I guarantee that the Federal Government will be different in the future. Besides the fight for ideological direction and political power, there are 6 trends that will change this landscape. They are systemic challenges that at 8,000 Federal Executives will respond to in the near future–and their response will change the Government.
Budget Reduction. Regardless of the policies or methods employed to downsize the budget, all programs are on notice to reduce spending. Budgets will be smaller, and offices will have to perform their mission at the levels expected of them by their stakeholders. Leaders will have to be prudent about how they use contractors, consultants, equipment, and training.
Performance Accountability. Since the passing of the Government Performance and Reporting Act of 1993, agencies have sought streamlined ways to plan, organize, execute, and report performance within and across programs. Now, with the 2010 Modernization Act to GPRA, 152 changes are in the pipeline and it will affect the information tied to performance analysis and public awareness.
Workforce Development. A third of the Federal workforce is eligible to retire. Talent, information, and know-how can walk out the door, and the existing workforce is in desperate need of a reemergence of performance leadership, where every individual is aware and motivated to enhance the organizations’ performance–not more bureaucracy by the numbers.
Cost Controls. The many costs of doing business are not visible, and yet the total cost of running government offices is driving up the total operational expenses. Offices need routine ways of examining the policies and behaviors that affect costs in energy, property, transportation, and outsourcing–as the budgets shrink, the pressure to account for every penny rises.
Mobile Productivity. Telework is encouraged in the laws and agency policies, and many government functions require mobility; however, nobody knows how to keep productivity in workers who are out of sight. The pressure is on to find technological means of increasing productivity, regardless of where the worker is located, including means of concentration, engagement, computing convenience, and rapid communications.
Localized Innovation. The Federal government is a very large enterprise, with desperate expertise; and yet, we have few means of normalizing conditions for innovation. The entire workforce is held back by the difficulties of sharing insights, testing enhancements, and learning from each other and how we redesign our work structures. A discipline for innovation is necessary–very necessary.
The future of the Federal Government is in the hands of a few leaders. As they respond to these systemic challenges, we will see the trajectory of the bureaucracy–will it become a heavy or light structure–a growth or stagnation of performance capability?