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The Top 7 Traps When Moving from Business to Government

The Top 7 Traps When Moving from Business to Government

Peter Daly and Michael Watkins / Monster.com

Trap 5: Overlooking Nonmonetary Incentives


One of the starkest contrasts between business and government is the differences in incentives for motivating workers. “The biggest trap for successful individuals entering government, is not understanding the structured nature of pay in government,” notes one HR professional in the survey. “Pay raises can only be given based on certain criteria, at a certain time and within the confines of a merit system. This is often a shock to former private-sector employees.” In business, motivation often means sharing in the financial benefits of a successful business plan. In government, financial incentives can conflict with the concept of professionals who carry out policies to best serve the public, not for personal gain. Leaders, therefore, must rely on other tools – a compelling vision, a culture that values and recognizes success, the potential for development and advancement, and the reward of engaged teamwork – that are more difficult to design.


Trap 6: Overestimating Control Over Critical Resources


Acquiring resources in government is heavily regulated by Cabinet agencies and Congress, creating a competitive environment where agencies not only vie against each other but must engage the political process and gain the support of allies. Even when support is strong, acquiring quick infusions of people, facilities or technology is unlikely, given complex personnel and procurement rules. Most new government leaders must start off largely with the resources they inherited.


Trap 7: Expecting Government to Move as Fast as Business


New arrivals from business “believe they can make change happen quickly,” says another survey respondent. “When they find out that they cannot make that change as quickly as they’d like, discouragement sets in.” Government’s rhythms are different from the quarterly and annual reporting deadlines of business. So for new leaders, getting up to speed could take longer than six months, which is typical in business. Still, they are not insulated from the impatience of stakeholders and are likely to face pressures for early wins. Targets for such wins should be selected wisely, despite insistence from some quarters for rapid action, because when they are met, they increase credibility and build momentum for success with longer-term changes.

Success in avoiding these traps will position you to get off to a good start and build personal credibility. If you fall into one, however, it will set up a vicious cycle that will consume your precious time and energy; it could even contribute to derailment.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    seeteshsnv

    almost 4 years ago

    6 comments

    Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us.

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    seeteshsnv

    almost 4 years ago

    6 comments

    In government, finance is but one measurement to devising a strategy.If one even exists in government, is always trumped by political crises, public policy or constituent pressure. Success often entails tolerating financial conditions that would never be entertained in business.
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    seeteshsnv

    almost 4 years ago

    6 comments

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    rameshrai

    almost 4 years ago

    4 comments

    This is useful article especially for undergraduates and graduate student who don't know in which sector to go. Starting and looking for job after college is very critical and mostly student go for those sector which give them high pay but other things are also important and this post is very useful.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    eddieseaton

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Actually we can get rid of non-performing units (asets) through the current election process when the pain of retaining them is simply unbearable. Closest situation not exactly the same was "Paying homage to the Crown many years ago". So for the time being, it is our duty to bear on our backs what our collective wills do not find the intestinal fortutide necessary to change. Fannie Mae, Fredd Mac and the SEC are ripe for selloff in the far, far, far, distant geo-polictical future. My two cents. MISSISSIPPI2020

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    Disco58

    over 4 years ago

    24 comments

    I found the last sentence rather interesting, "Agencies are governed by complicated regulations, staffed by people doing narrowly defined tasks and overseen by managers whose responsibility often is to assure that rules are followed". Work at a nuclear power station some time. As a government controlled private industry I think they are truly the "devil's spawn", where the worst of both worlds intersect. It is a world where they truly believe the axiom, " without rules there would be anarchy". There is nothing more important than the rules, regardless of how inneffective, contradictory or illogical they may be, and it matters not that productivity comes to a screaching halt. Rules are never eliminated; new rules are written that may or may not supecede the previous rule, and a meeting will be held to form a committee to elect a panel to have a discussion on the safety and political ramifications of having the end of toilet paper roll go over or under.

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    rencalago37

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    stakeholders are always part of the system. for without them we can't do anything. average cost of business insurance

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    rencalago37

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    stakeholders are always part of the system. for without them we can't do anything. average cost of business insurance

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    WStocks67

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    ..LOL, OMG...Government employees still receive COLA, are you kidding me? and a PENSION, are you kidding me again? Wait, they do not have objectives included in their performance evaluations related to profit or loss, I know you are joking now, right? You better stay over in the greener pasture and continue to eat the grass, astroturf tastes like crap!

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    Imarion

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Leaders in government do not have the option of selling off an agency that performs poorly.PSP torrents

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    echealth

    over 4 years ago

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    rebeccacai

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

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    placementargent

    over 4 years ago

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    cavla

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    A successful small skirmish is better than a lost campaign, no matter how brilliant it looked.
    I think I grasp the concept of government.
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    ones3lt3r

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    A good article that rings true about working for the government. I personally am transitioning from government service to the private sector for these exact reasons. I feel as if I am being underutilized at this point in my career, and due to the slow promotion rates within the system, I will not be in a position to effect change for another 8+ years. More power to persons wishing to move into the government sector. Just remember though, don't do it for the money or the praise, do it for the service. Your ultimate customer is the American people.
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