Change Management and the President’s Management Agenda (PMA)

In FMP’s most recent blog post, “Change Management-Getting Down to Basics,” our authors identified what change management is, why it is so hard, and why it is so important. FMPer, Lauren Wright, having spent 32 years in the Federal government and the last 18 years in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has seen firsthand how hard change really is, and how committed both leadership and frontline staff need to be to make even small changes stick for the long term. Lauren details her insights below and highlights change management evident in Presidential Management Agendas.

Presidential Management Agendas (PMA) are the long-term strategies and goals that the Administration has for improving and/or modernizing government. Each Administration issues a new agenda. Due to the significant changes in strategies and goals listed, a lot of change management takes places upon implementing all those changes. Each of the agendas also made perfect sense for that particular time period and each achieved both positive and negative results. So, let’s take a brief tour through PMAs in the most recent years and touch upon some of the results achieved.

The Clinton Administration: The Clinton Administration developed an initiative called “National Performance Review” (in the second term the name changed to “National Partnership for Reinventing Government”). The following are the principles developed by the reinvention team.

The Bush Administration: Fast forward eight years to the Bush Administration and the first, formally titled “President’s Management Agenda (PMA)” was developed by the new administration. This agenda focused on five Government wide initiatives.

The Obama Administration: During the Obama Administration, each term contained four broad initiatives and the inclusion of sub-initiatives.

The Trump Administration: Fast forward to 2018 and here we are!

The reason I have laid out each of these agendas is to show that while descriptors are different, the fundamental goals are all still similar. Each agenda built off the one before it. The major differences are in how to achieve a more accountable, fiscally responsible, modernized federal government that touches almost every aspect of taxpayers’ lives. I believe the closest we came to doing this was with the Scorecard method under the Bush administration. As someone who was responsible for the agency scorecard at OMB (yes, we were scored) I knew what the criteria was to “get to green” and participated in the quarterly updates with both OMB and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). I will admit, these were often contentious meetings, but in the end, we were able to see progress in meeting the goals outlined. The downside of the scorecard process, in my humble opinion, was that oftentimes the goal posts would change, making it impossible to “get to green” in some areas.

In the end, I believe each Administration truly had the best of intentions to achieve the monumental goal of an improved federal government. However, trying to move giant steps in limited amounts of time, with resistance from many directions, and little support from Congress, makes each PMA a change management nightmare. While we oftentimes think about change management within the confines of a specific project or organization, remembering that the same principles and challenges exist for changes of national importance drives home the criticality of investing in solid change management practices.

If you’re interested in learning more about FMP’s change management capabilities and services in this area, please contact

Previous Blog Posts

Change Management – Getting Down to Basics

June has always been a month of change. School’s out and the kids are home. We’re trading in our umbrellas and rainboots for sandals and sunglasses. And, did you know that the moonstone (one of June’s three birthstones) actually represents change and new beginnings? So, what better way to kick off June than to talk …

Read More

Meetings, Emails, Phone Calls: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

In our blog ‘The Power of Collaborative Networks: Social Network Science’, we provided a brief overview of social network science and Organizational Network Analysis (ONA), a methodology for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing patterns of collaboration, information-sharing, knowledge transfer, and productivity within an organization. Through understanding an organization’s informal or invisible structure – outside of position …

Read More

Networking to Your Greatest Potential!

This month we’re exploring how networking and relationships are critical to the success and well-being of both individuals and organizations. We’ve examined the theories underpinning a lot of the exciting work being done around organizational network analyses (ONAs), how those insights can be applied to important aspects of the employee experience, and now we want …

Read More

Collaborative Networks – It All Starts with an Effective Onboarding Program

Was your organization prepared for your arrival when you started your job? Did anyone offer to introduce you to your colleagues? As we referenced in last week’s blog, The Power of Collaborative Networks: Social Network Science, organizational networks play a vital role in how work is accomplished, ideas are shared, and people who are key …

Read More

The Power of Collaborative Networks: Social Network Science

It’s easy to see how an organization is formally structured by organizational unit, position titles, and grades. But what about the informal, often invisible, structure of organizations? Everyone knows the titles on the doors, but the individuals who control the informal flow of information and create pathways for collaboration remain a mystery. Over the past …

Read More

Top Trends from SIOP 2018

Some of our FMP team recently attended the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) 2018 National Conference in Chicago and brought back some helpful information to share! These noteworthy take-aways reflect the trends and discussions that will no doubt influence human capital management practices in the coming years. HR Technology is Quickly Evolving. The private …

Read More

Resilience Predicting Engagement

Now that we’ve explored both engagement and resilience in the last few weeks, let’s dive into the connection that these two vital constructs share with each other. Studies have shown that resilience is positively related to workplace engagement, meaning that employees who possess and demonstrate resilience are more likely to be engaged in their jobs[1]. …

Read More

Action Planning for an Engaged Workforce

Action Planning for an Engaged Workforce This month we’re focusing on resiliency and engagement, two characteristics that are critical to organizational and individual well-being and performance and which share interesting connections. Over the last four posts we explored the concept of resiliency, provided tips for communicating your engagement survey, discussed steps to identify key themes in your …

Read More