Earlier this month, VA’s Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs hosted a symposium on organizational transformation and how to change the way government does business.  Hosted in the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the event brought together leaders from the both the private sector and federal government to discuss how they brought about change to their organization.

The first panel, comprised of private sector leaders included Nancy Mahon, senior vice president of M.A.C. Cosmetics, Estee Lauder, John P. McConnell, chairman and CEO, Worthington Industries, and Army Veteran Josue Robles, Jr, former president and CEO, USAA. The second panel featured leaders from across the federal government, including representatives from NASA, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Frances X. Frei, professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School, moderated the panels and noted that while many organizations want to go through a transformation, only 10 percent of them succeed, emphasizing that we need to sample from the successful ones to see how they do it. The discussions focused on many aspects of organizational transformation, including how to get employees involved, leveraging partnerships, working across sectors, listening to your audience and influencers, and the importance of communication and transparency.

VA representatives spoke on the importance of becoming an organization based on principles, not rules, which is a key component of the a department-wide transformation to improve VA’s relationship with Veterans.

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