Training and Development for the Senior Executive Service: A Necessary Investment

Training and Development for the Senior Executive Service: A Necessary Investment
Training and Development for the Senior Executive Service: A Necessary Investment
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This report examines current practices on how career senior executives who manage major programs and organizations and provide continuity during Presidential transitions are trained and developed. Unfortunately, the review indicates that the systematic development envisioned in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 is more vision than reality. To that end, the report contains information to help agencies determine a development strategy that aligns with agency goals and resources and effectively addresses executives training needs. In addition, the report discusses common barriers to SES training and offers strategies to mitigate them.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary i

Conclusions i

Recommendations ii

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

Purpose of Study 2

Scope and Methodology 2

Chapter 2: Federal Leadership 5

Who are the Federal Leaders? 5

Types of Senior Executive Service Appointments 5

Chapter 3: What is Required of Senior Executives? 9

What are the Responsibilities of Senior Executives? 9

What Competencies are Required of the SES? 9

What is Required for Selection into the SES? 10

Chapter 4: Identification of Training Needs and Management of Training 15

General Process 15

Training Needs Assessment Practices 15

How Is Training Managed? 16

Chapter 5: How Helpful is Training? 19

Can Leadership Competencies be Trained? 19

How Can Agencies Gauge Training Effectiveness? 20

Chapter 6: Discussion of Training and Development Activities 25

Residential Executive Development Programs 26

Relationship-based Developmental Activities 27

Formal Instruction Activities 41

Summary of Considerations for Determining How to Train Senior Executives 46

Chapter 7: Barriers to SES Training and Development and Strategies to

Mitigate Them 49

Barrier 1: Inability to Take Time Away from the Job 50

Barrier 2: Lack of Funding 51

Barrier 3: Lack of Support 52

Barrier 4: Appropriate Training Not Offered 53

Barrier 5: Other Factors 53

Strategies to Facilitate Training Transfer 54

Chapter 8: Conclusions and Recommendations 57

Conclusions 57

Recommendations 58

Appendix A. Questionnaire to Agencies 61

Appendix B. Executive Core Qualifications and Definitions 67

Appendix C. Developmental Components of Job Assignments 69

Appendix D. Summary of Training and Development Activities 71


Federal employees, their supervisors, agency management, union personnel, especially Human Capital officers and employees across the U.S. Federal Government may be interested in this report.  Additionally, members of Congress, and Federal managers within the Office of Management and Budget, and Office of Personnel Management that is responsible for policy making authority may find this guide helpful as a reference with human resources and civil service matters.  Additionally, students pursuing research for courses within these fields, especially public administration, human resources, employment law, organizational development, and industrial-organizational psychology may find this primary source document that deals with civil service issues helpful for assignments.

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