A critical issue in contemporary government is succession planning—which very few agencies do, and even fewer do well. As virtually all observers contend, an improving economy and an aging workforce will result in a massive wave of retirements, particularly among those who have reached senior management and executive levels. Who will replace these retiring civil servants, and what background will they need?
The Executive Core Qualifications deployed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are research-grounded and serious guidelines for the competencies required for the Senior Executive Service in the Federal government. But these competencies do not suddenly appear when someone enters a Candidate Development Program; they develop over a career in which civil servants rise through the ranks.
George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government is designing a series of developmental programs that identify, at each of the basic stages of a Federal career (Team Leader; Supervisor; beginning Manager; senior Manager…and, of course, Senior Executive) what those ECQ competencies should look like, as well as what mastery of those competencies at that level would be and the behaviors that indicate that mastery.
This series of programs will be a roadmap for succession planning in government. Not only will individuals have a clear idea of what they need to master in order to advance in their careers and what behaviors they will need to exhibit, but also those who will be evaluating the aspiring careerists will have a clear idea, across agency lines, of how to evaluate aspirants’ readiness for promotion.
The first two programs in the series are designed for individuals seeking to advance toward the Senior Executive level. The first—Manager to Leader—is aimed at those making the transition from supervisor to manager, and introduces the leadership elements that they will need to develop to succeed in that position. The second—the Senior Leadership Development Seminar—is aimed at those who have been managers for at least five years and conveys the ways in which these managers can exercise their leadership capabilities and their knowledge of their organizations to achieve higher levels of organizational performance.