Fail Forward – What to Do When It Doesn’t Work Out

1-Hour Breakout Session
Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. ET
ECQ 5: Building Coalitions
Attendees Can Earn 1 CPE

The work we do in government is hard, and failure is a certainty. However, without trial and error, progress rarely occurs. In order to move our teams and agencies forward, leaders need to overcome the anxiety of messing up – which, of course, is easier said than done.

In this session, you will hear from a leader about how to prepare for the inevitability of a failure somewhere in your area of responsibility, what to do when it happens, and how to repair the damage afterward so you and your team can continue to do good work for the people you serve.


Michael Lawyer, Director of Human Resource Management, Office of Field Policy and Management, U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development

Michael has spent his career helping people uncover a passion for their work and unlocking their potential. He currently serves as Director of Performance and Resource Optimization for the Office of Field Policy and Management in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to this role, he coordinated and supported Employee Engagement initiatives across the Department. In 2015 these initiatives helped HUD become the most improved mid-sized agency in the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work Index.

In addition to his formal work on Employee Engagement, Michael is a founding board member of the Presidential Management Alumni Association, a new organization bringing together PMFs from the last 40 years of the government’s premier leadership recruiting program. He also co-founded and led Under 5, HUD’s new employee affinity group. With more than 300 active members, Under 5 developed new policies and programs, transformed the new employee experience, and increased the new employee retention rate at HUD.

Michael regularly speaks and trains on employee engagement, government communications, and the future of the federal workplace. He has presented at The Next Generation of Government Training Summit, OPM’s Pathway’s Day, The Training Officer’s Consortium Annual Institute, and many federal agencies and employee groups.

Before joining federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow, Michael worked in the nonprofit sector as a community organizer and fundraiser. He holds a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and a B.A. in Creativity from Bethel University. He lives in Washington DC with his wife and two sons.

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