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Forum on Modernizing Government: Streamlining Operations 2

Forum on Modernizing Government: Streamlining Operations 2

Bill Lynn:
We’re as close to a forum as you get in Washington. So why don’t I kick it off and thank everyone
for coming. I certainly look forward to the discussion. I’m going to just give a few opening
remarks and ask Mike to lay out a little bit of the background on some of the data, and
then really kick it over to you all. First of all, I guess I should say who I am, I’m
Bill Lynn, I’m at the Department of Defense, the deputy secretary. I’ve kind of done a
hat trick, I had started in Congress, I worked for Senator Kennedy. It was terrific being
in Congress because you could blame essentially everything on the Department of Defense and
the executive branch that was a comfortable place to be. And then I went to the Department
of Defense in the Clinton administration for eight years as CFO and Director of Strategic
Planning. And that was great, because you get to blame Congress; you quickly discover
that Congress is really the reason for all the problems. I left the department at the
end of the Clinton administration, went into private industry, was head of strategic planning
for Raytheon. There it’s great, because you get to blame Congress and the executive branch,
because you’re completely convinced those are the source of all problems. Well, now
I’m back at the Department of Defense and I don’t know who to blame. So I hope you all
will help actually solve the problems rather than find someone to blame. The — Mike DeMotto
here is going to be kind of our expert moderator. Mike is a senior advisor to Jeff (inaudible)
science and comes with 30 years of experience in consulting in the corporate world. In addition
to yourselves, we have several members of the administration; we have Lori Garver who
is the deputy administrator at NASA. Not in the administration, but an important partner,
Colleen Kelley, the long-time head of the National Treasury Employees Union. And I think
— I don’t see John Berry, Speaker:
He’s here, I’m sure he’ll show. Bill Lynn:
John is lost. And David Ogden, Deputy Attorney General is — as happens to us, is over at
the White House in an NSC meeting, so I’m not sure he’s going to be — um, be back with
us, unfortunately. Let me just cover some of the logistics. I asked — just asked Andrea
Wheat (phonetic), we need someone to report all our great ideas back to the group, and
I’ve asked Andrea to do that. And we’ll — Mike and I will spend a few minutes with
her at the — in between our session and the break to — going to try and establish what
our great ideas are. The goal here, though, is for — as the President talked about, is
for you to really help us stimulate our thinking on how we translate your best ideas, the ideas
that were most effective for you in your business into the government environment. Recognizing
that not everything is going to translate directly to scale, it’s quite different, the
structure is quite different, but we really do think there are a lot of — lot of commonalities,
and that’s, indeed, what we’re looking for. As the President mentioned, there was some
preparatory work I think all or almost all of you did, and I’m going to probably call
on some of you to — to ask you about — it’s going to be a little bit like (inaudible)
I went to law school, it’s going to be a little bit like law school, the Socratic method,
to be called on, to a degree, more to stimulate, although I think with a room full of CEO’s,
I probably won’t have to be stimulating too much. And I see John has now joined us, John
— John Berry is the head of Office of Personnel Management, in case you forgot who you are,
John. And let me — let me stop there. I think that’s enough of intro. Let me ask Mike to
briefly summarize the results of that homework effort. Mike DeMotto:
Yeah, what I want to do develop briefly is just summarize the results of the first part
of the homework where all of you graded, if you will, the different areas. And we’re doing
that really for one simple purpose, which is to prioritize the order in which we go
through topics. So once we get into that, it will be fairly freeform, that will help
us structure this. As an ex-consultant, I have to have some graphs, but I’ve limited
myself to one. So what we have here are your rankings of the topics. And what we did is
we weighted them based on five points for number 1, three points for number 2, one point
for number 3, and just so no one is confused, there’s actually no axis, but you get the
idea. So anyway, by far, the topic that generated the most interest, in fact, I believe with
one exception, everyone ranked it number 1, was organizational mandate for change. So
that’s what we’re going to talk about first. Second and third were very close, identifying
the right processes to fix and the engagement of line managers. So we’ll also attempt to
get to those, too. Just — just two general comments I’ll make and then we’ll get into
it. The first is that we have all your homework, and as I’ve said to several of you, it’s extraordinarily
useful. And so that will be incorporated into the deliberations we have here. So obviously
to the extent to which something on it is useful in the discussion, we’d love to hear
this again, but don’t feel that you have to mention it here just to have it involved,
because it definitely will be something we’ll — we’ll incorporate. And then secondly,
just having done a few of these in my years, as I’m sure a number of you have, these topics
are extraordinarily broad, and so it’s very easy to have the discussions of them get very
general, and so as you’re making points and lessons that we should try to learn, which
is, of course, the point of this, to the extent to which you can include an example or a technique
or a tool or something that will — will ground the point, that will be incredibly valuable
to us. And then last, as Jeff mentioned, and as Bill noted, this is just the beginning
of the process, and we’ll talk more about that when we go back to the main room. So
the idea here is to get out ideas that we can begin to incorporate, and then we’re all
— we’re also going to try to put together a process to get more granular to learn more
about those from you and from your organizations as follow-up. So this is really what are the
ideas that we should begin to be internalizing in these areas in order to bridge the gap
that the President was talking about, which is the gap between what you guys do and what
we should be doing. So with that, I’ll turn it back to Bill. Bill Lynn:
Thanks. Thanks, Mike. I think if I read the schedule right; we have about an hour — Mike DeMotto:
Yes. Bill Lynn:
— to — and I think the only structure we’ll offer is we’ll sort of move in order down
those four three — first three ideas, the only structure I think would be to try and
stay on that topic, but if I might, I was going to call on Sal, and you identified kind
of a — a — there was a quote here, we will not fail, attitude is critical in your —
in your submission there. Do you want to elaborate on that, and maybe as Mike suggested,
identify kind of where — a situation where you thought that really made a difference
in your business? Speaker:
Sure. I think that’s — well, right now here a (inaudible) currently running. We went in
and there was a culture of stagnation, it was a culture of — it was hard to move things
forward. There was a lot of debate, and the best excuse for not getting things done was
to CC 40 people on an e-mail. Right? And that that gives everybody places to hide. So we
didn’t have to make progress. If the mandate from the top is — it is a culture of innovation,
and innovation is rewarded, it is — you’re really establishing the direction from the
top. And you make the room for the debate on which direction you should go, what have
you, but there comes a fundamental point in time where decisions have to be made, the
direction has been set, and then it’s about execution, and then metrics and administration
to follow up on their executions, and take it off in bite-sized pieces, if you will,
so that you can measure it and you can follow through on it. But I think that setting the
right mandate, the attitude, the message from the top, there is the culture, the basic culture
of the environment to make those changes as necessary. And sometimes you can’t get everyone
on the same page. If after the decision has been made and the direction taken and some
people can’t get on — on the same page, maybe some changes have to be made. You don’t want
to do that too soon, you want differentiated opinions and what have you, so hopefully you
come up with the best solutions. But fundamentally there comes a point in time where the debate
stops and you move forward. Speaker:
If I can add something, I don’t think I heard Sal use the word technology once where you
were talking about getting buy-in, you know, mandate from the top and buy-in. And with
all due respect to our president, he focused on technology, and I would try to broaden
him out to think about business processes, of which technology is a tool. Now, see, you
have to get the buy-in, you have to get the direction from the top, you have to get the
buy-in, you have to get the right people, you have to make sure people know what their
— what their tasks are, you have to have one goal in mind. You know, our goal is our
clients, it’s our citizens of the United States, whatever that happens to be. But we will use
business processes and we’ll use technology, but technology should not be the starting
goal, I’d argue. And I’d offer you one example, is I would offer the example of I’ve seen
many times where, you know, you’re Griffin by technology, there’s a — you have an issue,
we’re going to solve this with technology, you bring in a tech, experts, and you have
the business operation unit, and they try to communicate, but they don’t really communicate,
but they come up with the technology. Who is the real owner of the technology, and in
the end it fails. But if you get them aligned and they’re working together, a huge difference.
So what’s the goal, what’s the business process, how are we going to get there, the alignment,
you know, people have their — have their assignments, they know what those are, and
here is how we’re going to get there. Speaker:
And that’s not to say that the technology obviously has a huge role to play, certainly
has mastered over the past two years, two and a half years in a very difficult economic
climate, we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in innovation, new technologies,
but we needed to decide what we want to do, set the goals, exactly what we’ve just said,
and then follow through using technology to execute and accomplish the goals, and not
be afraid of where we get the technology from. It’s not all homegrown, some of it is homegrown,
a lot of it is acquired, wherever the best technology, wherever the best ideas lie, let’s
go get them, bring them in and let’s utilize them, be open-minded enough to accept that. Speaker:
Invest in a way to drive that, if you will, buy-in or mandate for change or what have
you and get people aligned is, number one, what people are paid on, and number two, what
the boss checks on and what’s on the agenda. Those two things more than anything else I
think rally an organization to — you know, it’s one thing for the boss to say something,
this is what I think is important, it’s another thing is every single week is what you start
the meeting with, you know, this is what’s most important, what are the results, it’s
what you ask questions on when you walk the halls. And number two, what’s the — what
drives the compensation system, because that’s what will move people. Now, it may be a little
bit different in government with respect to how you do that, whatever the reward system
is, it’s what I — you know, what is rewarded, and that’s what people will rally behind. Speaker:
You know, I’ll just go back a step and just remind us, we’ve got make sure the strategy
is well-thought out scenario planning has been done for you (inaudible) technology and
a lot times we’ll be able to, heading into technology without doing a thorough job thinking
through the strategy and where is the — where is your customer going to be five years,
ten years from now, where is the world going to be in five years, ten years from now. I
think that’s where it all starts. It is a (inaudible). Speaker:
In applying technology, one of the pitfalls is often — is, you know, it’s kind of our
business, so we actually like technology being the solution more often than not, but it’s
basically, you know, there’s IT is told to go automate the existing process, and that’s
really problem number one is not, you know, rethinking the process in total and rather
than automating the way it’s currently done. I can reinforce that in the government. First
— when I first got there last winter in the midst of a very large IT project, to combine
the paying personnel systems to all military departments and the Department of Defense.
You’re talking 3 million people, which is a huge, huge project. And people had not done
just what you said, Jim, what we did — I won’t say the products since we’ve got a camera
here, but took an IT product that you have all heard of that is widely used in the private
sector, and said we’ll just apply this to the Department of Defense and we’ll, you know,
in a few months, we will be up and running. Well, seven years later, I canceled this program,
several years and several billion dollars later, because nobody had rethought how we
were going to do the pay in personnel systems and how the military pay in personnel differed
from the private sector pay in personnel, the fact that there’s an order of magnitude
more changes in the system. You have combat pay, you have flight pay, it’s not just changing
your 401-K, you get a pay raise once a year. So this very successful private sector system
just didn’t work as the defense department was engineered, but no one had gone in and
started with what you’re saying, Jim, is, you know, how do we want to do this, and then
how would we apply — do we want to change it, maybe we don’t, maybe we do, but then
does the technology fit how we want to engineer this. I think that that’s exactly right. Speaker:
You know, one other thing, I echo everything that’s been said, one of the lessons I think
that we took away is that huge IT projects on their own are obviously very problematic,
so what we try to do is break our projects down as opposed to looking at a watershed
event, we’re rolling out a new IT, instead, how do we build a learning culture, and we’re
constantly doing new IT. So — and then we find the training integrates better, it integrates
more thoroughly, and we get the step changed, we do it in an incremental fashion as opposed
to one big change of technology every ten years or five years. Speaker:
But as everybody has discussed, it still has to start from an end point and work its way
backwards, right? If this — if this is a for the people organization and that’s why
you’re here, then you need to start with what the people need. And if it’s NASA, they are
the customer, and if it’s, you know, the welfare office, they are the customer, and you figure
out what that — needs that is and then you build your deliverable backwards from there,
always post auditing and saying to yourselves, has this money gone to help meet the business
needs which is satisfying the customer. And I think a lot of times in private business,
and I perceive it in government, that they take a life of their own and we engage in
doing things to help ourselves, but it doesn’t at the end of the day serve our customers,
so this whole idea of customer back is something that I think private (inaudible) sector ought
to be a part of. Speaker:
And see, that’s where we start, at T.Rowe Price, the customer comes first, right. So
if everyone in the firm, every employee is thinking about the customer, trying to do
some things more firstly continually, this about business processes and utilizes technology
and that sort of thing to be more efficient continually, that’s the driving force. What’s
the strategy, what’s needed for change to do a better and better job for the customer
over time, for the people of the United States, for the — you know, for our customers. Speaker:
How does it start, I mean, I’ve written down at least four different things, all of which
make huge sense. I’m also conscious of Bill’s comment about we’ve got an array of — let
me be polite and say opportunities here, and, I mean, we can pick a system, I mean the President
mentioned (inaudible) system or the VA system which is also mentioned, where should we start
to do this? I mean, are there tangible steps, you talk about incremental which makes a huge
amount of sense, you talk about doing for the customers, but yet when we’re faced with
systems that are antiquated. Speaker:
I would say (inaudible) the first point here, mandate for change, I think that’s where we
have come from, in spite of what — everything that we do, how you enthusiaze the organization,
and that’s one thing that the CEO is saying, okay, we’ve got to do that, right? That alone
doesn’t move the (inaudible), you have to make the case for change, because typically
to get large amounts of people moving into one direction, you have to create a broad
platform, you pretty much have to make clear in a convincing case to them that remaining
as is not an option. This platform is burning; you’d better get off it, right? And I think
you need some smart people and you can do it with various things, you can do it with
aligning out what others are doing and benchmarking, you know, saying, hey, look, this is antiquated,
for us it takes ten days, and look at what Japan or Singapore (inaudible) or China does,
you know, they do it in half an hour. Right? And when people see that, we’re not talking
about 10 percent, 15 percent, we’re talking about cutting it down to 10 — to 5 percent,
that is a convincing case, and we could go on and on. There’s a couple of things, it
depends on what you’re looking at. That’s one thing. The second thing I think is you
have to really, really be smart in picking the right people who you assign this task
for, and I would always go to the person who understands the (inaudible). But if you don’t
have somebody who understands that and smart enough to drill through it, I mean, then the
organization gets in a funk, you know, everybody is kind of, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve got to
change, change, change, you know, nobody knows what and how, you know, and it goes real bad,
you know, and so. And the third thing is, I think that you also have to prioritize,
what do you start with first, and I would always start with the customer, be it internal
or external, that’s the best measure in terms of what value it would be or what it costs,
because sometimes, sometimes the best way you can really suggest is just looking at
the cost structure and say, you know, this affects 50 percent of my cost, so it’s pretty
much a no-brainer if I can get (inaudible), I start with that. I — just to say a few
things on this. Speaker:
So you have — the corporate world has a natural incentive in the marketplace, and in the government,
we do not have that, so that’s I think what we struggle with. Speaker:
No, no, no, I — you’re jumping to conclusions so fast. I think that human beings always
want to be proud of what they do, and you have that everywhere, people want to do good.
And that’s the point, I think you brought it up on the (inaudible) side, you know, if
you make transparent which teams are performing well, to be on the list, simply — it is not
related to anything, but to see that your team is at the bottom of the list continuously,
that by itself is painful. Speaker:
Let me pick on the patent office. We’re the third largest (inaudible) so we’re subject
to the pain that is caused by this. (laughter) Speaker:
Actually part of the problem is our direction has to be clear as to what are the goals and
constraints and what’s immutable. I think everybody? The patent office is absolutely
trying to do the right thing. In a tight environment, how much you get to invest in things that
may take some time to pay off, you could say, oh, we should never have any patent backlog,
that probably has a cost that is prohibitive, so that probably is not the right answer.
But how you frame the goals and the objectives and the constraints, because they’re — I
think the thing that’s probably driving the patent office more than anything is the constraints,
not the ability to hire good people and get the projects done and this sort of thing.
You know, is the patent office going to be a break-even or not a break-even operation,
it’s a — I think it’s a — it’s a discussion that’s going on as part of patent reform just
as an example. And it would affect what they do. They look more like a P and L or they
don’t look more like — and no policy statement here, just a simple fact that it’s part of
framing the goal, that is all about information, everything in their processes is about receiving
information, digesting information, processing information, and so in a sense, deciding what
those goals are and then saying, okay, how do we remake process to deliver against that
goal set, and then how do we make sure that, you know, we measure whether that’s backlog
or whatever the case — whatever the case may be. But most of the process changes that
we’ve spent a lot of time working with IT guys on, these projects, they mostly belong
— because the business people can’t clearly communicate or the IT people won’t clearly
ask for direction on what is actually supposed to be accomplished. Our own sales reporting
system is a disaster. This goes back probably 15 years. It wasn’t an IT problem. Somebody
had to define — decide on what the definition of a sale is. Microsoft word gets sold in
about 28 different forms, so what is a version of Microsoft word for the purposes of reporting.
It’s not an IT problem. But really having that dialogue, what’s the process in making
sure the goals are clear and their goals to — the modernization people, be those technology
or otherwise, I think winds up really being at the root of a lot of big change management
issues, management doesn’t know what mandate they’re really giving. Speaker:
In terms of, you know, kind of how to go about fixing (inaudible), I actually learned from
Steve, I guys at Microsoft, I think you guys came up with the — kind of the scrum methodology,
which is the notion of, you know, so many of these processes that need to get fixed
or almost overwhelming, it’s like boiling the ocean, and so you take — you think about
the process, which groups are involved, and you take one person, let’s say from sales,
one in marketing, one from engineering, one from manufacturing, the really, really bright
subject matter expert basically to lock these people in a room, you know, and you sneak
food under the door two, three times a day, and you come in to check on them and you expect
progress every two days or once a week or what have you, and you let them work it, you
empower them, and it’s amazing how much more effective just a few people can be if they
were given one goal and really locked in a room and not allowed to move, and know that
the expectations are to get this thing fixed in a very short period of time. And you guys
— I don’t know if you use it or not, but, you know, it’s — you know, Microsoft should
get the credit for (inaudible) it’s considered the scrum process, which is kind of a Rugby
term for all these people working together. Speaker:
That’s part of the sponsorship, who owns the product, right? It’s not just the people in
technology, it’s not just the top management, but people own it, right? They’re locked in
that room, right? They’re going to make sure this gets done. And their pride is on the
line, whether they are in the government, they’re nonprofit or for profit, it’s their
pride. So there’s direction from the top, what’s the strategy, what’s the business process
to be changed. Then there’s — then there’s buy-in, and it’s buy-in by these sponsors,
and these sponsors know the game. Speaker:
You’ve got to have a big sponsor. Speaker:
Then the technologists, what we had the most problem with technology is when the people
in operations just don’t talk with people in technology, but when you have technology
people embedded in operations and they understand operations, then it’s rapid fire, you know,
then it’s real time, as opposed to, you know, going out to bid and all this stuff that you
have to do and, you know, to rationalize things. Speaker:
(inaudible) not by business but by IT (inaudible). Will say, I’ll tell you it’s a problem, if
the IT had, in a country or the CIO is the leader, there’s always teams, I mean, it’s
not that — but the number one sponsor who is going to make those last decisions on no
customization, you know, reject, reject until it gets done and drive it isn’t not just a
business owner, but a high level business owner, it has a high propensity to fail. You
know, it has to be get bubbled up to people who are like — if that big a transformation,
it has to be almost at the top, and an inordinate amount of time and leadership, not from technology.
And so this thought that there really is not a technology transformation, there was always
a process transformation, so to your question, like it’s really not about what systems or
what should we look at, it’s really what processes are broken. And you may find that they actually
touch several, when you take a process, separate systems actually, and that is where and I
think you can get the most changes when you actually look at it from a business process
owner or a business high level departmental head, not their CIO. Speaker:
I’ll give you an example of a thing I think works quite well in the government in terms
of business owners taking leadership and really getting it done; I don’t know whether it’s
20 years ago, somebody decided that information was the key to warfare. If you actually look
at the information put in front of the war fighter, I would consider those systems, you
know, sometimes they look ad hoc and they’re enabling, some of them look very centralized
and controlled, but that’s one where the line of business clearly understands, knows what
they want, cares deeply and drives it hard. And I won’t talk about logistics and HR systems,
because I think that probably falls in a little different category, but certainly on the
— what’s called systems for the war fighter, you see a whole different — best systems
I’ve seen in the government all relate to things where the leaders, which is not true
in most of the civilian agencies, the leaders aren’t primarily of mission process, they
come from some other place and it’s a little bit different I would say at least on the
war fighting side. Speaker:
Let me translate that a little bit and throw it back as a question. In — not just DOD,
but I think across government, we’re missing a couple of the tools you have, and so we
need to find substitutes, since that’s where I’m going. One of them you mentioned, Dan,
our compensation system is not as flexible as the private sector, people sometimes aspire
to that, but put that aside, within the compensation system we have, we have to work, and that
is there’s some — some room for bonuses, but it is not at all — it is not as performance
oriented, it’s more tenure oriented. So that’s one tool that’s much more limited. The other
tools, one Lori mentioned is we ultimately don’t have a bottom line as a metric. We have
the kind of service we provide the citizens, I mean for the defense department it’s whether
we win the nation’s wars, or better yet, prevent them. But that’s a much more difficult metric.
And as a consequence, most of the metrics we get measured on tend to be more inputs
than outputs, so how, when you’re trying to drive change, who how do I find substitutes.
And one of you talked about was leadership, but how do I find substitutes, because I don’t
think I’m going to make it — I’m not going to make this a private sector enterprise,
so I’m going to have to – Speaker:
I think, Bill, you have to have measurement, if you don’t have measurement, you are going
to fail, because what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done, and you have to decide,
if you don’t have a bottom line, there is something that measures the improvement of
whatever you want to improve, and I would say if you haven’t decided on that, it’s not
going to work. You have to decide what’s the measurement or if there is more than one measurement,
then you have to decide what is the rate of improvement that you believe is possible.
And that’s where the whole goal setting comes in, which, I mean, you can use various things
for. I mean, best ever achieve result outside best practices. Right? But — and then I think
you want to provide transparency and that I can that transparent to more than just that
team, because you want to utilize this human factor of pride. Because everybody wants to
be on a winning team, people don’t come in with the desire to screw up. They come in
everywhere with a desire to do good. Speaker:
The best measurement is always customer satisfaction, and in DOD you have a customer base somewhere,
then you can measure the customer satisfaction. And I think there’s not an agency you can’t
do that at. Speaker:
Can I join your question? I think we have an answer to your question, because you don’t
have some of the comp incentives that private industry has, and I’m going to guess that
actually we could make the problem of that worse. I don’t disagree with what anyone is
saying about (inaudible) and measurement. Speaker:
Right. Speaker:
Bu a lot of the (inaudible) of what gets done and transforming processes, standard subsidizing
them and then utilizing IT as it innovates. Speaker:
And please correct me if I’m wrong, I defer to you on this, because every time Microsoft,
HP, or one of these companies comes to our company, they’re talking about ways that we
can take — it’s kind of like tabs built before the highways, ways that we can get out of
redundant systems, because in IT, scale, centralization, standardization makes things available for
super and innovative process, but what happens when you do that is you’re cutting out people.
And so while you can have the pride of achievement, a lot of what happens when you go through
this question of change the process or make it more efficient in terms of IT is risks,
the roles, the powers, even the employment levels of the number of people that you have.
And so if I could just take Time-Warner, I’m guessing that the government has analogies
to this, our company came up through mergers, we had Time, we had Warner, we merged, and
then we merged with Turner, then we merged with AOL, and I don’t want to talk about it. (laughter) Speaker:
What ended up happening, every one of those industries is different, and every one of
them had its own IT and software development was all sub scale, and so as I sit here today,
and I think many big companies with multiple divisions have this, we’re all trying to get
out of doing in-house, inside Turner which built its own system versus HP versus Warner,
we’re trying to get to standardization so that it’s available for the innovative scale
practices that companies like yours develop. It always threatens all the people, not just
in IT, but the process adjacent people that run the way the systems are today. And it
either takes out levels of workers, which is actually partly the aim of it, or it moves
around the power of whose got authority status and so forth. So I don’t have the answer to
that. I’m just saying that while I think every comment here is right about measuring and
creating rewards for what is accomplished, there’s the other side of the coin, which
is you’re going to face resistance from everybody that’s in these — you know, current status
quo that don’t want to standardize, they’ll always tell you, well, we need this customized
system that you mentioned in our department here, because we’re doing this kind of work
and it’s not going to work as well if we merge it with some other department in the government.
There’s truth in it at one level, but not in another. And the question of where to,
you know, allow to customize special mission of each of the government’s missions to take
over and where the line is for standardization, centralization, I bet you have, like we do,
a whole lot of data centers and a whole lot of software development operations, very expensive
things that are trying to make customized solutions for different departments of that
government that, frankly, don’t — neither one needs to be there, and both are less efficient
than centralized. And if you centralize them, then they can do it and give you the latest
good innovation. And that’s the problem you are going to have. Industry has it, and everything
that’s been said is right, industry deals with it with top down measurement and getting
business owners, not IT people to run it, but basically you do have a definition of
scope problem, not just an IT design problem. Speaker:
Maybe I can just give you an example where it was used. And this administration is the
best at communicating vision, so we wanted to go 100 percent paperless. Let me just say
we have ten million sales, independent sales all around the world, and every two to three
weeks, they order and their order has an invoice that they were used to being printed so they
could check off I ordered, da-da-da, and they did not want to give up this paper invoice,
and so obviously there was a cost benefit to the company, a lot, for millions and millions
of paper invoices, and we — but what built the case that combined — it really was a
green case. And when they understood, and it just — when they truly understood and
we gave them an example of how many tons of paper and trees were cut, how much — certainly
— and we, parenthetically, are saving a tremendous amount of money from a productivity
point of view just doing e-invoicing, but the selling of this, to them there was nothing
in it for them except they are going to be good citizens, but when it became not a take-away
or behavior change for many of them that they had to do year after year, but there was in
compelling vision of why, which wasn’t monetary, but it was about doing good, a good thing.
It ramped up the change, so that we went from zero — I can give you examples in central
and Eastern Europe, too, 95 percent in 18 months because we understood how to communicate
package to change management, which really wasn’t about an economic incentive. So I think
there is — and then we recognize, and, you know, and then all of these people they aren’t
our employees per say, but I think there’s the power always of, to your points, recognition,
what’s the vision, what is the purpose of this change, and that compelling consistent
thought from — that doesn’t have to be an economic benefit. That’s just one example,
and it was pretty remarkable. Speaker:
And I would echo that. The power of recognition, when you don’t have compensation as a lever,
it gets back to, you know, pride that people have. For individuals to be recognized in
front of their peers by somebody really important is enormously powerful. I mean, just can’t
be overemphasized. Speaker:
I think also to bring it back; to bring a case, like the patent file, let’s take the
patent file, to bring it back to a human element could help. I mean, if you show to an invent
— to some — to those people that handle this, what it means to an inventor to not
make it to market two years, right, you have to wait for two more years instead of now,
what the inventor loses out on, right? What I’ve done in my — many of my business, I
invited the patient, for instance, when I ran a medical business, the patient didn’t
tell my employees that I do that (inaudible) , invite the patient, have the patient come
and talk about how his or her life was changed through the equipment that we provided. I
tell you, it made a change like day and night, because it brings back, right, the understanding
of that’s the meaning of our job. And at our forum, we invite people from NASA, right,
to speak to us to make them understand what goes on many the mind of an astronaut when
he enters the capsule that is about to get shot to outer space, for that individual to
know that we are a leader in quality means a hell of a lot. A hell of a lot. And for
the employees to hear it from a user, bringing back your point, from the customer, eventually
puts their lives partially in our hands, right. Huge, Huge. The stories, I mean, you create
a story that is — I mean, it brings it back, brings some meaning back to the workplace,
right? People understand why this is necessary. That’s what I meant with a burning platform,
you can do it in a negative way and you can do it in a positive way. Speaker:
Can I ask how long and talk in your example, the green example, how — what the time line
was when you talked to the people who would be impacted by no longer killing the trees
and printing the paper to the time where they wanted to be a part of it? Speaker:
Only about two years, and we just wanted to roll it out and test it to make sure that
there were no changes inside the border or whatever it may be, but less than we thought
remarkable compared to other major systems changes, that we’re trying to change processes
where you had to change behavior resistance, which took a long time, so we erred in being
slow, and then I guess to the President’s point, but the time you get the technology,
and it’s already obsolete and you’re starting it again. Because we would choose to go slower
in our minds originally to go faster, but the speed of technology is changing so fast. Speaker:
In the end, the transparency that you put out there and the engagement that you have
with those who would be impacted by it rather than just saying this the new directive from
the top today, this is how we will now do business, that was — that made it be successful. Speaker:
And made it – Speaker:
And that is — I mean, that’s something I think in federal agencies, and probably in
other companies, too, but I just know about the federal agencies, that often doesn’t happen.
Whether it’s about changes in leadership at the top, whether it’s about the fact that
our budgets come through once a year and we don’t have multi-year planning of budgets,
and very often the year starts and we still don’t have a budget, like this year. You know,
so I mean, there are very real reasons that some of those things happen, but to engage
employees or whoever is impacted, the customer or however you define them, in the federal
government and to get them to buy-in to why a change needs to be made rather than to just
issue a memo and say this is the way it will be, I think in many federal agencies we’re
losing the good ideas that some employees have, and we — I would love to hear how you
in a big organization, you know, every one at the top, I’ll make it up, at least ten
layers, in the top three layers, everybody gets it and everybody says and does the right
thing and nods their head at meetings and, you know, but the other seven layers on the
bottom where the rubber meets the road are never engaged in that conversation, there’s
no transparency, there’s no conversation, there’s no saying, well, if you have — if
you think this isn’t the right way, then what is? And maybe those ideas don’t get adopted,
but at least they’ve been heard, they’ve had a chance to be in the conversation. And I
think we need to figure out how to make that happen in federal agencies, large and small. Speaker:
You know, it’s interesting, you know, both — I had the privilege of running two companies,
Symbol, and Symbol Technologies, and now Monster, both companies of about 6,000 people roughly,
and in the first six months, probably in each job put on about 20 pounds taking people to
dinner, lunch, breakfast, whatever, and it’s people at all levels in the company, not just
the executives, but it’s people at, you know, the lowest rung, if you will, on up, and get
their ideas, harvest input from them. Now, you’re not going to put all of that into practice,
but you’re going to — best ideas rise to the top. And you engage and you change the
culture. You know, part of my — a large part of my career was on Wall Street, so a negative
thing I guess to say these days, but I remember, you know, bonuses, the issue of bonuses is
not a new issue, it’s, you know, to the ’80s and ’90s, it was exactly the same as it is
today. And you could pay someone a million dollar bonus or a $2 million bonus, and if
you didn’t create a culture and an environment where people were challenged, they had —
they were able to give input, they were part of doing something, more than earning that
million or $2 million bonus, you were going to lose those people. All right, money only
lasts — you know, people feel good for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, but after
you put the money away or spend it or whatever it is you do with it, it comes to I think
good people want to feel that they are accomplishing something. And they’re accomplishing change
and they’re doing things. So if you are build an attitude, certainly government has a handicap,
if you will, because of the comp issue, but it is not fatal. I mean, he could have another
discussion about why we don’t fix that, but that’s a whole other issue, I guess. I don’t
think we have enough time. But short of that, I think there’s a lot that can be done to
create the right mindset and engage people at all levels. It’s not just at the top. If
you just do it at the top and you don’t get to the people that actually dot work, you
know, certainly not me, but the people that make, for example, my company tick every day
and turn on the lights in the morning, you don’t engage them, you’re not going to succeed.
Particularly with something where you’re talking fundamental change and process employing technologies,
making people is your enough that they can bring in people from the outside and turn
over some of the work to those people. The outside may be better suited to do it, et
cetera. It’s a fundamental psychological change to the way the enterprise thinks. Speaker:
The thing I actually — I hear you about the comp system and the bottom line, although
the number of people in most companies who actually know anything about optimizing the
bottom line is di minimus, I mean, there’s probably ten people in our company who actually
know how to figure out the bottom line. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just everybody’s
got their local goals. The thing I always feel about government is, two years was a
good job, right, that was a pretty good — and that’s a pretty good major process change
management project. Government people seem to switch around just about enough that you
can’t count on the consistency of two years, let alone, two-plus if it wasn’t a fast —
you know, and I’m not talking about an IT project now, I’m just talking about big process
change management which may be supported by IT or may not, I actually think that’s probably
the number one thing I would — what should I say? I sort of — I have to be empathetic
with you guys about. And some part, you know, it’s a little different in DOD than it would
be in some of the civilian, a little bit more consistency in some of the DOD aspects than
non-DOD, but — is that —
and that will — I don’t know if it feels that way on the government side. Speaker:
The average tenure of a government executive, you know, political government executive is
18 months. Speaker:
And our folks count on that. They count on that, and they know they can wait us out and
— you know, why should I listen when I know someone else is going to be in here, and for
NASA, that’s really hard given the long-term nature of what we’re doing. So if we want
to make a shift, it’s very hard to get that adopted, because of that – Speaker:
Can we ask that, then, as a question to you, to maybe help, because I think a number of
people here have said top down goal setting, top down measurement and recognition, top
down mandate for change is important, and related to it, that the, quote, business owner,
or whoever the line power is handling it and making the tradeoffs, not just the IT person.
If you put this question to you, because you know it and we don’t, what do you do about
the fact that the top management is rotating, what does that do, you know, when you translate
these comments in that – Speaker:
One of the things it does for me is the one you have second from the bottom I would put
up near the top (inaudible). Speaker:
(inaudible) Speaker:
Yeah. Speaker:
You’ve got to get in there and — I’m going to stay more than 18 months, but you know
you have, you know, it’s an election cycle job; you have to identify some things fairly
early and something that you think you can achieve in a political life, which is at most
four years. Speaker:
Let me – Speaker:
Go ahead. Speaker:
Let me just go — because I was going to go there anyway, and now you put a perfect frame
on it. And it’s something you said. Can these projects be broken down into smaller pieces
that could be accomplished in let me say 18 months, because inconveniently that is the
average tenure of a senior – Speaker:
You might want to take large-scale business transformation off the slide then. (laughter) Speaker:
I mean, there is a (inaudible), a bit of an oxymoron. Speaker:
Which is why we are where we are. Speaker:
Because we also throw in the pace of technology change, and, you know, without getting into
it, some of the procurement issues we have, if it takes you 18 months to scope a project,
and then you scope it as a three-year project, it will be obsolete when it’s done. Speaker:
And whoever did it doesn’t care – Speaker:
Oh, he’s on to his third or fourth job. So the question is there an ability, and actually
I think at least two or three of you actually explicitly mentioned this in your homework,
you know, is there ability to take — because I don’t want to give up on large-scale transformations,
because we need them, but is there an ability to make that large-scale transformations,
in fact, Klaus, I think you said it, make a four-year project four one-year projects? Speaker:
You know, I think there’s maybe another — maybe another way of looking at it, a lot
of folks when I took over said, you know, when you’re rolling out ERM and ERP and some
of these big systems, it has to be all done once and the whole thing, and you know, the
problem is the number of moving parts just gets so big, and whether it’s pay for DOD
versus pay for DEO versus pay for DOS, he have this — not at your scale, but we had
the same issues, going through acquisition, three-some odd businesses that every old thing
from out-sourcing state services to billing (inaudible) for DOD, and what we found is
you pilot it and you just start adding on to it. Now, we got the large-scale totally
integrated systems, but we didn’t try it as one big program. We actually built it and
incrementally did it over a course of a three, four-year period. And what we found is it
probably would have taken us four years anyway with a lot of blowouts in the process, but
instead we got there were no blowouts and it was not a big deal. Speaker:
I would agree with Chuck, you know, let’s say you throw this scrum in a room and they
come up with an idea, you actually implemented or piloted it very quickly, you know you got
a success, so you got a success, you can trump it very quickly, and if it doesn’t work, no
big deal, if you’ve done in let’s say, you know, one small group or one call center instead
of nationally, the harm to the company is very minimal if it doesn’t work or if it screws
up because you’ve isolated it, so you can just — you can try small things very quickly,
if it doesn’t work, try something else. Because if you’re going to do something, a massive
change, you got it make sure you get it exactly right before you implement it, and so it’s
going to take longer to make sure, because the risk is very high of getting it wrong.
If you try things and the risk is low, I think you can make a lot more progress. Speaker:
Even in a massive project, you always have (inaudible) along the way, and which will
be your (inaudible). It will hit the (inaudible). Speaker:
Can I – Speaker:
(inaudible) Speaker:
Sorry. I have a question. So if — if you had some project pilots and, quote, successes,
short-term, would it actually lead to adoption or would it lead to more intelligent resistance?
Because – Speaker:
That’s the actual history, is we have (inaudible) death by pilots in the government, you know.
I’ve been doing this for 30 years from different angles of it, and, you know, people pilot
to death, but nobody ever actually puts the knowledge together and makes that cumulative
change. Speaker:
In fact, there’s — well, here is what they are going to say, and now it can be fact,
here is how we get the new political boss sidetracked, here is what it’s going to do
if it – Speaker:
See how it plays out. Speaker:
I think we’re over-steering, it’s not quite — (inaudible). Speaker:
Well, he said DOD wasn’t as bad. Speaker:
Well, DOD I think maybe is a little different. What I’ve found — and all the things are
true, there’s institution — in any organization, there’s institution biases, there’s — as
Jeff was saying, you know, big change threatens people and their roles and their jobs. The
other thing I found, I think maybe the Department of Defense in particular, but I think it’s
throughout government, the department craves direction, they want to know where the leaders
want to go and they really want to get you there. I mean, now, they don’t want to lose
their job, they’re not crazy, but it’s so there is an appetite for leadership in the
department, and then there’s a real receptivity to — and expectation with the new — in fact,
one of the things you’ll find difficult coming in when you only got a partial team and you
are trying to get everything organized is pedaling as fast as the career people want
you to pedal, they want to know, okay, where are we going, geez, I haven’t found my office
yet, you know, but. So I think there is a counter to the wait it out. I mean, they’re
both – Speaker:
Certainly. And what you have both said are people wanting — I think that you’ve told
me a whole bunch of interesting things about people wanting buy-in and feeling like they’re
doing the right thing, those are all things that we see with your employees, for sure. Speaker:
We had very much of the same, we actually have eliminated the phrase pilot or test,
because I would go in and somebody go, well, we’re going to pilot in Astonia, do we even
do business in Astonia, it’s so small, this is what would happen, it would be the wait
and see for what. It’s only– it’s fate. So we don’t go — you know, we don’t go whole
hog, but it’s — and is this only in phase one. You know, but we — we had to eliminate
the word, because my definition of the word pilot meant this, too, may — well, we’ll
all see and we’ll decide later if it’s for us. So I mean, just even in the private sector,
that’s – Speaker:
But it’s tough to come in and have to do this. I came in when NASA was about to roll out
a $4 billion couple of contracts on IT, and they were exactly the wrong direction, and
yet when I tried it stop it, people said, we’ve been — we’ve had this in the works
for two years, you’re really going to stop it? Well, they were going to start data centers,
and I just met with the (inaudible) and he said we need fewer — we want data centers
combined agency to agency, much less NASA has 80 on its own, so we’re really going to
do that? And I, you know, it was like seriously bloody to stop it and redo and got a new CIO
in order to carry it out. But you feel terrible as a representative of the taxpayer making
those decisions, because you know two years has gone through. But each case you have to
say, get people to buy-in and, okay, long-term, this is where we want to be. NASA is not partisan,
none of this is partisan political, this is just we’re here, we’ve already bought into
this, let us finish it kind of protocol. Which you guys have — this is shocking to me and
much more interesting than I thought it would be that this is where you see it, and I’m
wondering if you rated these in order of where you think it — the government need more help. Speaker:
Yeah, would you tell us, because you – Speaker:
Yeah, I don’t know what question you were answering. Speaker:
Could you tell us what you think is practical? Speaker:
Practical? Speaker:
For — to implement, the priorities that you think are most effective. Speaker:
Let me ask the right order; let me ask, that’s where we are. But I’m also — I think we’re
also constrained here because we’re all CEO’s or deputies of large agencies, and so, you
know, I don’t get involved in (inaudible). Speaker:
I think I generally agree with — I had trouble sometimes separating all the words, I don’t
know how you did. Speaker:
Yeah. Speaker:
I mean, I — but I think you took — I think you’ve almost combined the first two, is that
you need to reengineer the process, and that the — kind of the mandate for — before you
apply technology, and I agree with that. And — so that I think is probably the most important
one. As I said, I would raise, you know, kind of the idea that we — you need to do things,
particularly in government, but I wouldn’t think it’s that different with you, within
is pretty short time line which pushes me towards this early wins I want and it’s your
phased approach, you need to start showing success fairly quickly. I guess the third
and — isn’t on there that I would add in there — well, is it on there? Let me see
if I can find it. No, I don’t think so. Is I think there’s a bandwidth issue, is that
that I think you have to prioritize your attention and pick out, I guess it’s analogous to the
early wins, but you can’t have — you couldn’t have 20. And I work with Bill Perry at the
Department of Defense, and he, as secretary, he had a little — I’m not sure whether he
had — literally had a card in his pocket, but you could tell, he three or four things
written down and he drove everything through that, and if it didn’t — and there were big
things, like, you know, improve the quality of life for the, you know, average service
member and their family, but if you were talking to him and trying to get him to do something,
whether it’s change the budget or spend time or go speak, whatever, if it didn’t fit one
of those priorities, your chances of success were very low. And the smarter people figured
out what the three or four were and started driving everything through that, but I —
that’s I guess another one that I would add there, is you have to prioritize, because
you could only take — you can only instrument so much change. Speaker:
All of us, all companies have that same issue. There’s always (inaudible) prioritization
process is really important, I think every company (inaudible). Speaker:
Absolutely. Speaker:
I’m not sure — I don’t know how the government does that necessarily (inaudible) too many
agencies, but prioritization is critical. Speaker:
And it’s not just the bandwidth; also you’re pulling people off their day job while they’re
dealing with this change and quality goes down and everything else. Speaker:
I’ve got a question. And this is more for the folks who work in government. In the ’90,
this was taken on at a really high level, right? Government reform with Gore leading
the band – Speaker:
Reinventing government. Speaker:
Reinventing government and it went on for seven or eight years, it went on for two terms.
And I remember the image of all the paper in the room and the (inaudible), was — was
there any — was there any legs to that? Speaker:
It was a morale disaster. If you can find one of those hammer awards in an employee’s
office today, I’ll give you $10 for every one you find. Now, there’s no — everybody
was so — it was — it started from the premise that none of you know what the hell you’re
doing, you know, if you just worked like the private sector, you’d be all great, and it
it was — it destroyed morale, it would premise — the whole notion of you had a reinvented
was like it must mean you’re crap now. And so we destroyed in one fell swoop the morale
of the federal government. So as the chief people person for the federal government right
now, it will be over my dead body, use that word again, but, you know, that’s — we’ve
got to be — and I think you heard that in the President’s talk today, we’ve got people
who know what their doing, some of them are the best and the brightest in their fields,
what we need to do is figure out how to do it. Bill, Bill’s known, your logic, the one
topic which is kind of interesting, I don’t think the government is ever going to be the
cutting edge innovator on technology. My number two one was balancing using proven and emerging-you
know, using proven technologies, that our biggest problem is sometimes we get out ahead
of the curve, instead of just relying on what’s proven, let’s you guys do the emerging and
work out the kinks, because we’re never going to get there. We had to be relying solely
on the proven, and it may mean we’re going to be a generation or two behind. Right now
I’d love to just get in the 20th century, for God sake, let alone the 21st. Speaker:
We have a fascinating combination, I mean, I think, John, you’re exactly right, of cutting
edge that doesn’t work, and truly antiquated. If we could have everything be five to ten
years behind where you guys are, we’d be so happy. I mean, if we had a payroll system
that was the equivalent of — that worked, it’s based on what you guys had five years
ago or the data center equivalence of what you guys had five years ago, I’d take it in
a minute. Speaker:
These always make me feel so good, because I think NASA does a really good job at things
like that, and in fact, I would argue we’re the opposite. I always make the case the government
is the one who can take the high risk, and that’s what we were set up to do, of course,
it’s in a technology different than sort of processing obvious. But the thing I was surprised
isn’t on here that I would put would be you’ve got a little bit in engagement of line managers,
but for me, related to this, your prioritization is okay, I can only have so many things to
do, so it’s all about placing senior people who I need doing those things that I can’t
always do. And getting your management team together is surprising to me it’s not a part
of this. And it’s a challenge for us. As NASA, for instance, out of 18,000 people, we have
maybe a dozen political appointees. So these aren’t going to be political appointees, my
CIO is a civil servant, that’s how — so you have to work through the system that John
is doing a great job with, and trust your people and get great people in there. And
it’s surprising to me, do — you all must just take that as a given, right? Speaker:
I think that was (inaudible) given. Yes. Speaker:
Yeah. Speaker:
And one of the things that’s just inherently constraining the government, there’s no —
well, it’s one of these things concerning you have to manage is the budget process,
which is obviously a Congressional appropriations process, so it — for an IT product, it will
take me longer to budget for it probably, Dan, than it takes you to develop it. It will
take me 18 to 24 months if I just go through the full process of developing it through
the internal process, and then nine to ten, 11 months through the Congressional process.
Well, that, you know, by definition, is with 18 month cycles and (inaudible) and all of
it, we’re — so we need to find IT acquisition processes that somehow get around that in
a way that Congress finds acceptable. And that’s a — is I can’t suspend money except
in the way Congress tells me to, but I need to buy the most modern products, you know,
how I do that is a huge — and we’re — we’ve got ways, but it’s — and that’s just a constraint
I think you all just don’t face, and never will, I think. I wouldn’t wish it on you. Speaker:
Can I ask a question? In terms of certain angles of defense in terms of cyber security,
I would think you can’t afford to be behind. And I would guess that you’re pretty good,
if not really good. What do you learn there that, you know, because as you know, if you’re
behind in cyber security, we’re all in trouble? Right? Because the Internet is so damn important
to you, but also to all of us, right? If that gets attacked and goes down for some reason,
you know, that’s going to really break it country, right? So I assume, I hope you guys
are at the cutting edge and have cutting edge people in technologies in terms of thinking
about cyber security, so I would think that there’s probably lessons there that you can
then transfer out. Speaker:
And that’s exactly where I’m going. I mean, the National Security Agency is, frankly,
world class in terms of cyber security and its acquisition process, it’s super computing
is as good as anywhere you will find. And the challenge, frankly, is not improving them,
is applying what they do to other parts of the Department of Defense and taking the expertise
that they have and applying it to other parts of the government in ways that the citizens
— citizenry finds acceptable in terms of civil liberties and privacy, and that’s a
— it would be crazy to recreate that expertise, we don’t have the time, we don’t have the
money, we don’t have the management talent to do it, so we have to find a way to take
what’s been developed at the National Security Agency and apply it on the — basically on
the homeland security and then the dot com, the dot gov and the dot com worlds with appropriate
protection. So I mean, our challenges are more along those lines than — than — there
we are cutting edge as you hoped. Speaker:
Thank you. Speaker:
And the biggest block to that leverage, you know, just through defense, never mind the
rest of government would be what, just in terms of taking that and leveraging that
— those practices, best practices, best practices as possible . Obviously what in the past or
what could — what could we help you on in terms of maybe the way we would do something
like that, what would be the biggest stumbling block here? Just – Speaker:
Well, the biggest stumbling block, I think he mentioned that he can’t really have us
with this process for budgeting and, you know, we have to go through it because of where
the techs are. Speaker:
I’d be interested, there is a process that I found, I don’t know how, John, you probably
be (inaudible) Colleen would (inaudible). I mean, we just went through a searing experience
and Colleen got to share part of it with us, with this — a new personnel system. NSPS.
And I won’t get into that, that was a very controversial with unions and elsewhere, but
one of the things we found in looking at that is the culture of at least DOD civilians and
how they approach personnel evaluation wasn’t where we needed it. People did not consider
it part of their core function, very, very good people did not. And people, it had —
I think it had something to do with how they had moved up, they had, you know, moved up
from a, you know, an office job, an office head to, you know, heading a whole group,
and you know, they did it and they cared their people, but you know, in terms of kind of
evaluations and performance ratings, it was very much something that they weren’t interested
in. And that must be a problem you deal with, because it’s not much fun to write these things,
very important, but not much fun, I mean, how do you get people to pay attention to
that? And Lori and John, that endemic through the government or – Speaker:
It is. At NASA it is. And from the eight years Bill and I worked together a little during
that eight-year Republican leadership here in the country and in the private sector,
I was shocked, six-month reviews, you took it seriously, we go to the government, people
write their own and you sort of check it off. It’s completely, completely different. Speaker:
There’s no training of managers. I mean, you’re the only one; you’re the one department that
actually does it. I don’t know of any — some at IRS. Speaker:
We’re enable enable we’ve got a little bit of a problem, right. Speaker:
We don’t do it. Everybody is outstanding at NASA, and if you’re not, you’re in trouble. Speaker:
(inaudible) Speaker:
The question is whether that applies to you, if you have a lot of promotions, you can say,
for instance, you have a certain debt line, and you say, if this individual hasn’t filed
all the evaluations for the people that work for her or him, no promotion goes through
from that department. Speaker:
But it’s not that, the Lori said, people file them, it’s just that the person below you
writes them, you sign them. Yeah, it’s no problem. As you say, everybody is outstanding. Speaker:
But you know from the (inaudible) what I find interesting about the — Speaker:
What’s that town in Wisconsin? Speaker:
What I find interesting about the last 15 minutes is it’s very hard, I think everybody,
all the CEO’s will agree, it’s hard to fix a problem that you don’t know what the problem
is. And we all come in — we all came to this meeting with the perception of government
from at different levels having worked in different form and functions, but we spent
the first part of the meeting talking about solutions, and we spent the last 15 or 20
minutes talking about the problem. So a point I would put to you as you continue this dialogue
is you ought to give this kind of group or a different group on a different day some
type of mats of where you’re at and how you do what you do so we’re not all going from
what we think or what we believe or what we saw on CNN or Fox, we’re going from what we
know, and then I think you would get a much better quality of answer. Speaker:
So could I ask, because while I’ve got the brain power around this table, it would be
a huge help to me, we have tried to automate our retirement system in the federal government
five times, we’ve spent almost $120 million, every one of them, I took the last one behind
the barn and shot it. We’ve spent that much money and we have nothing to show for it.
I am still processing retirements, paper files, 18th century, you know, notes. What we —
the best I can figure is why this has run up on the rocks was each retirement is, you
know, we used to think we could force it into a private sector system because there would
be maybe five to six choices of what your retirement could be, and, in fact, we found
out, because, well, when you are flight pay in Afghanistan, you get paid one rate for
those six weeks and then when you are in Iraq, you get paid a different rate for those eight
weeks, every person is unique in terms of the retirement process, it has to be adjudicated
to determine the amount. Do we have any hope of automating — all I’m doing right now is
basically – Speaker:
Think you have to listen to Jim as we reengineer the system before you automate it, right? Speaker:
But, you know, this is — what I’m — all I’m doing now is sort of, what do you call
it, scanning, you know, to at least have the paper files – Speaker:
Electronic records. Speaker:
You know, turn into electronic format, but how do we get this to — how would you —
where would you go, in other words, since this has failed five times, the government
is — you know, this has been multiple administrations, how would you start that? Speaker:
It sounds to me like (inaudible) could have, could have a 80/20 problem. I mean, if you
always go for the 20 or 10 percent most complex cases and want to start automating those,
you would end up with the most complex system which is unmanageable. All right. It might
be a solution to say, think of it like — we talked this morning, like the production
line things, you know, you say I have a math production line and it goes like clockwork,
it gets 50 percent of the people, and then I have the specialty line, and then I have
something which I’ll never be able to automate, you know, and maybe this case that you just
described falls into that category. I’m happy with a 18th century process because it takes
care of individuals the way it should be taken care of. Speaker:
(inaudible) Speaker:
We have an automated system. And every year after new years, the 30 years service ex-CEO
secretary calls me from retirement and informs me that she’s been thrown out of the pension
system again. It happens every year. (laughter) Speaker:
It was not — Speaker:
Not the only one. Speaker:
Maybe we don’t want automated. (laughter) Speaker:
I think we’re — Speaker:
One thing you may also want to consider is that John, you know, how complicated does
it have to be, is there really a reason for all those different buckets, just simplify
the process in the beginning and then applying, you know, what we just heard. Speaker:
What I’m — Speaker:
Talk about what you’re really doing. Speaker:
In Congress, you know who does those six weeks I’m going to pay Afghanistan, it’s the Congress,
because they want to get the kudos of an awarding, oh, we want to recognize this little group,
I’m going to try to create — you know, if you want to give — we’re going to — if you
want to give — if you really like them, give them this A-plus. If — or give them this
B and try to channel their creative, you know, wanting to be Santa clause into two buckets,
you know, but that’s going be the process performed if we can get there. Speaker:
Fortunately in my company, I can get very creative on commission schemes and sometimes
I get carried away, and the people that have to implement it bring me back to earth and
say you really need to do that because it would incur this. And, yeah, it happens in
business, but times we over engineer. The idea is to bring it down to what do you really
need to do, simplify and that will make that process, if you apply some of the rules we
just discussed to that, I think you’d probably have a much easier time. Speaker:
So we ended where we started, that it was Congress’ fault. Speaker:
Yeah. (inaudible) Speaker:
It’s never Congress’ fault. Speaker:
It’s never Congress’ fault. Speaker:
So we’re going to — Mike and I are going to sit down and — we’re going to sit down
and distill this. And I guess we’re convening downstairs — Speaker:
We’re continuing downstairs at 4: 00 O’clock, and I want to add also, thank
you very much, it goes without saying how valuable this is, the fact that we’ve just
scratched the surface on all of these, and Jeff is going to say it, but I think we’re
going to ask whether you guys will indulge us for further work going forward, and we
would love it if you would. Speaker:
Thank you very much and we’ll see — we’ll see you downstairs.

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