No matter which candidate ends up in the White House in 2017, his or her staff will have to work effectively with the Senior Executive Service.
While on its face, this is obvious, it's still not exceptionally easy to execute. That's why the Partnership for Public Service has partnered with The IBM Center for The Business of Government to develop a management roadmap for the next administration.
Related: Read the report
The roadmap, which was crafted over a series of roundtables between the two groups, outlines recommendations and issues a new administration will have to address during the transition period, summarized in a report out this week.
"It's really about how you use the tools at your disposal to create a team of leaders that can work together effectively to implement key priorities," said Dan Chenok, executive director of The IBM Center for The Business of Government.
The report, co-authored by Doug Brook and Maureen Hartney of Duke University, identifies five issues and four recommendations for the next administration, including creating a government-wide executive management corps, department- and agency-level joint executive management teams, a political executive management corps and a career executive management corps.
"Too often, new administrations simply select their political appointees and send them off to their agencies, where it is left to individual appointees to develop their management strategies," the report said. "This does not always produce favorable results, nor does it facilitate consistencies in management practices and policies across the government.
"The essential building block for an effective executive talent management strategy is the creation of enterprise-focused executive management teams in the departments and agencies of the federal government."
Chenok served on President Barack Obama's 2008 transition team as lead for the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform group and was at the Office of Management and Budget during the 1992 and 2000 transitions. He said transitions have evolved over time, often due to the circumstances surrounding them.
"What I've seen through different sides of the transition as they have evolved is that they have been learning from one transition to the next about what success looks like," he said. "With the transition from [Bill] Clinton to [George W.] Bush [in 2000], there is was obviously some complications because of the election that year, but once the outcome was certain, there was a pretty quick understanding, as a career executive at OMB, that we wanted to help the new team get up and running quickly." That was the year that Democratic candidate Al Gore contested the election after a very close finish in Florida, which eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court stepping in.
"In 2008, there was a clear understanding that you wanted to address both the traditional agency perspectives that transition teams had, as well as these more functional perspectives like technology or government reform," Chenok said.
The report, Chenok said, continues the lessons learned during the 2008 tradition by identifying the different parts of the management framework needing to be addressed early to ensure success.
"You really want to focus on executive leadership," he said. "Because the people that come into lead programs are going to be the one to make successful paths from Day One or if you don't pay attention to that, it can lead to some challenges."