Five Takeaways from the Fiscal Year 2018 CXO Fellows

Department of Homeland Security Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa speaking at the FY18 CXO Fellowship Graduation
DHS CPO, Soraya Correa addresses the CXO Fellows

Last Friday, the CXO Fellows ended their year-long fellowship program with a commencement ceremony at the General Services Administration. Speakers included U.S. General Services Administration Administrator, Emily Murphy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa, and several members of the Fiscal Year 2018 cohort. We sat down with fellows to learn about some of their top takeaways and lessons learned from the year.

Five Takeaways from the Fiscal Year 2018 CXO Fellows

  1. Collaborate with other agencies to solve problems. Other agencies may be trying to solve the same challenges as your agency. Do not assume that you agency is the only one working through certain issues. You don’t need a license to solve problems. Reach out to a counterpart at other agencies and set up a forum to share ideas and solutions. Cross-agency collaboration can be a powerful tool to move your agency forward.
  2. Implement meaningful communications. Open and transparent information is important to ensure the taxpayers’ dollar is used wisely.  Information must be freely shared across functions to prevent siloed disconnects. Meaningful and regular internal communication must be established in government agencies so that truth can be collectively defined. Prioritizing internal communications improves outcomes.
  3. Take advantage of opportunities. A commonality among the leaders who the fellows met with during the year was that during their career, many branched outside of their original functional area or agency. Career growth comes from taking advantage of all opportunities, even if this means going outside of your comfort zone or area of expertise. Whether it is something outside of your functional area, leading a team, volunteer opportunities or doing something you have never done before, take advantage of all opportunities.
  4. Communicate with senior leadership. Do not hesitate to reach out to senior leadership if you think you have an interesting idea or you would like to open a line of communication regarding a specific subject. Even if you are not a decision maker, your ideas may still make an impact and innovative initiatives could be implemented because you provided input to a leader.
  5. Know your function and how you fit into the government. Understand how you fit into the larger organization and develop an understanding of roles outside of your functional area. Understanding others’ skill sets can enable you to better collaborate cross-functionally. This can also provide you with a better awareness of career opportunities that you may not have considered previously.