Be Professional

I was watching NFL Sunday Night Football and noticed that an offensive and a defensive lineman from opposite teams congratulated each other on a play with one assisting the other to get up off the ground.  This was an unusual example of professionalism that we do not see much in today’s highly competitive world.  Typically, you see opposing team members getting in each other’s faces and shouting and pushing.  Of course, this is an example of non-professionalism.

It is interesting to watch professionals in the workforce.  They are highly motivated to improve their lifestyles, make more money, go higher up on the corporate ladder, purchase a bigger house… the list goes on, but everything is related to selfish desires.  Yet, in that wish list, you do not see a desire to become more professional.  That does not compute in the modern world, so it is refreshing to see it every now and then like I did that night during the football game.  It was so unique that I had to write a note about it.

In the movie, “Wallstreet,” we were told that greed is good.  There wasn’t a message to be more professional in that movie.  So, does today’s society believe that you should knock down your opposition and walk over them to reach your goals to satisfy your selfish greed, no matter what the costs?  This seems to be the case.  What has happened to our society?

Well, back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, people weren’t perfect by any means, but they worked together more because they saw what happened in the Great Depression and they were going through WWII and the Korean wars.  Small businessmen and farmers needed help since they didn’t have large operating funds.  Neighbors would pitch in to help whenever somebody needed a hand.  They didn’t consider themselves competing against each other like they do today.

Today, we don’t need any help from our neighbors or friends.  We are better than that.  We are the elite.  We will make it on our own because we are more aggressive.  And sometimes that works out for young professionals… at least until bad times hit.  And they will hit again.  It’s not will they come again, but when will they come again?

Thus, it might be important to be professional and congratulate your competitor for their accomplishments and deemphasize your wonderful feats.  Focusing on others may have a more beneficial impact on your persona than if you dedicated everything in your life to yourself.  And it would give you a boost toward preparing you for the bad times which will come again.  You might even have some friends who will help you when you are down.

Be professional, whether in your job, sporting event, community activity, social event, or interacting with family or friends.  Professionalism is an ethical attitude of doing the right thing even if it involves some sacrifice.  The choices you make always will have consequences.  Serve others before yourself and the world will be a better place for everybody.

Federal Executives Under Fire Should Be Fired

The “Federal Times” in a front page article on December 1, 2014, written by Andy Medici, indicated that the Senior Executive Service (SES) needed a major overhaul in the wake of recent scandals and criticism from lawmakers.

Former SES employees stated that things could be improved by increasing pay and incentives, by emphasizing positive achievements of SES’s rather than negative actions, and by encouraging movement between agencies.

Are you kidding me?  How will the SES’s be held accountable for mismanagement by giving them more money, bragging on them, and shuffling them around between agencies?  Well, just consider the source.

I was a fraud attorney for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.  I proposed criminal prosecution against SES members who broke the laws.  None of them were ever prosecuted.  I worked for over four decades in the military and only rarely were there consequences for SES’s when they violated laws.  And there were few consequences for incompetent and inept SES’s.

My opinion for over four decades remains the same.  They need to be prosecuted for unlawful activities and fired for incompetence.  The average salary for these overpaid managers is about $166,000.  In 2016, over half of these SES’s will be eligible to retire.  This would be a good time to recruit competent supervisors from the private sector.  The system of promoting home grown federal employees into management positions has only advanced the best “suck up’s” and career advocates in the system, who were not competent enough to enter private practice.  Over the years, the federal government loses its best employees because they can make more money on the outside and they get tired of working for incompetent management.

There are outstanding retired supervisors from the private sector, who would jump at the chance to help improve the federal government.  Simply downsize the pool of SES employees through attrition.  Don’t hire replacements for those who retire.  The federal government will be better without them in the work force.  Then take that money and hire former managers from companies to run quality control surveys throughout the federal government.  These managers must have power to fire the remaining SES’s and any federal employees.  They should also be empowered to make changes that will improve our government.  They must be given the ability to recommend prosecution and terminations for cause.

Federal executives who are under fire for incompetence should be terminated.

Senior Leadership in the Federal Government Gets an F

In any school, whether elementary, junior high, high, undergraduate, or graduate level, anything under 70% on tests would be considered as failing.  The senior leaders in the federal government received an F from their employees in 2014.

The annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey indicated that only half of the federal employees believed that their supervisors had high standards of honesty and integrity.  This grade was down 7% since the last survey in 2011.  And the federal leadership received the same grade of 50% for a question about respect.  Most Senior Executive Service employees demanded respect, while the employees countered that they had to earn it.

The senior leaders received an even worse grade of 38% for providing high levels of motivation and commitment.  This also was down 7%, which may be more than a coincidence.

It didn’t seem to matter whether the federal agency was large or small.  The employees were all equally displeased with their managers.  Typically, the private sector is much better equipped to motivate its employees, both financially and psychologically.  Federal leaders are too busy advancing their careers and do not see their employees as being helpful to that cause.  On the other hand, corporate management incorporates its success with team building opportunities, riding on the coattails of its hard working employees.

Mid-level and high level leaders in the federal government spend most of their time speaking and not listening to their employees.  Consequently, they miss the opportunity to bond with their employees and motivate them to seek higher levels of performance.  The employees on the floor and in the field generally find better and more economical ways to do business if encouraged by management.  The federal government has a poor environment for growing ideas.

In a word, federal managers are all about “themselves.”  They basically do not care about their work force.  Their primary motivation is to advance their careers.  When they receive bonuses and promotions for decreasing the number of employees and the amounts spent on protective gear, such as bullet-proof vests, the federal employees know whose lives will be in danger to support bonuses for senior leaders.