NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONS
National Council of
Social Security Management Associations
Leadership Counts: The Manager’s Discussion Board
Monday, August 7, 2017
Have you ever been on a Deputy Commissioner for Operations (DCO) call and had a question, but were reluctant to ask? Have you ever felt a decision was made in Headquarters that might not have considered all Field Office or TSC perspective? If you answered yes to either question, you have a channel to address both scenarios by utilizing the Manager’s Discussion Board (MDB).
The MDB SharePoint site was originally created in November 2013 as a platform for management to bring up ideas and issues and discuss these items with other managers. It was also a means for the DCO to gather insight from managers on topics that are important to them. Topics range from administrative issues to workload processes. However, the MDB does not address policy or personnel issues as those should be directed to the proper channels.
Recently, NCSSMA worked with DCO on revamping this important communication tool. The initiative began with an idea that sprang up from within the San Francisco Region and took flight with a suggestion letter to the DCO, at that time, Nancy Berryhill. After Nancy read the letter, she reached out to the NCSSMA President to establish a workgroup that would work alongside DCO Senior Advisors and OEST counterparts. NCSSMA also gathered a few managers from across the country to support this new initiative. Karla Montemayor, SFRMA Past President and our current NCSSMA Secretary, led a national workgroup of managers from the Kansas City, Boston and Dallas Regions. Together, NCSSMA and DCO worked closely to fine tune and finally unveil a new site that would benefit both managers and DCO leadership.
We have all seen first-hand how the MDB enhanced the interactive process in our last DCO All Managers Call. During the June call, questions posted to the MDB were immediately answered. Managers also appreciated when DCO added the proposed agenda for review prior to the call. Managers provided significant positive feedback regarding the MDB after it went live and shared the value of posting questions and having them read aloud and answered in real time. The MDB allows management to suggest topics for future calls too. It’s also a great resource if you missed a call or want to verify information shared. You’ll find that if DCO was unable to address your question on the call, they returned to the board with the answer or status update.
The primary purpose of the MDB is to serve as a forum for managers to discuss topics of importance to them. Topics are grouped into categories for easy sorting. Managers can quickly find the most active discussions and topics that have no replies yet. Manager also have quick access to topics they have posted for discussion. Managers can contribute to current discussions or start their own.
The MDB can play an integral role in the collaboration of management across the nation by fostering conversations between managers and creating a free environment for managers to pose questions to the DCO. NCSSMA encourages management to utilize the MDB to connect with management nationwide, share ideas, address concerns, actively participate during DCO calls, and to stay informed with agency wide issues, concerns and initiatives. Be sure to check out the MDB SharePoint at: http://sharepoint.ba.ssa.gov/dco/MDB2/Web/MDB1.aspx. It’s a great reminder that you never know where one idea will spring up and go!
By Tigran Gumushyan, OS Westwood and David Itzaina, OS El Cajon
San Francisco Region Management Association Area Vice Presidents (AVPs)