How a people first strategy can drive organization change

There’s even discussion that Interior may be looking at moving some headquarters’ functions out west.

But we know several things, first reforming an agency/organization is hard and agencies aren’t starting from scratch.

They also face a number of existing constraints such as an existing workforce, a “fixed” set of resources to invest, and a mission objective that’s not likely to change.

So how do agencies work within these limitations and develop a strategy to get them where they want to be? And what role does the workforce at all levels of the organization play in the process?

Tim Bowden, the general manager of consulting at Management Concepts, said to transform an agency, leaders must put their workforces first.

Bowden said a recent survey of government organizations that said they had successful transformations found only 49 percent of the respondents think they put people first. He said that means most of the time people get left behind.

“We get caught up in who is in what group and how to message to that group,” he said. “What if we message differently?”

Lahaja Furaha, a senior human capital advisor for Management Concepts, said creating a people-centered organization needs to value how the employee is connected back to the mission.

“You have to have open lines of communication and feel comfortable explaining why a decision was made and how they are a part of that new effort,” she said.

Bowden said there are four key activities agencies should consider when developing an organization plan with a people first focus:

  • Look for people who don’t fear change and are willing partners;
  • Focus on three or four things that can get better;
  • Use feedback to identify trends or areas of need;
  • Focus inwardly and figure out what managers can do better.

Bowden said as agency reforms create unanticipated changes, agencies need to do more to address any and all ambiguity and uncertainty.



Jason MillerJason Miller, Executive Editor,

Jason Miller has been executive editor of Federal News Radio since 2008. Jason directs the news coverage on federal technology, procurement, finance and human resources issues.  He has also produced impactful and insightful news reports and series on whistleblower retaliation at the SBA, the overall impact of President Obama’s first term, cross-agency priority goals, shared services and procurement reform.



Tim Bowden, General Manager, Consulting, Management Concepts

Tim Bowden serves as the General Manager for Consulting Delivery for the People and Performance Consulting division at Management Concepts. In this role, he specializes in creating assessment-based, data-driven solutions to create sustainable organizational performance improvement. Prior to joining Management Concepts, Tim spent 14 years at Alion Science and Technology where he managed the Research Division to translate findings from basic research in human performance into simulation-based analysis tools to improve system design. Tim holds a BA from Rollins College and an MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Central Florida. In his free time, Tim enjoys coaching baseball, mountain biking, and spending quality time with his wife, 15-year-old son, and 14-year-old daughter.


Shari Merrill, Executive Director of Product Management, Management Concepts

Shari Merrill serves as the Executive Director of Product Management at Management Concepts. In this role, she leads a team of product management directors and professional experts to identify, design, and deliver solutions that will improve individual, team, and organizational effectiveness. Prior to joining Management Concepts, Shari worked as Product Manager at the Society for Human Resource Management, where she designed and launched a professional development suite of competency of diagnostic tools. She also worked as an Advisor at CEB in Rosslyn, VA and London, England. Shari holds a BA from The George Washington University and an MSc from the London School of Economics. In her free time, Shari enjoys traveling, cooking, and volunteering with the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.


Anna Mauldin, Product Management Director for Leadership and Management, Management Concepts

Anna Mauldin serves as the Product Management Director for Leadership & Management at Management Concepts. In this role, she oversees the leadership and management product portfolio, including the launch of new leadership and management products. She works with experts across Management Concepts, as well as industry thought leaders, to craft learning experiences designed to help professionals build critical leadership and management skills. She also serves as a subject matter expert and was a contributing author to the 2011 book The Insider’s Guide to Supervising Government Employees. Anna holds a BS from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and an MBA with emphasis in innovation management from the University of Colorado. In her free time, Anna is in her kitchen with the music cranked up, enjoying a glass of wine and cooking a fantastic meal with her husband and two little girls.


Lahaja Furaha, Senior Human Capital Advisor, Management Concepts

Lahaja serves as a Senior Human Capital Advisor for the People and Performance Consulting division at Management Concepts. In this role, she serves as a subject matter expert in leadership and management and works to develop custom program solutions for clients. Lahaja’s focus is in the areas of leadership development, organizational culture, change management, performance management, and succession planning. Prior to joining Management Concepts, Lahaja held strategic positions in Human Capital Management and Leadership Development. Lahaja holds a BA from Howard University and an MA from the University of Michigan. She also holds a Prosci Change Management Certification. In her free time, Lahaja is passionate about volunteerism; she’s a foodie who enjoys traveling, and getting outdoors walking, biking, and trail hiking.