Stan Boddie and Matt Newman | Defining effective leadership

What do the Labor, Interior and Housing and Urban Development Departments have in common? Here are two things.

First, the Office of Management and Budget cited them in 2005 as top agencies for developing and using enterprise architecture to improve agency planning, decision-making, and performance.

Second, President Bush approved significant IT budget increases for them in his 2007 budget request to Congress. Labor then earned green ratings on each of the five President's Management Agenda initiatives in the December 2005 scorecard report. In the same report, Interior and HUD earned green ratings in four of the five PMA areas.

What is it about these organizations that led them to success in EA? And enabled them to emerge as big winners in the 2007 budget sweepstakes? The answer: effective leadership.

Effective leadership was key to Labor, Interior and HUD realizing significantly improved performance by using their enterprise architecture to describe their current capabilities and constraints, their desired future capabilities, and their plan to transition getting from Point A to Point B.

So what exactly is effective leadership? Effective leadership is comprised of four essential components: Vision, communication, inspiration, and empowerment. Vision is articulating a clear and compelling perspective of the desired future state. Communication is ensuring each organizational stakeholder understands the vision. Inspiration involves modeling the behaviors the leaders expect staff members to adopt to help the organization realize the vision. Empowerment is providing the resources and support that enable staff members to reach the vision.

Labor, Interior and HUD leaders, at all levels, adopted effective leadership. As a result, they are all realizing significant improvements in their effectiveness. Federal agencies have had a tough time implementing effective enterprise architecture capabilities. Where they have succeeded, it's because of leadership.

This column explores and provides clarity on a variety of information technology related topics confronted by executive leaders and managers with an emphasis on organizational value.

Topics will include e-Government, organizational transformation, information assurance, capital planning and investment control, enterprise architecture, governance, acquisition, and IT project management. These topics will be explored by faculty members of the National Defense University.

The authors are all professors from NDU's Information Resources Management College. They have extensive industry or government experience and certifications in addition to academic credentials.

The IRM College is a place, both physical and virtual, where communities of experts'government and industry leaders, learners, guest speakers, and practitioners'interact. They are all committed to the development of strategic leadership and information resources managers across the government (www.ndu.edu/irmc/).

We encourage you to contact us to express your opinions and comments and to suggest future topics that are of interest to you.

Stan Boddie and Matt Newman are professors of systems management at National Defense University.

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