The Feds Tackle the Leviathan – Org Design at the Federal Level

The Feds Tackle the Leviathan – Org Design at the Federal Level

While private companies are always evolving to meet the changing needs of the marketplace, government rarely re-organizes.  With captive customers and guaranteed tax revenues, government agencies are inoculated from the business pressures that encourage design thinking in the private sector.  It takes visionary leadership and strong business acumen on the part of government executives to overcome stagnant organizational thinking.  We have that here in Nebraska and have succeeded making government more efficient and customer focused by combining agencies.

                Now led by a President with a business background, the Federal government is proposing a re-organization of its own.  Reform is long overdue.  Not since the Department of Homeland Security was created by combining agencies with a domestic law enforcement and security mission has a comprehensive re-org taken place.  The lack of consistent focus on this issue leads to redundancy of effort, inefficiency of administrative support, and inconsistent constituent service delivery.  The Administration’s plan would overcome that by consolidating similar agencies, reducing administrative overhead, and privatizing some services.

                The plan has its opponents in Congress.  This illustrates one of the key obstacles to re-orgs in government.  Even with a solid business case for change special interest groups and territorial legislators can oppose reform for political reasons.  Stakeholder engagement and change management are even more important to successful government re-orgs than they are in the private sector.

                It can be done though!  In Nebraska we just hit the 1 year anniversary of the creation of our Department of Transportation.  Once the bill was passed the hard work of operationally managing the merger began.  Now with one year in the books the Nebraska DOT is delivering comprehensive infrastructure support with great results for tax-payers and commuters.  Proving that while reorganization in government is hard, the pay-off for those we’re serving is worth it.

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