Apologies for any cross-posting

For those who were at MLA and listened to Daniel Pink, you may be interested in today's Washington Post article on "Why Fed Workers Need More Autonomy."  Love the idea of the FedEx days.


Stephanie Holmgren, M.S.L.S.
Biomedical Librarian
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
111 Alexander Drive, PO Box 12233, MD A0-01
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Phone: 919-541-2599
Fax: 919-541-0669
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

From: Robertson, Dav (NIH/NIEHS) [E]
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:32 AM
To: Holmgren, Stephanie (NIH/NIEHS) [E]
Subject: Speaking of Daniel Pink

"On Leadership" interview with him in Today's Wash. Post:

What advice do you have for federal leaders who have a hard time directing their workers?

Understand that management leads to compliance, but self direction leads to engagement. It's a very difficult thing to do in the federal workforce, which is not known for its radical amount of autonomy.

There are two things that federal leaders could do. The Office of Personnel Management is moving to an experiment with the results-only work environment. That's a technique where people don't have schedules, they show up whenever they want, and they just have to get their work done.

Another is what this Australian company Atlassian <> does, which is once a quarter--or the feds could do it once every half year--say to their employees, "Go work on anything you want for one afternoon, do it the way you want. All we ask is that on Friday afternoon you show what you've created to the staff." They call these FedEx days<>, because you have to deliver something overnight.

It turns out that one day of intense, undiluted autonomy has led to a whole array of inventions. It's essentially getting out of people's way and allowing them to direct their lives even for that small amount of time.


Davenport ("Dav") Robertson, M.S.L.S.
Library Director
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O.Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
(919)541-1386           Fax (919)541-0669