Managing for Results
Managing performance starts with understanding how the governor’s administration defines success and builds the overarching system and culture to deliver that success. Without a set of goals and metrics (or strategic plans) to define the administration’s agenda, it is difficult to communicate to staff within the agencies or the general public what the government aims to deliver.
An integrated system for reviewing performance goals and connecting decision-making across the major activities in an administration greatly increases the chances that key goals and metrics will be achieved, especially across issue areas that extend beyond traditional government agency and department siloes. Performance management helps state governments improve customer service, program performance, and outcomes for their residents. This use of data to set goals and monitor performance can be an especially powerful way to improve equity by focusing efforts on communities of color. Further, transparency with the public and stakeholders places the focus on results, rather than process. This emphasis on results is difficult to sustain without a culture centered on data-driven and evidence-based policymaking. Policies and goals can be changed over time, but a state government culture that prioritizes the use of data and evidence to deliver better results for residents creates lasting impact.
Blueprint Strategies for Delivering Results
Appoint or designate a key leader, such as a Chief Performance Officer, with the authority and skill set to lead the creation of specific goals and metrics across government agencies and departmentsPeople
Ensure the strategic planning process for developing the governor’s and agency-specific goals and metrics incorporate a breadth of internal and external stakeholder input to support legitimacyPeoplePolicy
- Establish a clear set of definitions and guidelines for using metrics (e.g. lead vs. lag metrics, and input vs. output vs. outcome), and ensure that public-facing and decision-oriented metrics are focused on tangible results that matter (i.e. consider the question, if we moved the dial on this metric, would it matter to the public?)
- Engage and include community stakeholders into the process for developing state goals to reflect community needs
Make the goals and metrics accessible to the public through a scorecard or dashboard that is updated in real time or at regular intervalsPolicyInfrastructure
The Colorado Governor’s dashboard outlines strategic goals, metrics, and performance plans which are directly linked to the governor’s annual budget request. Around each strategic area, the governor convened working groups of cabinet members to directly engage key leaders in managing progress towards each goal. More information: 2019 State Standard of Excellence (Criteria 1)
The Governor’s dashboard on Results Washington publicly lists statewide strategic goals, outcome measures, and live progress towards meeting these goals.
More information: 2019 State Standard of Excellence (Criteria 1)
Develop a performance review process for goals and metrics that focuses on learning from data and engages staff at all levels (including senior personnel with authority to make decisions) as well as community stakeholders where relevantPeoplePolicy
Link outcome metrics for the governor’s goals to the department strategic plans and dashboards to support their use in operational decision-making and program evaluationPolicyInfrastructure
- Consider using a “logic tree” approach to show how administration goals link to department and even individual goals and activities
- Consider the role of equity in how departments design and implement their strategic plans
Create structures to link budget, policy, and legislative efforts that support the achievement of goals and metricsPolicyInfrastructure
The Washington Governor and state leadership convene monthly Results Reviews meetings on specific strategic goals and outcomes measures. These meetings engage community members in sharing their experiences and are made publicly available.
More information: 2019 State Standard of Excellence (Criteria 2).
The Governor’s budget request aligns the Governor’s priorities with the budgeting process and cycle. This is supported by the Colorado State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent Government (SMART) Act.
More information: 2019 State Standard of Excellence (Criteria 1).
Conduct ongoing internal and external communication about the overall approach to delivering results that helps support internal culture and builds trust with the publicPolicy
Establish a method and resources (e.g. lean process improvement) for managers and front-line staff to use data and other information to improve operations in keeping with the administration’s goalsPolicyInfrastructure
Provide adequate personnel resources, training, support, and network development for management and front-line staff to effectively use data to solve problems and deliver resultsInfrastructure
Measure employee engagement with specific questions to test awareness and connection with core administration values, performance processes, and prioritiesPeopleInfrastructure
C-Stat is the Colorado Department of Human Services’ performance-based analysis strategy that allows each program to focus on continuous improvement and outcomes. The dashboard is supported by stat meetings where executive leadership and staff analyze data to identify positive trends and opportunities for improvement.
More information: 2019 State Standard of Excellence (Criteria 2).
The Rhode Island Governor’s Office and The Policy Lab at Brown University partnered to launch the Government Innovation League, a fellowship program for staff that is designed to foster innovation and process enhancements across state through training, coaching, and implementation support. In 2019, Rhode Island has developed a variety of performance improvement projects through this model.
What Could This Look Like Over Time?
Managing for Results
- Designate/hire staff person to lead performance efforts
- Define top five administration goals quantitatively through internal deliberations
- Engage community stakeholders to inform state goals
- Build staff
- Expand goal-setting process to incorporate more internal and external input
- Embed strategic planning as part of regular course of state business through executive order or legislation
- Hold public review of multi-year performance to establish as “the norm” for government
- Cascade top five goals to each relevant department and division
- Ensure top leaders across all functions understand and prioritize goals
- Build a regular (e.g. quarterly) system to review performance
- Consider the role of equity in developing and implementing goals
- Ensure strategic plans for each department incorporate explicit cross-departmental strategies to achieve top goals
- Create annual “look back” at overall performance and lessons learned
- Create and sustain an annual process that develops policy, legislative, and budget priorities that explicitly advance top priorities
- Communicate values clearly (using mantras such as “use data to learn” or “prioritize customers”)
- Begin measuring employee engagement and alignment to values
- Publicly celebrate successes and at least one effort that failed but demonstrated correct values
- Create training program to build employee capacity and values alignment
- Provide ongoing resources for training and engagement, and establish clear success metrics
By following the actions above and building over time, states should aim to achieve wins along the way to galvanize internal and external support. Here are some sample wins, though there are many other types of achievements that states could use to mark their progress.
- Hire/designate a Chief Performance Officer to ensure the governor’s goals are results-driven with metrics, outcomes, and deliverables
- Create a public dashboard to show progress towards meeting strategic goals (see Colorado Governor’s Dashboard)
- Identify and engage key agency leaders in statewide performance management and align agency goals with dashboard
- Build a performance team to support a cross-agency performance management system for strategic goals
- Ensure statewide strategic and performance goals are reflected in agencies’ work (see Colorado’s Department of Human Services’s C-Stat)
- Highlight important wins publicly and internally to emphasize progress made towards accomplishing goals
- Normalize performance management and strategic planning through executive action (see the executive order that established Results Washington)
- Leverage the annual budget process to align governor’s priorities with budget development (such as the Colorado State Measurement for Accountability, Responsive, and Transparent Government Act)
- Convene leadership and performance teams for regular public stat meetings (such as Results Washington Results Reviews)
- Leverage performance management data and continuous improvement insights to inform research and learning agendas