Key Issues > Federal Leadership Capacity and Continuity
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Federal Leadership Capacity and Continuity

Perhaps the single most important element of successful management improvement and transformation initiatives is the demonstrated commitment of top leaders, as shown by their personal involvement in reform efforts.


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The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires several new leadership structures and responsibilities aimed at sustaining attention on performance improvement efforts at both the agency and government-wide levels. For example, GPRAMA assigns leadership responsibilities to agency officials in key performance management roles, including chief operating officer, performance improvement officer, and agency priority goal leader. Among other responsibilities under GPRAMA, agency leaders are required to conduct quarterly, data-driven performance reviews.

  • Most key officials were greatly involved in central aspects of performance management required by GPRAMA, according to a GAO survey of performance improvement officers. These include strategic and performance planning and goal setting, and performance measurement and analysis.
  • Although some progress has been made, these key leaders are still missing opportunities to improve performance management, such as by addressing crosscutting issues and using performance data to improve results.
  • The GPRAMA framework can be more fully leveraged to address governance challenges. For example, our 2013 survey of federal managers showed that reported collaboration increases when individuals contribute to cross-agency priority goals, agency priority goals, or quarterly performance reviews (all required by GPRAMA). Additionally, effective quarterly performance reviews can serve as a leadership strategy, requiring leadership and other responsible parties to come together to review performance information and identify opportunities to improve results. Our 2013 federal managers survey showed that managers’ familiarity with these reviews is positively related to managers’ perceptions of their leadership’s demonstrated commitment to using performance information.
Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Managing For Results:

Managing For Results:

Agencies Have Elevated Performance Management Leadership Roles, but Additional Training Is Needed
Published: Apr 16, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2013.

Managing for Results:

Government Performance:

GPRA Modernization Act Provides Opportunities to Help Address Fiscal, Performance, and Management Challenges
Published: Mar 16, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2011.

Organizational Transformation:

Implementing Chief Operating Officer/Chief Management Officer Positions in Federal Agencies
Published: Nov 1, 2007. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2007.

More Reports

Military Health System:

Sustained Senior Leadership Needed to Fully Develop Plans for Achieving Cost Savings
Published: Feb 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2014.

Department of Homeland Security:

DHS's Efforts to Improve Employee Morale and Fill Senior Leadership Vacancies
Published: Dec 12, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2013.

Joint Military Education:

Actions Needed to Implement DOD Recommendations for Enhancing Leadership Development
Published: Oct 23, 2013. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 2013.

DOD's POW/MIA Mission:

DOD's POW/MIA Mission:

Recovering Servicemembers and Veterans:

Driver's License Security:

Federal Leadership Needed to Address Remaining Vulnerabilities
Published: Sep 21, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 2012.

Information Sharing:

Operational Contract Support:

Sustained DOD Leadership Needed to Better Prepare for Future Contingencies
Published: Sep 12, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 2012.

Personnel Security Clearances:

Continuing Leadership and Attention Can Enhance Momentum Gained from Reform Effort
Published: Jun 21, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2012.
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    • J. Christopher Mihm
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