The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2022 13 reviewers—determine which employees are promotable, and no single factor is determinative. Rather it is a cumulative, comparative and competitive assessment by boards when identifying, across all compe- tencies, who has best integrated and achieved results that matter and who projects as having the greater capacity to take on additional responsibilities in the future. Whether in initial hiring, assign- ments, tenure or promotion, decisions are collective ones where decision-mak- ers look across the whole spectrum of challenges and accomplishments. More broadly, for a successful DEIA program, identifying and eliminating barriers is only an initial step. Providing incentives for better DEIA action is an intermediate step. When employees (top to bottom) see and act on DEIA as an intrinsic value, irrespective of recognition in assignment, promotion or award, then true progress can result. These department reforms are a welcome step in that direction. Sys- temic change will come in the EER system when the department moves away from skill-based competencies, a dated and passive approach that refers to an employee’s current state. Instead, cutting-edge organizations have shifted to an approach centered on a capabil- ity model that integrates and highlights adapting and flexing—to create, inno- vate, lead and manage change under increased levels of complexity. In such models, raters and review- ers put themselves in a decision-making (rather than “assessment”) mode and support their conclusions. It is less about telling a story and more about presenting a compelling case. Raters and reviewers will ask themselves different questions: Would they recruit and hire this person again? Would they recommend that others work for this person? Would they promote, now, this person to a position of greater authority and responsibility?The answers, of course, rest on honest, forward-looking conversations with candidates, as well as future-based projections for candidates’ professional development. Such an approach is at the center of a state-of-the-art performance manage- ment system. GTM’s reforms are on the road there. n Unavoidable Chaos, Not “Shock Therapy” BY JAMES NORRIS RESPONSE TO APRIL SPEAKING OUT, “NO ONE WAS LISTENING: RUSSIA, 1992” I was USAID mission director in Moscow between 1992 and 1996 and, based on that experience, find ques- tionable a number of Kristin Loken’s comments in her April Speaking Out column about U.S. policies and pro- grams in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Loken’s most grievous error is stat- ing that the United States imposed a program of economic “shock therapy” with the intent of “moving Russia from a communist dictatorship to a free-market democracy, overnight.” The reality was that the Soviet econ- omy was a dysfunctional shell toward the end, with perhaps 50 percent of it running on a black market. There was no shock therapy. There was unavoidable chaos. With the dissolution of the USSR, the Russian economy was not transition- ing, it was collapsing. And neither the James Norris joined USAID in 1965. He served overseas as an economist in Tunisia, Indonesia and Egypt; in Washington as counselor to the agency and deputy assistant administrator for the Asia Near East Bureau; and as mission director in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Russia. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1996 with the rank of Career Minister. U.S. nor Russia’s reformers could pos- sibly control the collapse. While there were U.S. consultants who recommended programs of man- aged rapid economic reform in some other East bloc countries (Poland being one), at no time did the USAID mission in Moscow receive any guidance from Washington supporting “shock therapy.” And while there certainly were officials in Washington who naively thought U.S. assistance to Russia would be a quick in- and-out affair, the USAID mission never thought so; and, overall, the program focused on longer-term systemic reform. The only way the chaos of the