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Russ Linden & Associates is a management education and consulting firm, providing services that support organizational performance and change.

We offer open enrollment workshops as well as customized programs in such areas as collaboration, creating a customer-focused organization, the human side of change, and organizational learning.

Russ Linden's Management Columns:

Russ is one of a group of authors who write columns for the "Management Insights" series. These weekly columns are published online by Governing Magazine, and by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. To see all of Russ's past columns, click on the Governing cover to the right.

Here's his latest column:

When Performance Measures Go Horribly Wrong

They have a powerful influence. But unrealistic, unreachable goals can produce unethical behavior..

After the scandal erupted over the creation by Wells Fargo employees of more than 2 million bogus bank accounts, for which customers were charged over $2.5 million in unwarranted fees, the bank’s CEO claimed that it never wanted the accounts created, that it had fired 5,300 employees who were involved, and that he was “fully committed to … fix the issue and strengthen our culture.”

But here’s the problem: What happened at Wells Fargo wasn’t about culture. Nor was it about unethical employees, or about one senior executive who oversaw the program that led to these abuses (and walked away with an exit package worth over $100 million). No, this was a case of super-aggressive daily sales goals that were almost impossible to reach and where failure to reach them could lead to firings. As one expert on white-collar crime asserted, “This wouldn’t have happened without pressure from the top.”

We’ve seen this movie over and over in the public sector. Teachers and administrators in several public school systems have been caught correcting students answers on high-stakes tests, as a reaction to the enormous pressure they felt to improve student performance. In one of the worst cases, in 2011, an investigation found that 178 teachers and administrators in Atlanta’s schools had corrected student responses on standardized tests. Several of them went to jail.

The same kind of unethical behavior occurred on a wide scale at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, again because of high-stakes goals that were virtually impossible to meet. Supervisors directed front-line staff to cook the books to make it appear that all vets received a medical appointment within 14 days of requesting it — the department’s all-important performance measure. The huge number of troops who had been injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan made it impossible for the VA to treat all vets so quickly. But there was intense pressure to do so, and that led hundreds of department staff and supervisors to falsify appointment records. ...

For the full column, click here and for a complete list of columns, click the GOVERNING cover on the right.

Russ' Management Columns are now posted on his blog where you can also sign up to receive his columns as a quarterly email. See directions for signing up on the blog-site, to the right under Russ' photo.

For A Good Read Try:

"The Trusted Leader"

Most government agencies are filled with "technocrats"- employees with strong technical skills who are most comfortable working on the operational aspects of thier jobs. It sometimes takes years before they learn what Bob Stripling, a long-time city manager, discovered. As Bob puts it, "The longer I work in this business, the more I realize that it's fundamentally about managing relationships."

That's one of the key themes running through "The Trusted Leader". It shows how managers and leaders in government are finding ways to build trust, work across boundaries, and connect with a variety of stakeholders. Russ is pleased as both a contributer to this book, and a teacher in this field, to recommend this title as an insightful aid to those looking to broaden thier understanding in this area. For more on this new title, as well as ordering information, click on the cover below.

The Trusted Leader

 

Russ' latest book, is available
at the following location:

....copies are also available at Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble.

What People Are Saying About

Leading Across Boundaries


Russ's Most Recent Columns on Management in Governing Magazine.


New PowerPoint:

The Art of Implementation


Previous Book:
Working Across Boundaries

What People Are
Saying About

Working Across Boundaries

 


Are you a "Collaborative Leader"?

Collaborative leaders understand how to lead as a peer (not only as a superior). They know that many of their most important projects require cooperation from people over whom they have no formal authority. Thus, they use the art of influence to gain cooperation. Read Russ's article on collaborative leadership, which appeared in the summer, 2003 issue of the Leader to Leader journal. Click here to see the article in its entirety.


"The Quest to Become 'One' "- A Report by Russ Linden*

Have you ever wondered,"How do I get all of the employees to start pulling in the same direction?" "Why do some managers still make it thier career strategy to hoard information instead of sharing it?" "Why is it difficult for the workforce to see the big picture?"

In recent years, several large federal organizations have tried to answer these questions through initiatives aimed at getting all of thier untis to work as "one". This report describes three such efforts in detail, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Transportation, and NASA. Each used different approaches, but they undertook their initiatives for the same reasons: their customers demanded it, ans they couldn't succeed as fragmented entities.

This paper examines what it means for large public agencies to work in an integrated way, across the hurdles faced in doing so, the strategies that seem to work well, and some lessons learned.

read more >

* This report was published by the IBM Center for Business of Government. You can learn more about ths Center at: www.businessofgovernment.org.


Location:
336 Parkway Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Contact:
Phone: (434) 978-7775
email:russlinden1946@gmail.com

Website updated: November 16, 2016

PowerPoints updated: March 18, 2009