Successful Workplace

red-tapeWhat do you do if you’re a leader in a large, successful organization with an entrenched bureaucracy, and you see the need for innovation? Can you change the way a large organization — such as the federal government — does its work, when all the forces are arrayed for stability and conservatism?

Consider the story of the Business Transformation Agency of the Department of Defense, which was founded in 2005 under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and “disestablished” in 2011 by Defense Secretary Gates. The Business Transformation Agency was populated by people brought in from the commercial sector. They were bold and brash and injected fresh new ideas that challenged existing policy and practice in many quarters of the Department of Defense administration (such as finance, human resources, procurement, and supply chain processes). They ran into many of the familiar challenges of making changes in the federal government: the difficulty of…

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