Showing posts with label Action-oriented. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Action-oriented. Show all posts

September 30, 2015

Chabad Making A Difference

Beautiful job by Rabbi Yudi Steiner of George Washington University hosting the Chabad Sukkot Barbecue in Washington, D.C.

The Rabbi was there welcoming students and Jews from around town to a sweet BBQ luncheon in the sukah. 

And the students were making the blessing with the Rabbi on the lulav and esrog for the holiday.

As always, Chabad is out there making a difference in Jewish lives, helping them do mitzvot, and spreading cheer and unity wherever they are. 

We are so lucky to have wonderful Lubavitch chasidim all around the world helping Jews be better Jews. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

July 30, 2011

Federal Register On Steroids

"The Federal Register is "the official daily publication of rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents." It is published by the Office of Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration in the Government Printing Office's (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys)--"the next generation on online government information."

Attached is a snapshot that shows a very basic chronological order of posts with an issue of the Federal Register subdivided by agency/organization. It's organized and to the point!

Now, here is a new way of looking at the information from GovPulse, a site developed to "make such documents as the Federal Register searchable, more accessible and easier to encourage every citizen to become more involved in the workings of their government and make their voice heard." The site is built from open source.

You'll see that there is a lot more information readily available, organized in multiple ways, and really quite user-centric; some examples:

1) Number of Entries for the Day: The number of entries for the day are listed right at the top.
2) Calendar for Selecting Day of Interest: Next to the number of entries for the day, you can click on the calendar icon and get an instant 3 months of dates to choose from or enter another date of interest and be instantly take to there.
3) Statistics for the Day: The right sidebar displays the locations mentioned on a map and the types of entries and reporting agencies in pie charts.
4) Department Entries are Prominently Displayed: Both the number of entries for each department are identified as well as identifying their type and length along with an abstract for the entry. Each Department's entries can easily be expanded or collapses by clicking on the arrow next to the department's name.
5) Entries are Enabled for Action: By clicking on an entry, there are options to share it via social media to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and Reddit to let others know about it and there is also a listing of your senators and representatives and their contact information to speak up on the issues.

Additional helpful features on the homepage--immediate access to areas that are last chance to act or what's new, such as:

1) Comments closing in the next 7 days
2) Comments opened in the last 7 days
3) Rules taking effect in the next 7 days
4) Rules proposed in the last 7 days

Moreover, you have another map with bubbles showing mentioned locations or you can enter your own location and get all the entries subdivided by 10, 15, 20 miles and so on up to 50 miles away.

Another feature called Departmental Pulse, show a trend line of number of entries per department over the last year or 5 years.

At the top of the page, you can quickly navigate to entries in the Federal Register by agency, topic, location, date published, or do a general search.

There are other cool features such as when you look at entries by department, you can see number of entries, places mentioned, and a bubble map that tells you popular topics for this department.

Overall, I think GovPulse deserves a big thumbs up in terms of functionality and usability and helping people get involved in government by being able to access information in easier and simpler ways.

The obvious question is why does it take 3 outsiders "with a passion for building web applications" to do this?

While I can't definitively answer that, certainly there are benefits to coming in with fresh eyes, being true subject matter experts, and not bound by the "bureaucracy" that is endemic in so many large institutions.

This is not say that there are not many talented people in government--because there certainly are--but sometimes it just takes a few guys in a garage to change the world as we know it.

Federal_register Govpulse


July 7, 2008

The Virtuous Cycle and Enterprise Architecture

To move the enterprise into the future, organizations need leaders who have the skills and abilities to generate genuine improved results for the organization. These leaders are not afraid of change, embrace new ways of doing things, and are generally speaking, growth oriented.

The Wall Street Journal, 7 July 2008, identifies the effective leadership traits of those who “demonstrate a virtuous cycle of beliefs and behaviors.” Here is my cut at them:

  1. Outlook on change—it starts with their outlook on life; effective leaders see “life as a journey of learning, [and] therefore embrace uncertainty, seek new experiences, [and] broaden [their] repertoire. This is in contrast to managers who follow the “vicious cycle” with an outlook that “life is a test,… [they] fear uncertainty, avoid new experiences, [and] narrow [their] repertoire. Leaders rich in experience often either come up the ranks, having been trained and worked in various diverse jobs internally or having worked in a multitude of external organizations in similar or different industries, but in either case, these leaders have been tested time again and have a developed a history of success in the face of constant or frequent change.
  2. Customer view—effective leaders “understand customers as people” (versus seeing them only as data points), and they are thus, better able to detect new growth opportunities. This reminds me of the user-centric approach in enterprise architecture that I espouse. If we focus on the end-user/customer, and take an thoughtful approach to genuinely satisfying their needs, rather than just trying to make a sale, then we will always be working to do things better, faster, and cheaper. This is a long-term growth approach, rather than a short-term market share or stock price watcher view.
  3. Action-orientation—virtuous leaders manage risk through action instead of through analysis paralysis, and they place “small bets quickly” rather than big bets slowly. One manager at a confectionary company put it this way, “get the products into the marketplace, and then start to understand what works and doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, either take another shot at it or cut your losses.” That’s the price of learning. While this approach seems a little too loosey goosey; I do see the value of cutting off the analysis phase at a reasonable point, making a decision, and then following through with corrective action as needed.
  4. Agility—great leaders are agile and believe that “abilities are malleable” and with change can come growth, as opposed to believing that “abilities are immutable” and leaders being fixed in their way of doing things. There is a need for entrepreneurial leaders who while not risk seekers, are able to take calculated risks. They change as often as necessary to remain agile, growing their own and their organization’s capabilities in meeting customers’ needs, but they do not change for changes sake alone.

What interesting is that each and every trait identified here for effective leadership centers around change—embracing it, acting on it, managing it, and remaining nimble in the face of ever changing circumstance. This is highly consistent with the enterprise architecture view of identifying the baseline, target, and transition plan and moving the enterprise ever forward in the face of constant change.