Thursday, June 21, 2007

Government Senior Management Aptitude Exam

It seems the Bush Administration has an ongoing problem regarding the folks it places in various senior positions. As a 25-year veteran of the Canadian federal bureaucracy, maybe I can help.

Just about anyone can work for the government. But only a special few are suited for senior management positions in the civil service. To ensure the best candidates, Administration officials may want to consider using this short "Government Senior Management Aptitude Exam" to better assess future candidates:

* You discover that your boss has been charging his home renovations to a government account. You should.....
a) Blow the whistle on him and report this to the police.
b) Alert his boss by memo that you are aware of the violation.
c) Ask your boss for a contractor recommendation.
d) Do nothing and forget that you ever heard anything about it.

* One of your employees has been coming in late, leaving early and abusing his sick leave credits. You should.....
a) Immediately take disciplinary action.
b) Issue a warning.
c) Document the individual’s violations.
d) Do nothing since he will eventually leave or retire.

* A subordinate tells you that a co-worker has spent $500,000 on a budgeted but unnecessary item. You should.....
a) Immediately cancel the transaction and call for an investigation.
b) Ask the subordinate for an explanation.
c) Request an opinion from legal services.
d) Do nothing, especially if it’s year end and you’re not yet over budget.

* Your superior has sent you a memo asking for your immediate assessment of a 300-page policy report. You should.....
a) Work around the clock to provide her with the assessment.
b) Cancel all your meetings in case you need to work overtime on this project.
c) Delegate as much as you can to others.
d) Do nothing and see first if there’s ever a followup request.

* A subordinate has filed a grievance to have his position reclassified in view of added duties. You should.....
a) Do whatever you can to support your employee’s case.
b) Check to see if others in similar positions in the organization have been reclassified.
c) Warn the employee that this action will hurt his career prospects.
d) Do nothing unless the employee is eventually successful and your superior orders you to act and there has not been a subsequent reorganization.

SCORING: Give yourself one point for every "a" answer, two points for every "b", three for every "c" answer and four points for every "d". Tally your point total.

5-8 POINTS: Clearly not government senior management material. You are too quick to do what you consider to be the "right" thing. Not a "big picture" type of person.

9-12 POINTS: Still not suitable for government management positions even at junior levels. Although you exhibit a tendency towards caution, you still seem to be governed by some outside notion of "ethics" or "morality."

13-16 POINTS: Definitely suitable for middle management but not yet ready for the big time. Guided by caution but still stuck in "action-based" modes of thinking.

MORE THAN 16: Congratulations! You definitely have what it takes to be a senior government manager. You demonstrate a maturity and "inaction-based" non-decision making mindset that makes you a perfect fit for government’s top positions.

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