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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:

The Difficult Art of Responding to Public Criticism

When accusations are flying or scandal erupts, it's crucial to get the initial response right.

How do you respond when your agency or jurisdiction is called out for poor performance, terrible customer service or even scandal? When the charges are false, how do you correct the record without appearing defensive? When there's some truth to the allegations, how do you regain public trust (and fix the problem)? This is far more art than science, but one thing is for certain: Nothing is more important than your initial response.

First, some tips on how not to respond. Don't blame the messenger, minimize the problem or circle the wagons. That only raises suspicions. At the same time, it's important not to accept the criticism at face value; you need time to investigate what happened. If there is some truth to the allegations, you'll need to address the problem and recover from the bad press. Don't make matters worse by issuing initial responses you'll need to correct later.

And it usually doesn't help to fire (or transfer to bureaucratic Siberia) a staff member who had major responsibility for the problem, although there's often great pressure to do so.

The University of Virginia experienced some high-profile events in recent years that raised doubts about the prestigious public university's truthfulness and priorities. UVa's initial responses during two of these events offer guidance in both how and how not to respond to public criticism.

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.

336 Parkway Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Phone: (434) 978-7775

Website updated: August 5, 2016

PowerPoints updated: March 18, 2009