In his article, CIO Leadership Qualities for the Future: Vision, Anticipation, Execution,” Dennis McCafferty analyzed a report from a leading public relations firm on effective leadership styles. The study revealed that, “conveying a great sense of vision – as well as the knack to anticipate business developments and respond to them in nimble fashion – will be the most critical qualities for executives to cultivate through 2025.”

Leadership Remains Key Driver

Many issues influence how employees view their workplaces and rate their satisfaction and commitment, but the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, with support from Hay Group, run an analysis to determine which factors are the most important. Effective leadership was the key driver, as it has been every year since the rankings launched in 2003. Leadership continues to be one of the lowest-rated workplace categories, with a score of 51.8. It is followed in importance by a match between agency mission and employee skills. The third-most important factor, satisfaction with pay, emerged for the first time in 2010, replacing work–life balance as a key element for overall satisfaction and commitment.

Having the ability to anticipate, understand, adapt and innovate are important cornerstones to leadership. It is the challenge for every leader in all professions to be able to recognize warning signs of potential problems and barriers to success. The following links serve as examples of these warning signs or “red flares.”

Best Places to Work Analysis

“The 2013 Best Places to Work data present a disturbing picture of federal employees throughout the government who are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs and workplaces.”

In the News

Best Places to Work rankings show repeat winners and all-time lows
Federal News Radio

Federal workers’ job satisfaction falls, with Homeland Security Dept. ranking lowest again
The Washington Post

Two Commerce agencies: One at the top, one at the bottom on ‘Best Places’ list
The Washington Post

Federal job satisfaction at all-time low

Federal Employee Morale Hits Record Low
Huffington Post

Hindsight being 20/20, the decreasing morale and employee satisfaction should have been a red flag for leaders at all levels. Leaders use surveys and temperature checks to determine the level of employee and customer satisfaction. Leadership continues to be one of the lowest-rated workplace categories, with a score of 51.8. Low employee satisfaction almost always equates poor customer service. That being said, did we all ignore what the results were telling us?

I have received multiple messages form VA Executives over the past couple of weeks reiterating that ethics and morals are non-negotiable, that retaliation and harassment are not acceptable and that we will fix what’s broke and re-establish trust of America.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet

Rebuilding trust may take a while, but the future will be defined by those who stick around to do so and those that join us to make a difference.  As I said, awareness is the first step, and new leaders are in place identifying and planning next steps to remedy the consequences.

Demonstrated Leadership

On May 30, 2014, Mr. Sloan D. Gibson was appointed Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

gibsonPrior to joining VA, Mr. Gibson served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Services Organizations (USO), which has been lifting the spirits of American Servicemembers and their families for more than 73 years. During his five years at the USO, net fundraising grew 90 percent, enabling dramatic growth in programs and facilities supporting our forward-deployed men and women, military families, as well as our wounded, ill, and injured Servicemembers, their families, and the families of the fallen.  A 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Gibson earned both Airborne and Ranger qualifications and served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army.

Mr. Gibson is aware of the needs of our Veterans and more importantly, the leadership style that embraces vision, the ability to anticipate business practices and the dedication to respond to them.

On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, Acting Secretary Gibson commissioned a panel to identify the next Under Secretary for Health. This commission, comprised of nine healthcare experts and industry leaders, will meet in Washington to assess a series of candidates to serve as the next Under Secretary for Health for the Veterans Health Administration.

The commission includes:

  • Nancy Adams, RN, Major General Retired, American Academy of Nursing Fellow
  • Garry Augustine, Washington Headquarters Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans
  • Delos Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic
  • Lt. General Patricia Horoho, Army Surgeon General and Commander, U.S Army Medical Command
  • Kenneth W. Kizer, M.D., M.P.H., Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Population Health Improvement, University of California Davis Health System
  • Jennifer Lee, M.D., Virginia Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • John E. Prescott, M.D., Chief Academic Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Jose D. Riojas, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Bob Wallace, Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Together, we can make a difference in serving Veterans today and in the future. We encourage all health care professionals who share these leadership attributes of vision, anticipation and rapid response, to apply at


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Published on Jun. 18, 2014

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