Showing posts with label Governance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Governance. Show all posts

February 2, 2020

Business Case Scoring - Template

Just wanted to share this quick business case scoring template. 

In evaluating various business cases, individuals can score each based on the following:

- Business Justification
- Analysis of Alternatives
- Technical Alignment
- Feasibility of Implementation Strategy
- Funding/Resource Availability

The ratings are done with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. 

The scoring sheet calculate average, and identifies highest and lowest scores.

Then the individual scores can be summarized and used to rank the projects in your portfolio. 

Based on overall funding, you can determine how many of the top-ranked projects are doable in the year, and then roll over the others for reevaluation along with new business cases next go around. 

Capisce? ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2020

Project Governance and Gate Reviews

Thought this may be helpful for those looking at a Governance Process and Gate Reviews for project management. 

This aligns the Capital Planning and Investment Controls (CPIC) process of select, control, and evaluate phases with the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). 

There are 5 notional gate reviews with associated documentation for project conception, initiation, planning, execution, and launch.

Of course, this can be modified as needed based on the project threshold and governance stringency required and seeks to create strategic alignment with the goals of the organization. 

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 18, 2019

Types of Project Management Office

This is a quick breakdown of the 3 types of Project Management Offices (PMOs).

  • Enabling (Supportive) — Provides best practices, templates, and tools “as needed,” and compliance is voluntary.
  • Delivery (Controlling) — Adopts framework or methodology, policy, and repeatable procedures, and a certain level of the standards are enforced.
  • Compliance (Directive) — Establishes strict standards, measures, and control over projects, and these are highly regulated.

A good place to start is with an enabling/supportive PMO and then progress to a more delivery/controlling model. Generally, a compliance/directive PMO is for more highly regulated organizations.

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal and concept via CIO Magazine and Gartner)
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January 30, 2018

Take Off The Halo and Horn

Thought this was a learning moment. 

The halo and horn effects. 

This has to do with generalizing about people, things, places, or events. 

With the halo effect, if we like (are positive) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial halo on it and treat or rate everything about it as great.

Similarly, with the horn effect, if we dislike (are negative) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial horn on it and treat or rate everything about it as horrible. 

This means we're not really being objective or balanced in our assessment. 

Usually, it's not all just good or bad, black or white--but good AND bad, black AND white.  

And obviously, this can cause us to make bad decisions based on poor analysis and judgment. 

Therefore, the importance of taking a step back, looking holistically at all the facts, and evaluating things for what they really are, rather than making snap calls to judgment--and poor ones at that! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to darksouls1)
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April 26, 2017

BIG Difference Between Private and Public Sectors

So I thought this was very telling today about the difference between the public and private sectors...

I was teaching a class and gave the students a challenging scenario and problem and asked how they would solve it.

The class was a mix of leaders and managers from the public and private sectors--this time weighted mostly on the commercial side. 

Typically, the students from the government usually provide answers in terms of lengthy analysis processes, negotiations, vetting and getting buy-in and approvals through many layers of bureaucracy and red tape, as well as getting people to understand the what's in it for me (WIIFM) value proposition.

However, this time, one the students from the private sector said bluntly, the following:


We can either do it the easy way or the hard way!

So I asked, "What do you mean the easy and hard ways?"

And he answered:


The easy way is that we can try at first to appeal to people, but if that doesn't work then the hard way is we just do what needs get done.

Again with great interest and curiosity, I inquire, "And how do you that?"

This time someone else answers, and says:


We do "rip and replace"--we pull up the truck in the middle of the night and we rip out the things we don't like and replace it with what we do, period.

Then I ask innocently again, "So what happens the next morning?"

And the 2nd person answers again, and says:


Who cares, the job is done!

This reminded me a little of the old images of the mob gangster pulling up in the shadows of the night to someone's door that wasn't cooperating and applying the baseball bat to the knees!

Yes, it's a very different and extreme way of getting what you want and when you want it, done. 

Quite a BIG difference between the private and public sector approach to getting thing done!

One one hand, we have the speed and execution of the marketplace versus the more lengthly thoughtfulness and inherent compromises of government and politics. 

What's it gonna be--some bureaucracy, seemingly endless red tape, and horse-trading or the good ol' baseball bat to the knees? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 28, 2016

Who You Gonna Trust?

We start out life as innocent children with inherent trust in those that care for us. 

It is nice to feel safe, loved, and cared for by people who dote over your every gurgle, smirk, fart, and spaghetti sauce smear on the face. 

As people grow older and have negative experiences however, they become more guarded and jaded by what they learn about other people's motives and agendas and how vulnerable and hurt they can get. 

Unfortunately, these days kids have to fear from pedophiles, parents that are addicts and wildly abusive, and teachers that let out their emotional problems on children that look up to them for guidance and education. 

As we get older, there are bullies in school and thugs on the street. 

And even in the office, there are those that abuse their positions of power and can make life miserable for the regular hard-working Joes not looking for any problems.

In relationships, spouses that cheat on one another and the resulting breakups have heart-wrenching effects on families. 

But perhaps, what is even worse than individual people that can hurt us are when the very institutions that are the bedrock of our society become corrupt and abusive of their authority and result in our loss of trust in them.

Already in 2010, trust in government was reaching new lows of 19%.

By 2014, trust in corporate America had eroded to just 36%.

Similarly, in 2016, trust in the news media fell to all time lows of 32%.

Reading about the clutching unto power of Fidel Castro's dictatorship for half a century in Cuba did not seem that far a stretch after seeing the powerful and dangerous political machine here in our own U.S.A. working to keep people in the seat of power almost at any cost to the country and the people. 

What was good for people was clearly last place to what was good for the ruling elites not just in Cuba anymore!

Similarly, the notion of a fair and balanced media went out the window with this last election, where investigative journalism became an oxymoronic term and idea. 

As for corporate America, outsourcing, shoddy goods, inflated advertising, short-term profiteering, rigged governance, and oversized pay packages to the C-suite left a handful of socially-conscious corporations stranded on a desert island of greed and raw capitalism.

Neither children nor adults are victims or sheep to be bullied or manipulated by abusers and manipulators in society. 

A free press so needed to keep corruption in check in the rest of public and private sector society has itself been infected by the bug of bias, bigotry, and personal agendas. 

Who can we trust when evil can overtake good temporarily to break bodies and souls of it's victims?

Ultimately, the people have the final say in keeping the wrongs in society from taking deep root and not letting nasty "big brothers" do the really bad things and take us down the wrong paths.

There are good people with integrity that we can trust, maybe just not everyone we'd like to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 22, 2016

Good IT Gone Bad

So over and over again, good IT goes bad in a flawed decision-making process. 

Even with the best laid plans and governance processes in place, somehow decisions get politicized, go bad, and projects fail. 

Here are some of the popular reasons why this happens:

1) Someone has something to prove - Often their is a person incoming to power who wants to show off what they can do. Instead of focusing on what is best for the organization's mission and people, they put themselves first. IT becomes not a tool for efficiency and effectiveness, but rather as some project rushed through for someone's resume and narcissist career progression. Time to add another notch on your IT belt!

2) Someone used it, saw it, or heard of it someplace else - So why follow a structured decision-making and vetting process for new technology, when Joe Schmoe already has the answer of what we can use and what we should do. Perhaps, Joe Schmoe used the technology in another place and for another reason, but that's what he knows and instantaneously, he's the maven, subject matter expert. Or maybe, Joe Schmoe attended a vendor conference or read a trade mag on the airplane and now he is guess what, the all-knowing on the topic. Get ready to pull out your wallets to pay for the wrong thing for your needs and organization, but it's okay becuase Joe Schmoe assured you it's great!

3) Someone wants to use technology like a Swiss army utility knife - Let's just buy this amazing tool; it can slice, dice, chop, mince, or Julienne; actually there is nothing this IT tool can't do. Buy it and use it for all your technology projects and needs. Why buy specialized tools, when you can have one that does everything--it will be your data warehouse, cloud provider, handle all your transactions, and be your artificial intelligence all in one.  Don't worry about the complexity, integration, training, support or how good it does any specific thing--just trust us!

In general, it shouldn't be so easy for leadership to get sold and fooled by the wrong people with the wrong agendas. Yet, these things seem to take off like a speeding locomotive, and if anyone tries to step in front of it, career splat for some unfortunate well-meaning character!

Some leaders and organizations only seem to learn by making the same IT mistakes again and again--it's costly to their mission and to their stakeholders, but someone is making out like a bandit and it's on their dime. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 2, 2016

Boardroom B.S.

So I had the opportunity to attend a board meeting recently and to see firsthand why most decisions are so flawed. 

- No Diversity--The board members were all from a single age group and color, and this clearly impacted their thought processes and decisions. For example, when others attending the meeting asked about updating some technology, the board members blankly felt that was not important even after almost a decade of the same thing. 

- Self-Interest--The board only entertained issues that they were interested in for themselves. For example, when someone stood up to talk about issues they didn't feel were important to them, the board members tuned out, interrupted the speakers, actually scrowled at them, or just shut them down altogether. 

- Getting Personal--Board members frequently changed the discussion from substantive discussion to personal attacks. When one person questioned a recent decision, a board member started yelling about being called names (which never happened that I saw) or telling the speakers that they didn't know what they were talking about. 

- Information Poor--Board members made decisions or committees recommended decisions first, and then put it up for discussion later (like at a subsequent meeting). Moreover, the board members referred to decisions being made over and over based on anecdotes of people telling them this, that, or the other thing (none of which could be verified) and not on facts or surveys of those impacted by the decisions. 

- Transparency Lacking--Board members made decisions without explanation for the reason or justification, and even without necessarily evaluating all the alternatives. When questioned, the board wasn't able to identify costs of alternatives or even fully explore the other viable options. 

- Intimidating The Opposition--The board members actually seemed to challenge and turn to intimidation to stem alternate views from their own. Some people that had supported other voices in the room where turned or told that they hadn't understood the issues properly to begin with. 

Despite some nice people personally and one or two that didn't seem to go along with the shinanigans, overall it was a very disppointing show of decision-making, governance, communication, and leadership. 

No wonder people get turned off by the process, don't participate, and lose confidence in those at the top. Maybe time for people to be leaders with heart and not megalomaniacs with gavels. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to CJ Sorg)
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January 22, 2016

Poor Decision-Making Inc.


(Click the image for larger size)
___________________________

There is a funny Organization Chart of Indecision by Corter Consulting circulating on the Social Media. 

This graphic (above) by me can be thought of as the corollary for Poor Decision-Making.

It is headed by the Chief, Bad Decisions.

Supporting the Chief is the EVP of Strong-Arming.

Reporting to the Chief are 6 VPs of:

- Haste

- Intuition

- Incompetence

- Misinformation

- Narcissism

- Corruption

Followed by 16 Directors of:

- Get It Over With
- It's Too Hard

- Feelings
- Myths
- I Just Don't Know

- Ignorance
- Ineptitude

- Lack of Data
- Bad Data
- Misinterpretation

- What's In It For Me (WIIFM)
- Legacy
- Arrogance

- Fraud
- Waste
- Abuse

Hope you enjoy this Org Chart of Poor Decision-Making and I look forward to your comments on it. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 10, 2016

Enterprise Architecture - Make The Leap

Another good depiction of enterprise architecture.

What we are, the divide, and what we want to be.

We have to make the leap, but only with good planning and decision-making governance. 

Otherwise, it's a long fall down the project failure abyss. 

Faith is always important, but so it doing your credible part. ;-)

(Source Photo: Via Instagram)
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October 1, 2015

Settle Things Like Adults

This was a funny picture on the Metro in Washington, D.C.

On their commute, one lady is reading her newspaper and one gentlemen is listening to his iPod.

On the man's shirt, it says something like:

"Let's settle this like adults: Rock-Paper-Scissors."

Adults are in so many senses just like big children. 

We get into disagreements, arguments, and fights, and then don't know how to get out of them and resolve things.

Hence, the old "Rock-Paper-Scissors."

- Rock beats scissors.

- Paper beats rock.

- Scissors beats paper.

Everything can beat something. 

And everybody is right from their own perspective on things. 

Decision is by the luck of the draw between two people--throwing off hands gestures. 

Probably just as good (if not better) than how most decisions get made and disputes get resolved in everyday real life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2015

When In Doubt

I like this sign that I saw in a local place of business that buys and sells goods. 

"When in doubt--PASS!"

How many times are we faced with a challenging situation, and we are not quite sure what to do.

We hem and haw and go back and forth in our minds whether we should really do it?

But like my wife and I came to with decision-making in general a while ago, "If it isn't yes, then it's no."

When that little something inside is giving you pause, doubt, and holding you back...there is usually a very good reason. 

STOP yourself right there--listen to your gut and instinct.

If you don't, you'll pay the price afterwards for making a bad call that you knew deep down was a big no-no to begin with. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2015

Governance, Pay Attention

So I chose this photo to represent bad governance. 

The governing board covers their ears, eyes, and mouth.

Because they hear and see no evil and speak no truth. 

They are deaf, blind, and dumb--they provide no real oversight. 

Simply choosing to collect their pay checks and stock options for residing on the governance board.

This is their payoff--not to govern--but rather to shut up and stay out of it!

I read a good overview of what governance is supposed to be and comparing it to management functions (Reference: Exam Preparation Course in a Book for Passing the CISM):

  • "Oversight versus Implementation
  • Assigning Authority versus Authorizing action
  • Enacting policy versus Enforcing policy
  • Accountability versus Responsibility
  • Strategic planning versus Project planning
  • Resource allocation versus Resource utilization"

When the board does their job, then the organization has a business strategy, manages risks, allocates resources, delivers value, and measures and monitors performance. 

In other words, no more acting like a bunch of out of control monkeys. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 16, 2014

Decide To Win

This was an interesting sign + sticker in Washington, D.C.

It asks to Stop Fighting Congress or perhaps stop the fighting in Congress.

The point is to come together and collaborate for a better decision, rather than have bad decisions made by just one side or have indecision altogether.

The New York Times had an Op-Ed over the weekend called The Great Unraveling about how we are living amidst hatred, fighting, disintegration, disease, and disorientation. 

And we are watching it as if dazed and confused--paralyzed as a nation taking maybe a baby step here or there, but with seemingly no solid committment to do anything to really change, improve, better, or win. 

Scared by lost lives and treasure since 9/11...we cannot bear to lose or waiver in our resolve because of weariness or despair.

Their is a lot to get done...for ourselves and future generations.

We've got to stop fighting our demons and each other and instead face up, man up, to the myriad of global problems that confront us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2014

I Like That Technology

Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal makes the case for letting employees go rogue with IT purchases.

It's cheaper, it's faster, "every employee is a technologist," and those organizations "concerned about the security issues of shadow IT are missing the point; the bigger risk is not embracing it in the first place."


How very bold or stupid? 


Let everyone buy whatever they want when they want--behavior akin to little children running wild in a candy store. 


So I guess that means...


  • Enterprise architecture planning...not important.
  • Sound IT governance...hogwash.
  • A good business case...na, money's no object.
  • Enterprise solutions...what for? 
  • Technical standards...a joke.
  • Interoperability...who cares? 
  • Security...ah, it just happens!

Well, Mims just got rids of decades of IT best practices, because he puts all his faith in the cloud.

It's not that there isn't a special place for cloud computing, BYOD, and end-user innovation, it's just that creating enterprise IT chaos and security cockiness will most-assuredly backfire. 


From my experience, a hybrid governance model works best--where the CIO provides for the IT infrastructure, enterprise solutions, and architecture and governance, while the business units identify their specific requirements on the front line and ensure these are met timely and flexibly.


The CIO can ensure a balance between disciplined IT decision-making with agility on day-to-day needs. 


Yes, the heavens will not fall down when the business units and IT work together collaboratively. 


While it may be chic to do what you want when you want with IT, there will come a time, when people like Mims will be crying for the CIO to come save them from their freewheeling, silly little indiscretions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 4, 2014

A Different Definition For IV&V

In IT circles, IV&V generally refers to Independent Verification and Validation, but for CIOs another important definition for leading is Independent Views and Voices.

Please read my new article on this: here at Government Technology -- hope you enjoy it.

Andy

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Joi)
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February 8, 2014

Take Your Advice And Shove It

Great piece in the Wall Street Journal today on getting and giving advice. 

This was a funny article about how most advice comes not from the wise, but from the idiots trying to push their own agendas, make a buck off you, or bud into your business. 

When people try to tell you what to do, "the subtext is 'You're an idiot for not already doing it."

But who wants to do what someone else tells them to do--unless you a robotic, brainless, loser!

Every manager should already know that everyone hates a control freak micromanager--and that they suck the creative lifeblood out of the organization. 

The flip side is when you give people the freedom to express their talents and take charge of their work activities, you motivate them to "own it!"

Real meaning from work comes from actually having some responsibility for something where the results matter and not just marching to the tune of a different drummer. 

The best leaders guide the organization and their people towards a great vision, but don't choke off innovation and creativity and sticking their fat fingers in people's eyes. 

The flip side of advice not getting hammered on you, is when you have the opportunity to request it. 

People who aren't narcissistic, control freaks seek out other people's opinions on how to approach a problem and to evaluate the best solutions. 

This doesn't mean that they aren't smart and capable people in and of themselves, but rather that they are actually smarter and more capable because they augment their experience and thinking with that of others--vetting a solution until they find one that really rocks!

While decision making by committee can lead to analysis paralysis or a cover your a*s (CYA) culture, the real point to good governance is to look at problems and solutions from diverse perspectives and all angles before jumping head first into what is really a pile of rocks under the surface. 

Does vetting always get you the right or best decision? 

Of course not, because people hijack the process with the biggest mouth blowing the hottest stream. 

But if you can offset the power jocks and jerky personalities out there, then you really have an opportunity to benefit from how others look at things. 

While the collective wisdom can be helpful, in the end, all real grown ups show personal independence, self-sufficiency, and a mind of their own, and take responsibility for their decisions and actions. 

We can learn from others, but we learn best from our own mistakes...no pain, no gain. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 13, 2013

Shortsighted Government Is Selfish Politics


So I am at the pool today in Maryland. 

This old man--looks about 100, yes really!--comes up to me and starts a conversation. 

He says, you know what--my friend in California is 99-years old and he just got his driver's license renewed--for 5 years!

Imagine that--can the State of California with confidence really issue a 5-year driver's license to someone at that age and believe that both the drivers' safety and public safety is provided for?

Yes, the problems at the Federal government level are ginormous--the national debt, the level of social entitlements, the "true" unemployment rate, the poverty level, our failing healthcare system, and more. 

Still we cannot forget that some of the most important services that citizens get are at the State and Local levels of government--police, fire & rescue, transportation, community development, family planning, and more. 

For government to function effectively--we need all levels to act rationally, responsibly, and with care for the people in mind--both short-term and long-term. 

Issuing 5-year driver's license to 99-year old individuals can have a devastating impact on someone family if that person loses control of their vehicle due to their physical or mental condition.

Similarly, issuing social entitlements (and they may indeed be needed) without a realistic plan for funding the system is irresponsible and can have a catastrophic impact to families around the nation when the system comes up short.

Government has to run with common sense--and stop setting up rules that are shortsighted and blind to the bigger picture. 

Yes, people deserve to drive and to have medical care and so forth, but politicians should set up these systems, so that the people are really served, and not just their political agendas. ;-)

(Source Video: Michelle Blumenthal)
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October 12, 2013

Parole By Analytics

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about parole boards using software to predict repeat offenders before letting someone go free. 

What used to be a decision based on good behavior during time served, showing remorse to the parole board, and intuition is being augmented with "automated assessments" that include inmate interviews, age of first arrest, type of crime, and so forth.

At least 15 states have adopted "modern risk assessment methods" to determine the potential for recidivism. 

Individuals are marked as higher risk if they are:

- Young--age 18-23 (and impulsive)
- Offense was drug-related
- Suspended or expelled from school
- Quit a job prior to having another one 
- Single or separated
- Diagnosed with a mental disorder
- Believes that it's not possible to overcome their past. 

Surprisingly, violent criminals (rapists and murders) are actually considered lower risk those guilty of nonviolent property crimes--the thinking being the someone convicted of robbery is more likely to repeat the criminal behavior because the crime is one that "reflects planning and intent."

Honestly, I think it is more than ridiculous that we should rank violent criminals less risky than thieves and release them because they had what is considered an "emotional outburst."

Would you rather have some thieves back on the street or murders and rapists--rhetorical question!

But it just shows that even the best of systems that are supposed to help make better decisions--can instead be misused or abused.

This happens when there is either bad data (such as from data-entry mistakes, deceptive responses, and missing relevant information) or from poorly designed decision rules/algorithms are applied.

The Compas system is one of the main correctional software suites being used, and the company Northpointe (a unit of Volaris) themselves advise that officials should "override the system's decisions at rates of 8% to 15%."

While even a 1/7 error rate may be an improvement over intuition, we need to still do better, especially if that 1 person commits a violent hideous crime that hurts someone else in society, and this could've been prevented. 

It's certainly not easy to expect a parole board to make a decision of whether to let someone out/free in 20 minutes, but think about the impact to someone hurt or killed or to their family, if the wrong decision is made. 

This is a critical governance process that needs:

- Sufficient time to make important decisions
- More investment in tools to aid the decision process
- Refinement of the rules that support release or imprisonment
- Collection of a broad base of interviews, history, and relevant data points tied to repeat behavior
- Validation of information to limit deception or error.

Aside from predicting whether someone is likely to be repeat offenders, parole boards also need to consider whether the person has been both punished in accordance with the severity of the crime and rehabilitated to lead a productive life going forward. 

We need to decide people's fates fairly for them, justly for the victims, and safely for society--systems can help, but it's not enough to just "have faith in the computer." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown - On The Street

Day #3 of the Federal Government Shutdown.

I am reminded on the streets of D.C. that there are many others hurting and in need. 

Pictured here are some hardworking folks striking against "unfair labor" practices.

They're up early and are standing there ready, presumably willing, and able to work. 

At the bottom it says, "Employer refuses to bargain in good faith."

With news coming again this morning about continued failure in talks on the government budget (and debt ceiling not far behind), we are left wondering when good faith and compromise will bring 800,000 federal workers back to their jobs. 

All these people have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and jobs to perform.

I read this morning how the Federal workers are feeling like "pawns" and "marginalized" like never before.

Perhaps, we can get more done by helping people feel a level of control, valued, and with purpose?

The world is still a big and scary place with lots of dangerous actors and challenging problems.

Rather then political polarlization and indecision, we need to stand firm by a definite set of sacred national values (while compromising on the implementation details), project the strength to defend them both domestically and abroad, and stay fair, faithful, and unwaveringly united to perform our vital role in this world. 

To solve large global problems, we need to be able to show that we can manage our own house in order first. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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