Kitty recruited and partnered with three other Senior Fellows and Friends who co-authored the 2017 ebook, Boundary Spanning in Practice: Broadening the Conversation. Her chapters are entitled, “Boundary Spanning as an Antidote for Boiling Frog Syndrome” and “Workforce Isolation and Agility Are Incompatible.”
The next project involved evening and weekend effort by nine colleagues in 2019, resulting in a second ebook, Unfettered: Mission-Aligned Boundary Spanning. One chapter, “What an Employee Can Do,” is accompanied by four animated scenarios that show how employees could get out of their silos to make their work more meaningful and have greater impact.
Representative Content from Kitty’s Body of Work
American Society for Public Administration webinar: Building a Strong Professional Network
My 17-minute presentation begins at 33:05 after Alex Tremble presents. Q&A follows.
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Art, Fear, and Leadership Development
On the relationship between commitment, risk, and the ability to create.
Read more (PDF)
Northeast Conference on Public Administration 2013
Intersection of Hierarchy and Network: a practitioner panel
Read More (PDF)
Four New Models of Networked Leadership Development
Chapter in NAPA Public Administration Book
Read More (PDF – pp. 7-19)
2010 Causey Award interview on Federal News Radio
My answers to the advance questions are repeated below.
- My best advice is to seek a way of working that you find meaningful and grow it into your life. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission; give yourself permission. Carve out some creative space in which you make and break the rules and get to choose as many times as you like. Whether it’s paid or not, think of your work as your craft – you are an artisan, who is developing more and more skill at work that matters to you. The satisfaction that results will help feed your spirit, and then your work will become useful to others.
- I encourage everyone to think about all the limitations we impose upon ourselves and drop the ones that don’t serve us any more. I look at this as a lifelong task. Every one of us has unrealized potential. We’re in our own way, a lot of the time.
- Not every program that purports to develop effective federal leaders actually does. The nice thing is, there are many actions we can take to develop our own leadership capacities, if we want to badly enough. That includes finding mentors or coaches who will tell us the truth. And we can exercise leadership behavior from wherever we are. When we commit to do the work, other people notice. Then they help – sometimes not until we’re at the end of our rope! This is something I had to experience over and over before I really understood it (slow learner!).
- People like to watch and give advice. Fewer people like to do the work! Want to stand out in a crowded field? Be one of the people who does the work. And help other people with theirs – collaborate across boundaries to deliver better solutions to public problems. Aim for results that would delight you, if you were on the receiving end.
- What if you knew you could not fail – what would you attempt? (This transformative question was given to me by GAO’s chief learning officer two years ago, and the answer gets a little clearer every day.)
- The United States is home to incredible diversity along every dimension. Although I haven’t traveled much lately, I enjoy visiting different climates (especially the desert), encountering lots of different people, and dining wherever the locals do.
- One of the best ideas I have seen is the OLPC – the tough, inexpensive, Web-enabled little laptop that was developed to improve educational opportunity and break the cycle of poverty in developing countries. Another is Ushahidi, software that any person or organization can customize to collect and visualize information. The name means “testimony” in Swahili – it was developed two years ago to map reports of violence in Kenya after an election. It’s being used on cell phones by citizens and aid workers in Haiti now, to communicate where all sorts of hazards and medical needs are.
- My colleagues are worthy of deep respect. The real story, that’s so ordinary it never gets told, is that a lot in government is going well – because people like the ones I work with are “on the case” every day, year in and year out.