David Dejewski

Posts by David Dejewski

When it comes to making decisions in the federal government, who is in charge does matter, but good coordinating mechanisms matter more. The ability to make high quality business decisions is within reach, but making them part of our organizational fabric is easier said than done.

A “high quality decision” in this context is a somewhat complex concept that deserves a few words.

High quality decisions maximize resources and minimize fail. They produce the biggest bang for the buck, mitigate “tail” or after-the-fact costs, and put “rounds on target” meaning they satisfy the organizational requirement for a given period of time (vs. a perceived requirement or collateral requirements).

High quality decisions endure over time and reach distributed audiences in tact. They are clear, capable of being executed, and understood by all stakeholders involved.

It also bears mentioning that making no decision at all can cost as much as making a poor decision. I have seen cases where not making a decision can cost as much as $1 million per day. A high quality decision, therefore, is also timely.

The Department of Defense (DoD), like other federal departments, is struggling with some important problems. Pressure to manage resources more effectively is mounting, bureaucracy is slow, and business systems (like financial management and material management systems) are not working together as well as we would like them to. Interoperability, clean audit, financial visibility and common supplier engagement on a Department level are a few problems that remain elusive. Transformation of the DoD remains a top priority of the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

These problems are not new. The DoD has been wrestling with them for more than two decades. In my 20 years working with the government, a long line of leaders have stepped into the batter’s box and taken their best swings. Each time a new leader steps up to the plate, hopes run high for about two years. Again and again, the “new” leader’s ideas don’t seem to work as planned and energy fizzles. Status quo washes away most of the progress made by individuals like ocean waves wash away sand castles.

When one leader can’t seem to make things work, we usually let them run their course and install a new one. Occasionally, we get rid of them early. In either case, spirits soar once again. It is clear to everyone that the “new-new” leader is a good person and has some good things going for them. We continue to hope that each new leadership selection is the one that will take us across the goal line to real and lasting transformation.

“Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world.” – Archimedes Keep reading →