Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Summary of Chapter 15: Strategic Scheduling

*Excerpt from Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide, copyright Congressional Management Foundation. 

 

DO...
DON'T...
  • follow the six steps for developing and implementing a strategic schedule:
    1. define office goals.
    2. evaluate the impact of office goals on scheduling.
    3. communicate goals to staff.
    4. assemble the scheduling team.
    5. develop scheduling criteria.
    6. conduct a strategic review.

  • determine roles and responsibilities for the Scheduler(s) and any other staff who are part of the scheduling team.

  • forecast a long-range scheduling plan for either the first session or the entire upcoming term.

  • serve more constituents by conducting a variety of proactive events in the district/state, such as: individual appointments; community or open office hours; site visits; online, in-person, or tele-town halls; advisory boards; and field hearings.

  • consider the Member’s travel schedule, the distance from DC to the district/ state, and any additional job duties, before hiring and deciding where to locate the person responsible for district/state scheduling.

  • hire an experienced, top-notch scheduler if the Member is still going to see every invitation and decide all details.

  • rely on reactive scheduling, where the office simply responds to invitations or requests. Instead, actively seek and creative opportunities to achieve goals.

  • neglect to get feedback from event attendees. Only by knowing what went right and wrong can the office improve future scheduling trips.

  • overschedule. Schedulers must learn to say “no” diplomatically and take the heat because of it.

  • ignore the Member’s needs for “down time” or reading time. While Member’s schedules are necessarily busy, they do not have to always keep pace with a hectic campaign-like schedule.

  • wait too long to respond to invitations which angers those who invited you, nor reply too quickly, which might result in last-minute cancellations.

  • ignore or avoid conflict between the Member’s family and staff. Build a cooperative relationship by setting up ground rules for the family’s involvement in scheduling and interaction with staff.