8 Steps Barack Obama Can Take for a More Effective Government

Jonathan D. Breul suggests 8 ways to improve government efficiency.


6. Link efforts to the budget. Strong linkage with the budget process is a key factor in gaining serious attention for management and performance initiatives throughout the government. While each recent president has tried to do so, President George W. Bush has made notable progress in this area with his "budget and performance integration" effort.

7. Effectively coordinate and collaborate with the agencies. The real responsibility for addressing management and performance rests with the departments and agencies and the networks of third parties they rely upon to deliver program services. Task forces and interagency councils have emerged as an important leadership strategy in developing policies that are sensitive to implementation concerns as well as gaining consensus and consistent follow-through within the executive branch. Vice President Gore's government reinvention effort probably made the most extensive and sustained use of interagency collaboration and coordination.

8. Obtain support from Congress. Without support from Congress, agencies may become distracted by competing signals, or even worse, denied the funding or flexibility necessary to implement a president's agenda. No recent president has been able to garner much interest or support from Congress for his management initiatives. Indeed, the lack of congressional support has been a chronic limitation to gaining the full acceptance by the agencies or to maintaining continuity beyond a particular administration.

Jonathan D. Breul is executive director of the IBM Center for t he Business of Government, which has published The Operator's Manual for the New Administration and Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives.