How do we create a performance improvement system in our organization?
The Short Answer
1. Start small.
2. Keep it simple.
3. Minimize paper.
4. Model behavior
5. Connect to the budget.
6. Make it useful (especially to managers).
There are in fact many books written on this subject. So go buy one and read it. But here’s something you might not read in one of those books:
(1) Start small: Don’t try to do it all in one year
(2) Keep it simple: The Seven questions are simple
(3) Minimize paper: One useful page is better than one thousand not-so-useful pages
(4) Model behavior: Start at the bottom and the top. Leaders should use regular 7 question reporting in their periodic conferences
(5) Connect it to the budget process: The 7 questions can be used in internal budget hearings and can be used to design budget forms. If it’s connected to the budget process it will be taken more seriously
(6) Make it useful to managers: If it is useful to managers, it will meet the needs of top management, the budget, the legislature or county council. And the data will be better.
(7) Pay attention to data quality and timeliness: This means investing in data development and data systems.
(8) Insist on a few “headline” measures for each component of the department/agency: Do not allow people to use too much data, to overwhelm the system; to lose the forest for the trees.
(9) Live by a simple rule: If it’s not useful, don’t do it.