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Leadership Corner

Call for employee input: five national priorities

February 16, 2018 at 11:15am

USDA Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke

Last October, I announced five national priorities for the Forest Service. Now I need your continued help in following through on those five priorities. How should they guide the work we do? Where should our focus be? How do we recognize and measure success?

Our five national priorities emerged from my own observations and from my conversations with Forest Service employees, citizens and stakeholder groups. All five priorities build on our heritage as an organization and on our obligations to the people we serve. I think most of us can agree on their growing urgency.

They include:

  • Uplifting and empowering our employees through a respectful, safe working environment.
  • Being good neighbors and providing excellent customer service.
  • Promoting shared stewardship by increasing partnerships and volunteerism.
  • Improving the condition of forests and grasslands.
  • Enhancing recreation opportunities, improving access and sustaining infrastructure.

For any organization, it is relatively easy to state priorities that most people can agree on. But the hard lift—the lift that really counts—is translating those priorities into realities on the ground at the local level.

And that’s why I need your help.

When I first announced our priorities, I asked you to think about what they might mean for you, for your part of our organization and for the Forest Service as a whole. By now, you have hopefully had a chance to discuss them at your local level. We have subsequently developed a leadership intention for each of the national priorities to further clarify our aspirations and share why they are important.

Now I ask you to help us transform your individual thoughts and ideas into an agency-wide conversation. My aim is to create the environment you need in order to contribute your best work and identify and remove unnecessary barriers that get in the way. My commitment is to better equip you and empower you. Your comments and questions will help decide how we as an agency, at every level of our organization, follow through on our national priorities in a way that helps you and improves our work and results at all levels, especially in the field.

What do you see standing in your way? What are you experiencing that we can collectively learn from? You can leave comments in the different sections of the Leadership Corner Forum. Or if you prefer, you can email us your suggestions. Your suggestions will help us improve the way we operate. Review the five national priorities here.

Thank you for all you do.

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