“The end outcome, the results for your organization, are largely dictated by the mission. So that’s not going to change much,” Desenberg said.
Lampkin told Federal News Radio anything that distracts an agency from its mission can put programs in the cross hairs of incoming political appointees.
“The specter of sequestration, and these across-the-board cuts, has a certain impact on the psyche of workers,” Lampkin said. “If you get distracted by what might happen, you’re going to get off mission, which means that your program is even at greater risk, because then you steer off course.”
That could make the program more vulnerable to cuts by a new administration or even fresh political appointees from the current White House.
In addition, efforts to improve efficiency in government might help agencies during a time of transition, Lampkin said, because streamlining programs reduces the chance political leaders will view them as wasteful.
But no amount of waste reduction and cost cutting can save all programs. Managers should operate with that reality in mind, Desenberg said.
“Come to the table with not only data and evidence of what’s working, but also suggestions about activities that you may want to end,” he said. “I think that gives you real legitimacy and real currency, especially with a Republican administration.”
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.