Tackling Wicked Government Problems: A Practical Guide for Developing Enterprise Leaders (Innovations in Leadership)

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9780815725077: Tackling Wicked Government Problems: A Practical Guide for Developing Enterprise Leaders (Innovations in Leadership)

How can government leaders tackle the complex interagency and intergovernmental issues they face increasingly today? Tackling Wicked Government Problems: A Practical Guide for Developing Enterprise Leaders draws on the experience of some of the federal government's most successful executives and leadership development experts who offer proven strategies for successfully taking on the great challenges that confront our nation. Here, they point the way forward for the next generation of senior public officials. Jackson Nickerson, Ronald Sanders, and their colleagues offer several approaches for translating social network theory into practical approaches for building and employing collaborative networks. They present real solutions for developing enterprise leaders and explore how such leaders can use these networks to respond to, and eventually solve, thorny problems that span multiple agencies and disciplines.

Contributors: Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.); David Altman, Center for Creative Leadership —Europe, Middle East, Africa; Donna Chrobot-Mason, University of Cincinnati; Rob Cross, University of Virginia and Network Roundtable; Kristin Cullen, Center for Creative Leadership; Barry Dorn, Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts University School of Medicine; Andrew Hargadon, University of California, Davis; Leonard Marcus, Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School; J. Michael McConnell, Booz Allen Hamilton; Laura Miller Craig, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Jessica Nierenberg, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Salvatore Parise, Babson College; Stephen T. Shih, U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Pasquale (Pat) Tamburrino Jr., U.S. Department of Defense; Jim Trinka, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Thomas W. Valente, University of Southern California

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About the Author:

Jackson Nickerson is the Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. He also is a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and director of the Brookings–Olin Executive Education partnership at Brookings.

Ronald Sanders is a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton and the firm's first fellow. He also has served in a number of senior U.S. government posts, including Associate Director of National Intelligence, Chief HR Officer for the Internal Revenue Service, and Director of Civilian Personnel for the U.S. Department of Defense.


"In a world where problems pay no attention to boundaries, and a failure to navigate those boundaries can produce disaster, this book is a welcome guide. It not only charts the big issues we face, but it also lays out a plan for getting the leaders we need. It's an invaluable contribution to the inescapable debate." —Donald F. Kettl, Dean, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

"Now, more than ever, the country needs effective leaders who can 'move the needle' to improve enterprise performance. Ron Sanders, Jackson Nickerson, and a cast of proven leaders provide practical advice on how to improve leader development in government to tackle tough problems and achieve better enterprise-wide outcomes." —W. Scott Gould, former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and coauthor of The People Factor

"Today's big problems cannot be solved by single organizations, no matter how powerful. They demand collaborative effort by people in various federal agencies, and often by others in state, local, and foreign governments and the private and nonprofit sectors. Marshalling these resources is the job of the 'enterprise leader,' a term coined in this volume to describe the qualities increasingly demanded of federal officials. It makes a convincing case both for viewing 'wicked problems' differently and for preparing agency officials to work across boundaries in addressing them." —Timothy B. Clark, Editor-at-Large, Government Executive Media Group

"Government's ability to keep up with an ever-more complicated and changing world depends on a move to a new 'enterprise' model of leadership, and this book is a great starting point for telling us how to get there." —Max Stier, President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service

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