Affordable Care Act website flaws

You can’t build a castle without a solid foundation.

Similarly, you can’t expect the Affordable Care Act to succeed without first building an effective organization and strong leadership team, or the Department of Defense (DoD) to achieve audit readiness without first implementing effective policy management, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement an electronic health record system without first improving internal policies and practices.

The Affordable Care Act and its website is not the only federal program failing the public.

In the 2012 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Financial Report, agency leadership recognized 35 material weaknesses and stated, “many of our systems are old and handle or exchange information in ways that do not readily support strong financial management.”

A recent investigation shows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) spent at least $1.3 billion during the last four years trying unsuccessfully to develop a single electronic health-records system between the two departments — leaving veterans’ disability claims to continue piling up in paper files across the country.

The federal government has used taxpayer dollars to deploy a number of resources to oversee federal programs that could be leveraged to foster a high-performance culture, including:
– Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey
– Office of Special Counsel (OSC) E-Filing System
– Performance.gov
– Regulations.gov
– Federal Code of Ethics

Unfortunately, these resources do not share information. Consolidating these resources would make it possible to implement and maintain a high performance culture throughout the federal government to better serve the public.

Several members of the U.S. Congress that have expressed an interest in consolidating federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, including:
1. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Michael Brownlie (Michael.Brownlie@mail.house.gov)
2. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, Blake Anderson (Blake.Anderson@mail.house.gov)
3. Rep. Todd Young, Trevor Foughty (Trevor.Foughty@mail.house.gov)
4. Rep. John Barrow, Jonathan Arogeti (Jonathan.Arogeti@mail.house.gov)
5. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Dylan Beesley (Dylan.Beesley@mail.house.gov)
6. Rep. Dan Lipinski, Frank Pigulski (Frank.Pigulski@mail.house.gov)
7. Rep. Jackie Speier, Mandy Smithberger (Mandy.Smithberger@mail.house.gov)
8. Senator Michael Bennet, Margot Beausey (Margot_Beausey@bennet.senate.gov)
9. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Devin Rhinerson (Devin_Rhinerson@feinstein.senate.gov)

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing,” Theodore Roosevelt.

A High Performance Culture of Compliance

In 2008, Harvard Business School Professor Robert S. Kaplan and his Palladium Group colleague David P. Norton wrote The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage. They outline six stages in their management system:
1. Develop the strategy
2. Plan the strategy
3. Align the organization
4. Plan operations
5. Monitor and learn
6. Test and adapt

Within every organization, decision making drives performance. Every employee comes to work every day and makes decisions that impact performance.

The workplace has many temptations that employees must resist, from the petty impulse to claim credit for someone else’s work, to the unscrupulous lapse of lying in a negotiation, to the criminal act of misrepresenting financial numbers.

These decisions, at every level of the organization, define the corporate culture.

Using Kaplan and Norton’s work as a guide, a proactive leadership team can follow a process to maintain a high performance culture of compliance.

Step 1: Visualize the strategy.
Step 2: Communicate strategy.
Step 3: Identify strategic projects.
Step 4: Align projects with strategy.
Step 5: Align individual roles and provide incentives.
Step 6: Manage projects.
Step 7: Make decisions.
Step 8: Measure the strategy.
Step 9: Report progress.
Step 10: Reward performance.

One of the critical steps is to align individual roles and provide incentives that encourage high performance and intraprenuership while enforcing rules and aligning decision making with the company’s goals and strategy.

No one likes surprises or having to air their dirty laundry in public.

The leadership team can deploy a number of tools to implement and maintain a high performance culture, including:
1) Effective policy management (utilizing an online policy library)
2) Employee assessment surveys
3) Performance Scorecards
4) Event management and reporting
5) Annual certificates to a Code of Conduct

With the right tools in place, board directors and the leadership team could have the actionable intelligence they need on an ongoing basis to gain confidence in their strategy, their CEO, and how well the organization is doing to execute the strategy.

Decision Making Drives Performance in Every Organization

I recently read an article by Arianna Huffington, “Restoring Our Faith in Leadership,” where she states, “… it’s clear that our current model of leadership sorely needs a refresh.”

Decision making drives performance in every organization.

Every employee comes to work every day and makes decisions that impact performance.

The workplace has many temptations that employees must resist, from the petty impulse to claim credit for someone else’s work, to the unscrupulous lapse of lying in a negotiation, to the criminal act of misrepresenting financial numbers.

These decisions define the corporate culture.

The leadership team must make use of every means available to them to influence and align every employee’s decisions with the goals of the organization to drive performance. Whether it’s JP Morgan, BP or federal programs such as the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy, etc.

Federal Reserve – a Demoralized Workforce

You can’t build a castle without a solid foundation. Similarly, you can’t expect Dodd-Frank reforms to succeed without first strengthening the regulatory community, or the Department of Defense to achieve audit readiness without first implementing effective policy management, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement an electronic health record system without first improving internal policies and practices.

A confidential survey of roughly 400 Federal Reserve employees shows a workforce that is demoralized, and an institution where teamwork is nonexistent, innovation and creativity are discouraged and employees feel underutilized.

According to the survey results, “employees in charge of spotting emerging risks are afraid to speak up,” and employees “tasked with spotting risks in the financial system also have little trust in their boss.” Further, “most say that top leaders are failing the organization, in part by not communicating honestly, and that employees are in the wrong jobs, or are poorly managed.”

Less than half of workers in the Fed policy unit agreed that the unit’s senior leaders “act in alignment with their organization’s core values or guiding principles.” Fewer than 40 percent said they are encouraged to be creative and innovative.

The federal government has used taxpayer dollars to deploy a number of resources to oversee federal programs that could be leveraged to foster a high-performance culture, including:
– Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey
– Office of Special Counsel (OSC) E-Filing System
– Performance.gov
– Regulations.gov
– Federal Code of Conduct

Within most federal agencies, human capital is woefully underutilized. In the aggregate, mismanagement leaves billions of dollars on the table in expenses that could have been saved – underscoring the need to link existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold middle-managers accountable for meeting performance targets.

Write your representatives in Washington today asking them to join with other members of the U.S. Congress to champion a legislative proposal to strengthen the foundation of the federal government by linking existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold leaders accountable for meeting performance targets.

Securities and Exchange Commission – Effective Policy Management

You can’t build a castle without a solid foundation. Similarly, you can’t expect Dodd-Frank reforms to succeed without first strengthening the regulatory community, or the Department of Defense to achieve audit readiness without first implementing effective policy management, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement an electronic health record system without first improving internal policies and practices.

In 2012, 687,000 out of 1.6 million federal employees responded to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.  Only about half (52%) of federal employees responding to the survey indicated that they were part of a results-oriented performance culture.

About 70% of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission employees responded to the survey.  Only about one in three (36%) of SEC employees responding to the survey indicated that they were satisfied with the policies and practices of their senior leaders.

In the Securities and Exchange Commission’s 2012 Financial Report, the Commission reported spending $552.3 million to foster and enforce compliance with federal securities laws while meeting or exceeding only 41% of its performance targets.

The federal government has used taxpayer dollars to deploy a number of resources to oversee federal programs that could be leveraged to foster a high-performance culture, including:

– Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

– Office of Special Counsel (OSC) E-Filing System

– Performance.gov

– Regulations.gov

– Federal Code of Conduct

Within most federal agencies, human capital is woefully underutilized.  In the aggregate, mismanagement leaves billions of dollars on the table in expenses that could have been saved – underscoring the need to link existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold middle-managers accountable for meeting performance targets.

Write your representatives in Washington today asking them to join with other members of the U.S. Congress to champion a legislative proposal to strengthen the foundation of the federal government by linking existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold leaders accountable for meeting performance targets.

False sense of security – Washington Navy Yard

You can’t build a castle without a solid foundation.  Similarly, you can’t safeguard military personnel, dependents and civilians at government installations without first improving security policies and practices; or the Department of Defense to achieve audit readiness without first implementing effective policy management.

A recent internal Pentagon report called into question how an access control system known as Rapidgate became widely used by the Navy through irregular acquisition practices, and urged its immediate cancellation, saying it provides a false sense of security that puts government personnel at risk.

The system is utilized at more than 150 military and government installations around the country, including the Washington Navy Yard, the site of the Sept. 16 shooting rampage.

According to a new audit by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the access control system “placed military personnel, dependents, civilians, and installations at an increased security risk.”  The Inspector General’s report recommended that the Navy scrap Rapidgate immediately.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, who chairs the Homeland Security’s financial and contracting oversight subcommittee, requested the OIG report in response to the complaint of a whistleblower about the access control system contract with the Navy in June 2012.

 

The federal government has used taxpayer dollars to deploy a number of resources to oversee federal programs that could be leveraged to foster a high-performance culture, including:

– Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

– Office of Special Counsel (OSC) E-Filing System

– Performance.gov

– Regulations.gov

– Federal Code of Conduct

Within most federal agencies, human capital is woefully underutilized.  In the aggregate, mismanagement leaves billions of dollars on the table in expenses that could have been saved – underscoring the need to link existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold middle-managers accountable for meeting performance targets.

Write your representatives in Washington today asking them to join with other members of the U.S. Congress to champion a legislative proposal to strengthen the foundation of the federal government by linking existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold leaders accountable for meeting performance targets.

Veterans Administration and DoD Electronic health records

You can’t build a castle without a solid foundation. Similarly, you can’t expect Dodd-Frank to succeed without first strengthening the regulatory community, or the Department of Defense to achieve audit readiness without first implementing effective policy management, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement an electronic health record system without first improving internal policies and practices.

A recent investigation shows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) spent at least $1.3 billion during the last four years trying unsuccessfully to develop a single electronic health-records system between the two departments — leaving veterans’ disability claims to continue piling up in paper files across the country.

This does not include $2 billion spent over the last few years on a failed upgrade to the DOD’s existing electronic health-records system.

The federal government has used taxpayer dollars to deploy a number of resources to oversee federal programs that could be leveraged to foster a high-performance culture, including:

– Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

– Office of Special Counsel (OSC) E-Filing System

– Performance.gov

– Regulations.gov

– Federal Code of Conduct

Within most federal agencies, human capital is woefully underutilized.  In the aggregate, mismanagement leaves billions of dollars on the table in expenses that could have been saved – underscoring the need to link existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold middle-managers accountable for meeting performance targets.

Write your representatives in Washington today asking them to join with other members of the U.S. Congress to champion a legislative proposal to strengthen the foundation of the federal government by linking existing federal resources to ensure that federal programs have the actionable intelligence they need to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, treat employees fairly, and hold leaders accountable for meeting performance targets.

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