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The People Factor

Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service

Linda J. Bilmes, W. Scott Gould
Release Date: March 10, 2009

Successful businesses have spent the past two decades retooling and rethinking how to manage their people better. Most big companies that have survived and prospered in the 21st century view...

Successful businesses have spent the past two decades retooling and rethinking how to manage their people better. Most big companies that have survived and prospered in the 21st century view employees as a vital strategic asset. In comparison, the U.S. federal government is a Stone Age relic, with its top-down bureaucracy, stovepiping of labor and responsibilities, and lack of training and investment in its own public servants. The inevitable result is a government not keeping up with the complex demands placed on it. In T he People Factor, Linda Bilmes and Scott Gould present a blueprint for reinvigorating the public sector in order to deliver results for America. Their premise is that the federal government can achieve the same gains as the best private sector and military organizations by managing its people better. Their new vision for public service is based on “The People Factor,” a set of management tools drawn from best practices in successful companies, the military, and high-performing government agencies. Part One of The People Factor book shows why the U.S. personnel system needs reform, revealing the high price of inaction. Part Two lays out the specific steps that must be taken to achieve the necessary gains. Part Three focuses on how to implement the People Factor and make the authors’ vision a reality. They argue that the next president needs to turn this issue into a top priority and use political capital to push reform. Highlights of the book include: • Extensive original survey research • Case studies from government and the military • Interviews with leading thinkers on strategic human capital • A number of specific proposed innovations • A detailed proposal for a nationwide effort to train and revitalize the public service

Linda Bilmes is a lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has served as CFO and assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce and as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Her work on the costs of the Iraq War (with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz) and on veterans issues have received widespread national coverage. W. Scott Gould is vice president, public sector strategy and growth, at IBM Global Business Services. He has also served as CFO and assistant secretary for administration at the Department of Commerce. Gould is also a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve (Ret.) and a former White House fellow.