As the federal calendar year comes to a close each September, government agencies conduct year-end activities in a rush to reconcile accounts, create annual reports, and squeeze in procurements with remaining fiscal year funds. With the focus on completing these time consuming and imperative tasks, it can be easy for leadership to lose sight of the unique opportunity a fresh fiscal year provides.
While individuals tend to reflect and create personalized New Year’s Resolutions, organizations across industries often get too caught up in fiscal year-end closeout to prioritize a similar thought process that focuses on enterprise-wide improvement areas.
For federal agencies and departments, one major hindrance to this mindset is the enactment of continuing resolutions (CRs), which have recently become so common that many agencies have started anticipating CRs well in advance of the new fiscal year. As a result of CRs, organizations resume working with pre-existing appropriations that usually maintain the same levels, and this makes it difficult for them to adapt a new spending outlook at the onset of a new fiscal year.
Leadership can combat this pattern of repetitive behavior by focusing on several key kickoff activities that trigger strategic thinking and continuous improvement across the enterprise. These actions include:
- Analyzing performance metric data for executing organizational strategic plans and for monitoring newly implemented processes to determine additional areas for improvement
- Adjusting performance metrics and leadership dashboards to reflect changing priorities and new areas of concern
- Establishing a tone for the new fiscal year through leadership communications that inform and motivate all levels of personnel
- Reviewing mission statements and values to ensure alignment with the desired operating environment and culture
With the proper levels of leadership attention, communication, and prioritization, federal agencies and components can strengthen their forward thinking mentality and overcome the pitfalls of a sometimes sluggish budget process.