A recent conversation on the Knowledge Network revolved around the issue of receiving no support for performance measurement from leadership and staff. What do you do when there is a lack of support, encouragement, and accountability from your top elected and appointed official for your performance measurement initiative, especially when your initiative is in its infant stage? What do you do when even staff members don’t see the value of what you’re doing?
Harry Kensworthy, an ICMA member and principal and manager of Quality and Productivity Improvement Center offered these suggestions:
- Provide more information and education to the top management team along with providing them links to other City sites already using metrics—this starts to develop knowledge.
- Provide them the case (elevator speech) of what are we doing, why are we doing it, what do you expect out of them, and what's in it for them. It's all about realizing that this has a direct benefit to top management.
- If top management doesn't know and doesn't want to know, then you're working to develop metrics that your peers realize are valuable to them for the same reasons (elevator speech). It's always best for the mayor or city manager to clearly set expectations for metrics and then seriously follow through to make sure it happens.
The strategic plan is also another great place to start for determining which measures will capture the interest of management and elected officials. According to Gerald Young, senior management associate at ICMA’s Center for Performance Measurement (CPM), some of the best strategies used by CPM participants are to set regular meetings with departments to consider how they're performing, and to consider performance data in the before/after discussions of any budget cuts or additions. “This helps to show where rosy expectations from a proposed action may not have panned out, or where there may be unintended consequences as well,” according to Young.
Another idea would be to compare and contrast your metrics with other jurisdictions. ICMA member and former manager of Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, John Duffy, wrote “Attempt to find out why your jurisdiction differs, especially for cases where you excel and where you do not. You now can report to senior management and the rank and file employees where the organization is ‘better than average’ and where it is not and most importantly why there is a difference so that superior performance may be celebrated/acknowledged and how poor performance might be made better.”
Finally, it might be helpful to find one champion in your organization who “gets it.” That could be a department head, budget analyst, or just someone pushing for his or her own pet project. “Support them in making their case with data, and others will take their lead,” says Young.
Read the entire Knowledge Network discussion. Learn more about the ICMA Center for Performance Measurement.