In the beginning, the opportunity to write a study on transformational leadership – interviewing leaders from agencies across the federal government seemed to be such a straightforward thing that I vastly underestimated the value that might becreated by being able to draw togetherthe views of senior officials at this point in time.
First, there is the point in time. There has been no comparable time in the past 44 years of government. In January of 1969 Lyndon Johnson, the father of the Great Society left office but by many measures the age of “big” government had not even arrived.
A combination of technology (because we can), natural resource and economic crisis (Arab oil embargo) and political and constitutional crisis (Watergate & Ralph Nader) would conspire to make the government much larger than the Great Society Planners had ever contemplated.
By most estimates, however, we have now met a time of constraints in which the bills for global leadership, resource dependence and our lifestyle are coming due. Government will have to “right size”. There will be federal managers who have to drastically cut their programs but they aren’t going to have constituent groups coming in and showing them how they can do more with less.
Many will know where they need to go. But they will need a pathway to get there.