Is more always better? Governments tend to count lots of outputs but it’s false to presume that an increase in gallons of water treated or building permits issued translates to improved performance. Now more than ever, measuring the performance of government services and programs is fundamental to establishing and maintaining its role as a credible community builder.
The challenge is identifying what precisely quality performance actually means. Over the years, a number of solutions have arrived on the scene as devices enabling improved government performance:
• Balanced Score Card
• Total Quality Management
• Management By Objectives
• Baldridge Award
• Priority-Based Budgeting
• Zero-Based Budgeting
• Citizen/Customer Surveys
Too often, the internal sponsors of these well-intentioned change initiatives had insufficient leadership capital to succeed, employees waited them out and the “flavor of the month” was unceremoniously discarded. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, as external consultants we find this situation all too often with clients and are asked to make dramatic and swift changes so better results are achieved immediately.
A number of performance measures are available including: 1) Inputs: The amount of resources used to produce a program or to provide a service, generally expressed in expenditures or labor units. 2) Outputs: The amount of a service or program provided, representing completed work activity or effort, as expressed in units of service delivered. 3) Efficiency Measures: Indicators of how well the organization is using its resources, expressed as a ratio between the amount of input and the amount of output or outcome; 4) Outcome Measures: Indicators of how well a program or services is accomplishing its mission, including quality, cycle time, and customer satisfaction measures.
Instead of imposing performance on employees, enlist them to join in and provide their energy and effort in crafting meaningful and useful performance measures. Here’s the recipe for accomplishing this:
1. Identify the Program or Service to be measured.
2. Define the Program mission.
3. Establish Measurement Criteria.
4. Choose Performance Measurement method.
5. Set a deadline for gathering data.
6. Score and Report results.
7. Adopt Next Practices as a method to improve performance.
8. Continue Performance Measurement.
Our team of consultants has helped a number of leaders achieve unprecedented results by adopting “Next Practices” and crafting targeted and meaningful performance measures. We are certified in Balanced Score Card for the public sector and have partnered with the City of Olathe, Kansas to fortify its focus. We also provided Lean Process Improvement training to a select group of employees with the City of Brookings, South Dakota in their efforts to optimize resources and improve organizational effectiveness.