Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Guide for Federal Managers

The IBM Center for the Business of Government has released a new report by Dr. Jane Fountain, Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Guide for Federal Managers. The report offers insights on building successful cross-agency relationships, many of which are also noted in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that examines best practices in implementing interagency collaborative mechanisms.

Agencies and scholars have long advocated the importance of interagency collaboration, and recent changes in law and advances in technology make managing such initiatives more achievable than at any other time. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 requires the development of government-wide priority goals and greater coordination and collaboration among agencies. Yet “requiring” is different than “doing,” and the report provides managers with insight into translating ideas into actions that can improve outcomes significantly.

Dr. Fountain notes that effective collaboration consists of two dimensions – people skills and organizational processes – and that successful leaders must make strategic use of both elements to manage in a networked government.

People skills are central to developing the trust, norms, and connections essential to effective multi-agency initiatives. Yet leaders must also simultaneously create the institutional and organizational processes that allow cross-agency actions to be sustained over time, such as formal agreements, defined roles and responsibilities, pooled resources, and shared performance goals.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations for action by leaders of interagency initiatives, as well as recommending that OMB develop cross-government guidance so agencies can move forward quickly.

Download the report here.

 

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