
Principle 2: Establish a Mutual Commitment to Success
It’s tough to go it alone on any goal or task. Find someone who you care about, wants to see you succeed, and who can keep you motivated and remind you of why you started on this path in the first place. It is also important that you trust this person and value the feedback and support they can provide to you. Setting a mutual agreement that benefits both parties involved is a great way to not only hold you to your commitment, it also makes you want to accomplish your goal to reap the rewards once you reach your target.
Principle 3: Learn About Situational Leadership® II
Situational Leadership II (SLII) is a model that employs one common language and process for growing great leaders. It is a program that teaches leaders to analyze, diagnose, think, and apply leadership concepts effectively to reach their goals. SLII guides individuals at each developmental level, both business and personal, they encounter in every situation. When you have a clear understanding of your goal, your level of development, and the right leadership or support that helps you accomplish your objective, you increase your commitment, motivation, and productivity toward that task.
Principle 4: Develop Appropriate Goals
Jumping in and tackling a goal without carefully planning out your strategy can lead to burn-out and failure. Take the time to assess the goal and set some action items that will outline how you can accomplish each task. Making your goals SMART can also help you monitor your progress along the way. Evaluate where you are at certain points so you can have a clear vision of how you are progressing in your goal.
Principle 5: Set up a Support System to Hold You Accountable
It’s inevitable that you’ll struggle at some point on your quest to accomplish your goal. When this occurs, it’s important to have a support system to keep you on track toward success. Whether it be a spouse, friend, or coworker at your agency, establish regular check-ins with this person or group to report on your progress. Again, trust is important here since you need to value the feedback that you receive from your support group in order to actually apply it.
Principle 6: Have Measurable Milestones to Stay Motivated
Anyone can become disengaged if they feel that they are not making progress on a goal or task. Setting specific milestones, big or small, will remind you of each success and how far you’ve come. Setting mini rewards along the way is another way to make your journey fun. Rewarding yourself suddenly turns your hard work into something that doesn’t even feel like work at all.
What other strategies do you use to stick to your goals and commit to your commitments?
In 1967, President Johnson signed an executive order that provided agency leaders and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the presidential guidance on how training programs should be implemented at government agencies. The order requires OPM to support agencies in developing adequate training programs and to provide assistance with planning, programming, budgeting, operating, and evaluating training programs. Specifically, leaders working in OPM’s Training and Executive Development (TED) Group offer direction on how to implement training programs within agencies, as well as, provide counsel to ensure that those training programs support strategic human capital investments. In fact, OPM created five guides that agencies can use to reference when deciding on specific training programs for their staff. These guides include Human Resources Reporting, Training Evaluation Field Guide, Draft Training Policy Handbook, Collection and Management of Training Information, and Strategically Planning Training and Measuring Results.
Many struggles that federal agencies are facing today include building and maintaining the talent pool of employees, preparing the next generation of leaders, and bridging the gap of multigenerational workers. Overcoming these challenges requires appropriate training programs and government leaders must know how to implement that training in order to achieve the agency’s mission. Below is a list of eight best training practices that the United States Government Accountability Office recommends all agencies implement in order to support effective training investment decisions.
Practice 1: (a) Identify the appropriate level of investment to provide for training and development efforts and (b) prioritize funding so that the most important training needs are addressed first.
Practice 2: Identify the most appropriate mix of centralized and decentralized approaches for its training and development programs.
Practice 3: Consider government-wide reforms and other targeted initiatives to improve management and performance when planning its training and development programs.
Practice 4: Have criteria for determining whether to design training and development programs in-house or obtain these services from a contractor or other external source.
Practice 5: Compare the merits of different delivery mechanisms (such as classroom or computer-based training) and determine what mix of mechanisms to use to ensure efficient and cost-effective delivery.
Practice 6: Track the cost and delivery of its training and development programs agency wide.
Practice 7: Evaluate the benefits achieved through training and development programs, including improvements in individual and agency performance:
(a) Has a formal process for evaluating employee satisfaction with training.
(b) Has a formal process for evaluating improvement in employee performance after training.
(c) Has a formal process for evaluating the impact of training on the agency’s performance goals and mission.
Practice 8: Compare training investments, methods, or outcomes with those of other organizations to identify innovative approaches or lessons learned.
Source: GAO analysis based on prior GAO reports, other related expert studies, and federal training requirements.
How many of the practices listed above has your agency put into practice?
On September 26th, several agency leadership training developers will be discussing the training initiatives that are working within their agency and how you can fund and implement a training program in your agency. Learn more about how you can join and participate in that conversation.
Do you have more trust in your local corner store owner than you do in the Federal Government? Would you have more confidence in the ability of private businesses solving national problems in our country? The 2012 Public Affairs Pulse survey, released yesterday by the nonpartisan Public Affairs Council and conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found that to be true among the majority of Americans. The state of our nation has given the American people cause for concern. When will we see positive strides in the economy? Whose responsibility is it to boost the unemployment rate? Will our next president make the changes the public is demanding?
Sixty-seven percent of Americans have a favorable view of major companies versus forty-one percent having a favorable view of the federal government. In fact, more folks agree that private businesses should take on solving many of the national problems facing this great country, rather than have the government continue to try to resolve them.
- 72% say private organizations should provide community services such as food banks, free clinics and job training for the poor.
- 68% believe that businesses should take on more responsibility for improving the quality and affordability of health care.
- 66% feel that improving the quality of education is in better hands of private organizations than the governments.
- 62% think that businesses would have more of an impact on relief efforts such as floods, tornadoes and earthquakes.
Although the findings from this survey have increased slightly from last year on issues like the economy and regulation, the overall favorability of our government is still not very positive.
How can we improve American’s opinion of our government? Could private businesses make more headway in solving some of our country’s problems? Is it our nation’s leaders that should bear the brunt of this crisis? According to Jack Bowsher, author of Educating Votes for Rebuilding America, the answer is yes. Bowsher says, “all the problems facing our country resulted from decisions made by political leaders in past administrations.” However, all hope is not lost. Jack also believes that these bad decisions can be turned around by political leaders that will step-up in the future. Exactly how that will happen is yet to be seen, according to the American people.
The first amendment allows Americans the right to free speech, an establishment of religion, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government. In the past, petitioning the government was somewhat of a daunting task. In order for more Americans to be heard on topics that are near and dear to them, the Obama administration created We the People, a platform that allows Americans to create and sign petitions that, if enough signatures are collected, has the chance to be reviewed by the White House staff and receive an official response. The overall purpose of the platform is for government to address important topics the American people would like to see changed.
Lately, the platform has been getting unfavorable reviews regarding the lack of response to the petitions that have been accumulating on the site since its inception in September 2011. Originally, the Obama Administration promised that any posted petition to receive 5,000 signatures would be reviewed and an official response would be issued. After an overwhelming response, the signature requirement was increased to 25,000 back in October 2011. There are currently approximately one-third of the petitions that date back to the first two weeks of the site launch that are still waiting for a promised response from the White House.
Many companies have open forums or launch surveys to gain feedback from their employees about the state of their business or impending changes. Implementing a way for employees to make their voice heard gets individuals involved in shaping the organization and any changes that may incur. This involvement helps raise morale and motivation for employees to adopt those changes. Subject matter experts on leading change, Pat Zigarmi and Judd Hoekstra, developed a change model to help leaders successfully overcome a typically complicated process. This change model promotes nine strategies and outcomes when dealing with change:
- Expand Involvement and Influence
- Select and Align the Leadership Team
- Explain the Business Case for Change
- Envision the Future
- Experiment to Ensure Alignment
- Enable and Encourage
- Execute and Endorse
- Embed and Extend
- Explore Possibilities
As I was learning about these strategies, I felt that the Obama Administration hit a bump in the road when it came to Stage 7, Execute and Encourage. This stage is for impact and collaboration concerns. One reason change initiatives fail is because those leading the change are not credible, they under-communicate, and give mixed messages. Execution on what the Administration promised back in September last year is critical. Without it, the petitions that Americans are posting on We the People just falls on deaf ears.
In order to improve performance management and efficiency, several federal agencies are using analytics to identify problems, identify progress, and share information and results. The Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for The Business of Government reviewed four agencies that are using data analysis to save money, improve services and more effectively achieve their goals. The agencies that were reviewed include Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Each of these agencies is actively using analytical tools to determine the success of specific programs they have implemented. The agencies highlighted in the study shared certain practices that they all used to gather data and turn the information into knowledge that improved their program results:
- Leaders focused on transparency, accountability and results.
- Staff had a clear line of sight from where they stood to the desired goals and outcomes.
- Agencies invested in technology, tools and talent.
- Agencies cultivated and leveraged partnerships across the agency and with partners who deliver services.
Equally as important as the analytical tools used to improve performance management is the leadership style and direction managers use with their direct reports.
Leaders play a critical role in communicating a clear vision, setting expectations and calling for accountability for results.
Oversupervising or undersupervising has a negative impact on people’s development. That’s why it’s so important to match leadership style to development level. This matching strategy is the essence of Situational Leadership II®, a leadership model that delivers an effective approach to managing and motivating people. It opens communication and fosters a partnership between the leaders and the people the leader supports and depends on. SLII is based on the beliefs that people can and want to develop and there is no best leadership style to encourage that development. You should tailor leadership style to the situation.
Check out this fun video, narrated by Ken Blanchard, about how the right leadership can make a world of difference in your agency’s success.
You can also access the study on how agencies are using analytics to measure performance management and improve program success.
It’s very common for things to be out of date or expire and it’s up to us to update or renew those things that have a limited shelf life, like your computer, the latest app and even the gallon of milk in your fridge. But what happens when your training program becomes outdated? Who is responsible for updating training resources?
Luckily for government agencies, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a Training Evaluation Guide that outlines regulations and best practices to assist agency leaders in evaluating their training programs and initiatives. According to the guide, the main purpose of evaluating your agency’s training program is to make good use of the agency’s resources, determine whether the current training is effective, and make adjustments to the programs, as needed.
Five key factors drive the efforts of this guide:
1. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management Training Evaluation Regulations – 2009 OPM regulations require agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs. These regulations form the foundation for this field guide, and will increase the contribution of training to agency mission effectiveness.
2. Accountability – Expectations for wise and documented use of training dollars are higher than ever. Clear connections between effective funding usage and agency outcomes are expected.
3. The Open Government Initiative – The current administration has put an emphasis on government accountability. It has detailed a mandate that government spending and related outcomes be made transparent to the public.
4. Training in the Federal Government – Within the Federal Government where mission accomplishment is vital and change is the only constant—training, and the effective evaluation of training, is critical.
5. The Federal Chief Learning Officers Council – This group of high level federal government learning leaders has made it a priority to accomplish the previous three factors, and have committed their time and resources to collectively make it happen.
High performing agencies are constantly focusing on improving their capabilities through learning systems, building knowledge capital, and transferring learning throughout the organization. These agencies seek knowledge about the work environment and employee performance. They treat mistakes and failures as important data, recognizing that they often can lead to breakthroughs.
How does your agency’s training program measure up?
The Best Places to Work results were posted today and topping the charts is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Following the NRC, in the 2nd and 3rd best place to work in the federal government, is the Government Accountability Office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The survey, conducted by the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation (ISPPI), was sent to over 263,000 civil servants to determine employee satisfaction and commitment across 290 federal agencies. The agencies are scored in a number of categories including training and development, effective leadership, teamwork, and strategic management.
An analysis of the results showed that, for the fifth time in a row, leadership was the main reason why many of the agencies’ overall scores greatly improved. The results from the leadership category reflect how much importance employees place on having effective leadership throughout the agency.
How can agencies improve an individual’s commitment and performance within an organization? A whitepaper on employee passion published by The Ken Blanchard Companies includes eight factors that reflect on what employees need to create a positive emotional state of mind.
So how is your agency improving passion in the workplace?