@StateDept Building Ops Employees Asked to Pick Top Ten Core Values From a 99 Values Menu

Posted: 3:21 am ET

 

This is OBO according to the state.gov:

The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) directs the worldwide overseas building program for the Department of State and the U.S. Government community serving abroad under the authority of the chiefs of mission. In concert with other State Department bureaus, foreign affairs agencies, and Congress, OBO sets worldwide priorities for the design, construction, acquisition, maintenance, use, and sale of real properties and the use of sales proceeds.

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture and construction execution.

OBO folks recently received the following information:

Transformational change is underway within OBO and your involvement is integral to this process. In preparation for the Department’s larger Redesign effort, the OBO Transformation Team is hosting discussions around organizational culture and values to help chart the future OBO course. An organization’s core values are fixed and timeless, inform customers and third parties alike about “who we are, what we believe in and what drives us” and are touchpoints for decision-making. They are not best practices or necessarily related to the mission; they are the north star(s) that remain constant regardless of the operating environment. You will shortly be sent a survey and asked to select those top ten core values that you hold and that you think are representative of OBO’s values. During the discussion on November 14, we will talk about these values and work toward a common understanding about what OBO might need to do, to change or to prioritize in order to make our values present every day in our organization.

We understand that the recipients were instructed to respond to a two-point survey via surveymonkey but the response is reportedly needed by noon on Tuesday, November 14. The first point in the screen grab above says “Core values are those “essential ingredients” that support the OBO vision, shape our culture and reflect what we value. Which ten choices from the list below represent your idea of OBO’s core values?” and one option to click on the “ok” button. If you’re not okay with that description on “core values”, well, there are no other choices.

The second survey point asks recipients to “Choose ten values” by selecting the respective radio buttons from a list of ninety-nine “values” arranged alphabetically from “Accomplishment” to “Wellness.”

Well, this is kinda perplexing. OBO is not/not a stand alone entity but is part of the State Department; it shares its organizational norms and culture, why does it need its very own OBO “fixed and timeless” core values?  How many OBO employees are part of this OBO Transformation Team?

Some folks are just curious if this is going to be another word cloud exercise.

If you’re in the middle of this “transformational change” does this exercise and hosted discussion helpful in making you adjust/deal/understand the changes unfolding in your organization? Are they useful in addressing employee concerns and anxieties? We’re also interested to know — is this exercise being replicated in every geographic and functional bureau of the State Department? How many “transformation teams” are there? What are their team compositions and roles?

In related news, we understand that a Republican nominee who ran and lost in the 2012 U.S. House of Representatives elections will soon be joining OBO as a Schedule C appointee. He will reportedly be supporting directly the bureau director; a permanent OBO director has yet to be named but there is an ambassador leading the bureau in an acting capacity. More OBO news in a bit.

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Independence Day Celebrations 2012 – Around the Foreign Service Round-Up

US Mission New Zealand

Independence Day Celebration in Wellington, June 11, 2012.
With a 1942 theme.  2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of American forces in New Zealand during WWII. With so few veterans left the Embassy has decided this is an important anniversary to commemorate. (click on image for slideshow).

Photo from US Embassy NZ/Flickr

Independence Day Celebration, Auckland, June 18, 2012 (click on image for slideshow)

Photo from US Embassy NZ/Flickr

Independence Day Celebration in Christchurch, June 22, 2012
Present-day Marines talking with WWII Marine Harry Oliver, now living in Christchurch. Ambassador Huebner blogged about the Christchurch celebrations here.

Photo from US Embassy NZ/Flickr

US Embassy Stockholm, Sweden

On June 28, the Embassy celebrated Independence Day, with Sweet Home Chicago as the theme, a city that personifies America’s multicultural roots. Ambassador Brzezinski’s wife, Natalia also blogged about the celebration in the Brzezinski Blog(click on image for slideshow)

Image from US Embassy Sweden

US Embassy Tel Aviv, Israel

On July 3, 2012 beginning at 7pm, the embassy’s #1 event of the year with “Israel’s A-List” goes live for online viewing straight from the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro. The online invite says: “Be there as guests arrive, Dr. Eric Huntsman sings the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Ms. Hagit Yassu sings “Hatikva,” and the U.S. Ambassador, Israeli President, and Prime Minister deliver their remarks. Musical entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by an ensemble from the Israeli Conservatory of Music and the U.S. Military Band “Winds Aloft.” Of course don’t miss how the fireworks light up the night sky above the cliffs of the Mediterranean!

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv is also to “live Tweet” the event using the hashtag #July4inTA and has raffled invitation on its Facebook page. It has the most detailed web page we have seen on July 4th, including information for guests and facts and historical documents (with translation) about the Fourth of July.

US Embassy Helsinki, Finland

Ambassador Oreck and Ms. Cody Douglas Oreck hosted the Embassy’s 4th of July party on Wednesday, June 20th.  From the embassy presser: “In addition to the traditional 4th of July program, the guests had a chance to get a firsthand look at the construction site and even witness a blast—not quite the visual effects of the 4th of July fireworks but the noise level was the same!  Other attractions included the viewing of energy efficient vehicles Fisker Karma and Volt and a tour of the newly renovated library with its Karelian pine and flame-birch wall paneling.  The menu featured Georgia O’Keefe Southwestern Chili, in honor of the famous American artist currently exhibited at the Helsinki Art Museum.  The tasty dish was prepared with Finnish moose meat.” The event is complete with yellow hard hats! (click on image for slideshow)

Photo from US Embassy Finland/Flickr

US Embassy Prague, Czech Republic

On June 27, 2012, Ambassador Norman Eisen hosted the traditional Independence Day reception at the Ambassador’s residence in Prague. (click on image for slideshow)

Ambassador Eisen waits for his guests at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Prague. (Photo from US Embassy Prague/Flickr)

US Embassy Manila, Philippines

Photo collections Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Photo via US Embassy Manila/FB

US Consulate General Matamoros, Mexico

The U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros commemorated the 236th anniversary of American independence on June 15th with a reception at the Consul General’s home. The ceremonies ended with the traditional cake cutting ceremony, where Consul General Michael Barkin was joined by Mayors Alfonso Sanchez Garza of Matamoros, Alberto Gonzalez Peña of Mier, Ramon Rodriguez Garza of Miguel Aleman, and Juan Diego Guajardo of Rio Bravo.

Photo from USCG Matamoros, Mexico (website)

US Embassy Canberra, Australia

The July 4th celebration with a NASA theme, complete with a Mars bar and Buzz Aldrin! The NASA display was reportedly extremely impressive and done by the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex! (click on image for slideshow)

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Ambassador Bleich and Buzz Aldrins with our Marines before the ceremony (Photo by US Embassy Canberra/Flickr)

US Embassy Bangkok, Thailand

On July 2, the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band from Okinawa performed at Chulalongkorn University as part of this year’s U.S. Independence Day celebration.

Photo from US Embassy Bangkok/FB

Happy 4th! Stay safe,

Domani Spero