Leading Change Term Paper

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Leading Change

The Department of Veterans Affairs did not have an effort that was focused on protocol services despite the fact that they were a cabinet level organization. Because of this, the organization needed an effort that directly advised, assisted, and supported developmental activities for the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and the Chief of Staff on not only official matters of national and international protocol, but also in planning, hosting, and officiating related events and activities for members of Congress, senior Veteran Service Organizations, diplomats, and visiting heads of state. During the first year of the 2001-2004 administration the lack of protocol was a definite challenge for the Department as it received visits from senior U.S. And foreign dignitaries to include the U.S. Vice President, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs for the Republic of Korea.

Since there were problems and challenges with some of the events that were put on by the VA, I conceived, developed, and submitted a proposal to establish an Office of Protocol for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I believed that creating this type of office would allow for clearer instruction and less confusion when an event was going to take place, and would also improve the performance of the Department, which would earn it more respect and make it 'look better' to others for the purposes of staffing, funding, and other matters. By submitting this proposal, I was able to showcase and demonstrate my skills in leading change in the areas of continual learning, creativity and
...I was interviewed after my proposal for the Office of Protocol was reviewed and when my proposal was approved I was selected to establish the office for which I had turned in the proposal.

When I was selected to do this, I ended up leading protocol services for a department of 260,000 employees. Projects or problems that are assigned are often not clear cut, and the solutions to them have the same problems. Getting the staff to help out and work together is crucial to solving difficult problems and finding the answers that are needed. My track record already indicates that I take on the hard tasks in my organization and develop a plan, get experienced staff to buy into the project, and get results. This has always been very important to me, and those that I work with and that expect results appreciate my ability to get the job done and take on tasks that others are not interested in being involved with.

As soon as I was appointed, I met with high-level leaders and managers to determine what kind of perspectives they had on the VA's protocol needs and to discuss the best way to structure the program to meet the needs and organizational requirements of these individuals as customers. I was responsible during this time for researching, benchmarking, and developing an implementation plan for the Office of Protocol. After this, I had the next challenge of motivating more than 100 program officials and building relationships with them so that I could count on their help and their significant resources to ensure…

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The Office of Protocol is on the cutting edge when it comes to activities throughout the department and I created a vision "to provide premier protocol throughout the department," and a mission "to provide world class protocol via special events, read aheads, gift programs, foreign visits, and meeting management." Goals were set high and performance measurements were positioned so that the office would be the focal point for moving toward excellence throughout the entire organization. I recognized that there were individual strengths in all of the key players and that these must be maximized in order to create a synergy for both personal and office accomplishments. By performance coaching and counseling, concrete learning experiences, and involving individuals and the ideas that they have in the decision-making process that I used, I helped to strengthen the skills of my staff and subordinates. I am often asked to take on tasks that are seen as impossible and I am constantly called on by others for work that needs to be done. My office is also recognized for its agility and its character and has been singled out by many of the senior leaders.

Another example of leading change that I have been involved in came in August of 2004 when I was selected to participate in the organization's senior executive service candidate development program. To maintain the performance of my job and meet the criteria for the program I currently attend Saturday courses at Georgetown University Center for Professional Development. This particular program is designed to prepare executives and managers to motivate and lead individuals and to be results driven. They also learn how to achieve favorable outcomes through partnerships, teamwork, and building coalitions. In February of 2005, I began a course entitled leadership as vision and strategy. This course is very innovative and through it I learned the skills to develop and execute the vision and mission of my organization as well as to align the organizational objectives that I have with my own personal goals.

I also learned how to improve my skills and maintain my forward approach as a visionary leader that moves beyond thinking out-of-the-box to defining what the box is. While I was participating in this course in February of 2005 I also worked on the swearing-in ceremony in honor of the fifth Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Upon an analysis of this individual's life I recommended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as being the venue to conduct his ceremony. This program that I am in currently will be completed on June 17th of 2005 and I will receive at that time to Georgetown University Center for Professional Development Senior Executive Leadership Certificate. Not only has this course taught me a great deal but it will help me in my future endeavors in my career.

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