The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association (FEIAA) presented its annual

Executive Forum, March 10, 2008, at the George Washington University

(GWU) Marvin Center, in Washington, DC. The theme of the forum was

Trusted Leadership for Federal Service. The forum was cosponsored by the

Federal Executive Institute (FEI), GWU, and the National Academy of Public

Administration (NAPA). A summary of the key presentations follows.

Trust in Government

Special guest Linda Springer, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management,

said, Everyone should care about trust in government. We call our

leaders honorable and expect them to be trustworthy. Trust matters day in

and day out at any organization. As a leader, you need trust to lead. She added

that trust is critically important at times such as the upcoming transition from

one presidential administration to another and, of course, at the time of a change

in job or a crisis. How do you get trust? she asked. You have to earn it. She

urged leaders to get out of their offices, talk with their people, hear their ideas,

and develop a relationship with them. Give them what they need, she said.

Communicate. Show your employees whats in it for them and how it will work.

She and Kevin Marshall, FEI director, both added that they are proud of the work

that the institute does to help develop trusted leaders in government.Leading without Compromise

Jackie Strange, former postmaster

general, spoke about having the

courage to lead without compromise.

She urged the audience to

have a passion for your career, to teach

managers not to compromise their integrity,

to create an environment for

innovation, to honor and respect employees,

and to expect the bestyou

will get it. She, too, urged leaders to

communicate with their people and to

build a management framework to

ensure ethical practices: to set objectives,

to review objectives, to maintain

accurate records, and to act on poor

performance. Individuals and organizations

gain empowerment through

ethical practices, and through these

practices trust is built.

Transitions to a

New Administration

Looking ahead to the next presidential

administration, John Kamensky,

associate partner, IBM Global Business

Services, and a NAPA fellow, urged political

appointees and career executives

to reject the common myth that one

group may not be able to trust the other.

He said, Both groups need to listen

to one another and communicate

their ideas. For more information on

transitions to a new administration, Kamensky

pointed to some publications

available through the Web sites of the

IBM Center for The Business of Government

and the Council for Excellence

in Government, including Learning the

Ropes: Insights for Political Appointees

and Presidential Transition Series: Transition

Management Reports.

Performance Management

Phillip G. Joyce, professor of public

policy and public administration at

GWU and a NAPA fellow, predicted

that the next administration will continue

to have some kind of performance

management program like the current

Presidents Management Agenda. However,

he added that the need to improve

performance information about government

programsin a way that will

win the trust of government managers,

congressional leaders, and the public

will continue to be an underlying issue.

Nine Presidents

Lillian Brown, media consultant

and adjunct professor at Georgetown

and Yale Universities, spoke about

how each of nine presidents, from

Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton,

worked to build trusting relationships

with the key people around them. On

a personal level, she described each of

them as caring individuals, who really

appreciated the work she did to

make them look good as their makeup

artist and communications adviser.

Relationships That Make

Government Work

Dr. Terry Newell, director of

Leadership for a Responsible Society,

and Dr. Peter Ronayne, dean of faculty

at FEI, led a spirited discussion about

how federal executives need to build

relationships that make government

work to become trusted leaders.

They cited national polls showing

that trust in government has declined

over the past thirty years. They urged

federal executives to work to make

their programs more accountable and

more transparent to win more public

trust. To do so, they said, we need to actively

engage both our employees and

our customers in our work and build

relationships with them. For more information

on trusted leaders, see the

book they recently published with

Grant Reeher, The Trusted Leader:

Building Relationships That Make Government

Work.

FEI Panel

In addition to these speakers, a panel

of distinguished FEI alumni spoke of

how their experiences at FEI helped

them to become trusted leaders. They

all praised the FEI experience as making

them sensitive to democratic values

and the importance of building relationships

through networking. The panelists

were Ron Manderscheid, director

of mental health and substance use programs

at the Constella Group; Tina Sung,

cofounder and managing partner of Experience

Matters; Pamela Talkin, marshal

of the U.S. Supreme Court; and John

Dowdall, comptroller and auditor for

Northern Ireland.