1:39 am, April 21, 2015

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  • SES mobility
    marien
    Mike, your point about numb-derriere politicians is well taken. But, aside from the pot calling the kettle black, they do make a good point about SESers. One of the original ideas re SES was for them to be management specialists, not content specialists. However, those in my agency became content specialists and burrowed in, deep. Not one has ever been transferred anywhere else, even to another agency located in DC. One hanger on in my office was in charge of introducing new hires, organizing the holiday party, and putting out notices of all-hands meetings. Oh, and I forgot how totally rude and nasty she was toward staff and on more than one occasion blocked career changes for staff she didn't like. They are nothing but puppets for the political appointees. There needs to be a major shake-up with the SES system, including strong consideration of getting rid of it because it really hasn't been what it was designed to be.
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  • SES
    Bud
    SES needs to be scrapped/overhauled completely.In my agency there are roughly 250 SESers.About 10 have been SES at another agency.80% of the 250 are one dimensional,meaning they still manage in the tech occupation they had when entering the agency(HR,Audit,etc.).And the percentage of SESers receiving bonuses is three times higher than the workers.But the biggest issue workers have with the SESers is lack of leadership.Each passing year reflects less decision making or risk taking.The bulk of decisions/risks falls to division/branch/first line managers.And the Sesers are quick to throw these managers "under the bus" when the you know what hits the fan.
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  • SES Decisions
    Moderate
    Bud, I am putting this under your comments, because you have experience in management, although maybe not as a higher executive. I was and never will be in management.------------ I think that management people, whether executive or not, need to know the technical side as well as good management policies. This will allow them to make decisions with better knowledge of what is good for the technical people instead of what may sound good. Executives rely on their subordinates' advice when making decisions, but should be able to critically evaluate what the subordinates say instead of just blindly making a decision. What are your thoughts?-------I agree with your political comments about executives.
    worker
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  • SESers
    Bud
    Moderate,thanks for your response/comments.You're right about managers/executives needing to know the technical side.I'll call it "technically knowledgeable but not a technical expert."I've seen situations where managers were tech experts and then tried to second guess case work decisions rather than focus on the managerial side of the job such as counselling,evals,planning,budgeting,etc.I made it from techie to first line manager,then section,branch,division,and assistant director.The tech knowledge really helped along the way.My Director was a SES hire from private industry so it was a challenge guiding him in the tech issues.
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  • Mobility
    FedExec
    I am a serving member of the SES. I entered the SES ten years ago. Over this time I have switched agencies once and have occupied postions in two very different parts of my current agency. I elected to move between agencies out of a recognition that such movement was part of the intent of the SES. Having done this, I have two insights to offer. First, making the move (epsecially between agencies) puts one into a situation of not having an established network of people upon which to rely and through which to excert influence. This essentially places the tranfering executive in the position of political weakness and starting over. This can make such transitions incredibly difficult and stressful. Second, this situation is magnified when one moves into an area in which they don't have significant functional experience. I am not aware of any formal support mechanisms in the Federal service to support civilian executives making such transitions. Mechnisms to prepare and support military Flag and General officers do exist and appear to me to be very effective. So folks are saying, "leave your network, take a position in an area that you know little about, and do this without a support system." Is it any wonder that a good number of people say "no thanks" to this? Having jumped into the pool and made a move under such circumstances, I would advise others to think very carefully before doing so; the desires of policians and management "gurus" not withstanding.
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  • Alan Mullaly did it.
    contrarian
    He left Boeing and went to Ford. Granted his potential pay made the risk worthwhile. What you're really saying is the govt execs want the rewards with zero risk.
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  • No, not really
    FedExec
    I understand the connection bewteen risk and reward. Prior to entering the SES, I spent 15 years in the private sector and during that time worked for three companies. The level of distribution of authority in the government sector is greater than that typical of the private sector; especially at the executive level. Because of this, the importance of a network is increased. In order to get things done, it is exceedingly rare in the Federal sector to be able to act unilaterally in the way that a CEO can (and some times has to). I am not meaning that transitions should include zero risk. In my experience, it is not all about the money for most senior executives. Many could easily get hired into the private sector at much higher salaries. What I find is that for many it is about doing work that they think matters and in getting things done. The loss of one's network is a substantial risk in the area of getting things done. I am making a point that the balance of risk versus reward is more skewed than is immediately apparent.
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  • I guess we're making the same point.
    contrarian
    It just seems that govt execs are risk averse, and I'm not saying I blame them. Not that Mullaly expected a $50M payday, but maybe he had a thought he'd get a fraction of that. Or maybe he likes a challeng. You'll have to tell me why govt execs do what they do, because other than power or ego, I'm not seeing it.
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  • Execs
    fedgazingawe
    FedExec makes a good point about the lack of support networks when changing jobs. The flip side is the SESer that comes in from the outside, creates a fortress of "trusted" inner circle buddies, refuses to credit any staff work or analysis, then seems to be "paralyzed" and unable to make decisions let alone take risks. There is a lack of "risk management" in lieu of total risk avoidance. To those with management skills who are thereby blocked from any promise of promotion potential, this is very frustrating. It would be nice for more SES positions to open up that really are targeted for leader/managers and not reserved for those known by word of mouth.
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  • SESers
    Bud
    Well said,thank you.
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