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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 the Best Intentions Lead to Disaster

As the Department of Veterans Affairs begins the long, difficult and expensive process of addressing the problems that led to its scandal over falsified wait times for veterans seeking medical appointments, government managers who want to keep their own enterprises out of the same kind trouble would do well to look at the elements that brought the VA down.

At the heart of the VA scandal is the falsification of records in the face of a huge surge in veterans needing care and insufficient resources to serve them. One study by federal auditors found that, while official VA reports claimed that some vets waited 24 days for an appointment, the average wait time was actually 115 days. And there is another, equally troubling aspect to the scandal: the harsh reprisals to which VA workers who tried to report wrongdoing were subjected.

At the core, I think the VA’s problems were driven by two factors: the misuse of performance measures and an agency culture that didn’t respect candor.

On the performance-measures problem, VA leaders made an understandable and common mistake. To get employees’ attention, they put a huge emphasis on a single measure: All vets will have an appointment at a health clinic within 14 days of their request. Given the mismatch of demand and resources, there was no way the staff could achieve that laudable goal. Nor did the goal make sense: Vets with serious problems should be seen immediately, while it’s reasonable for those seeking an annual checkup to wait several weeks or more. Further, many supervisors’ bonuses depended on the performance numbers. Put these factors together — one all-important but unreachable goal, with one’s pay riding on the outcome — and it was a disaster waiting to happen. ...

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.


Russ's Most Recent columns on management innovations posted on the Public Manager website.


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
e-mail:russlinden@earthlink.net

Website updated: March 28, 2013

PowerPoints updated: March 18, 2009