There’s a new feature at The Washington Post online, it’s a column that runs three times a week called The Federal Coach, a collaboration between the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and the Washington Post’s On Leadership.
Anyway, last week the author, Tom Fox, posted a great article on what Steve Jobs can learn from public leaders, and the article started out like this:
“Say the phrase “business leader,” and images of industry giants like Steve Jobs spring to mind. Now say “government leader” —-”
Think for a moment about your preconceptions of what a government leader is. What does a government leader do? How would you compare a government leader to a corporate leader? Are they peers?
The article goes on to inquire “Why is it that we associate private-sector leaders with greatness … and associate public-sector leaders with bungling bureaucracy?”
Good question indeed. Here’s where they really got my attention…Did you know that:
· Government leaders must satisfy the competing expectations of more than 300 hundred million citizens – the American government’s investors and customers?
· The government’s board of directors includes 435 Members of Congress and 100 Senators who always disagree and frequently enjoy micromanaging?
· Many of the top leaders – that is, the government’s political appointees – average only 18 months?
· The workforce includes approximately 2.1 million employees – everyone from astrophysicists to zoologists?
· The government oversight community includes the same press examining the private sector, as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO), agencies’ inspectors general, and a vibrant group of nonprofits keeping an eye out for waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement?
He then goes on to explore whether or not Steve Jobs could do the job! Check it out.