Karen Pica: Start with a defined goal or outcome

Karen Pica, a management analyst at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Procurement Policy, is one of 50 new fellows for the National Academy of Public Administration.

How will you use your NAPA fellowship to promote/influence good government?

Karen PIca is a management analyst at the Office of Procurement Policy at OMB.
Karen Pica is a management analyst at the Office of Procurement Policy at OMB.

I am honored and eager to begin working with the academy and fellows in conducting research and analyzing public programs.  I hope to use the research opportunities to inform my work to further increase citizen engagement in and awareness of the formation and results of public policy and public programs.

What’s the best management-related advice you ever received?

Begin from a position of strength and adjust by seeking out the root cause of objections. The essence is that if you start with indecision, you will end up with resistance and indecision.  If you start with a defined goal or outcome, you will still get resistance, however, you can productively dissect the objections to surface the root causes. Once you’ve identified these causes, you can work to reach consensus on how best to address them and adjust the outcome or goal as needed. This is ideally suited to public policy making and you must make every effort to reach out to those closest to implementation or impact of the policy while actively seeking differing points of view.

What do you think is the most important change the government needs to make in the next 5 years? 

Using technology and data as a means of accountability and opportunity.  We are surrounded by new technology and, over the past few years, we’ve increasingly realized how it can be used to assure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Finding, selecting and analyzing the appropriate data and information to both make the best possible decisions and explain the results of those decisions is the greatest opportunity for the next five years.