Creating a Performance and Results Culture

Background. Over the past two decades, the performance movement has made steady progress. It has resulted in a focus on performance and results via strategic and annual operating plans, a supply of performance information to track progress of these plans; a demand for performance information via quarterly reviews of progress on priority goals and annual reviews of strategic objectives; and an infrastructure with chief operating officers and performance improvement officers.

CEOs Need Mentors Too

Suzanne de Janasz and Maury Peiperl interviewed dozens of corporate executives over the past two years to understand how "new CEOs in large organizations gain access to seasoned counsel and feedback." In a recent Harvard Business Review article, they summarized their findings.

Weekly Roundup: April 1 - 14, 2015

GAO Releases New Reports on Duplication, Overlap of Government Programs. GAO testified on its annual assessment of federal program fragmentation, duplication and overlap. In addition to providing details on 66 new areas where it found fragmentation, etc., it also released an evaluation and management guide to help Congress and others to conduct similar assessments. Fixing Federal IT.

The Low-Down on Agency-Run Strategic Reviews

This memo indirectly adds some urgency to the relatively new “agency annual strategic reviews” which are currently underway in agencies across the government. The 2010 amendments to the Government Performance and Results Act created a series of cycles for four-year strategic plans, annual plans, the designation of two-year agency priority goals and four year cross-agency priority goals. The law also requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to annually assess agencies’ progress.

Weekly Roundup: April 13 - 17, 2015

A Commitment to Be Nicer to Feds? Government Executive reports that “Lawmakers vowed to change their rhetoric to show their appreciation for the federal workforce during a congressional hearing on Thursday on low employee morale.” GAO: Employee Engagement Can Improve. At the same congressional hearing, GAO weighed in. Recent declines in employee engagement has been documented through annual governmentwide surveys. But a new GAO report identifies six practices that contribute to better engagement. New Guidance on Use of Social Media.

Can IGs Successfully Walk a Tightrope?

By law, agency inspectors general are given a great deal of independence from pressures from both their agencies and Congress. But to be effective, they need to develop positive relationships with both. Some are more effective than others. What makes the difference? In January 2015, Michael Horowitz, chair of the cross-agency Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, highlighted “independence” as their most-cherished attribute. But what steps can the IGs, agency heads, and Congress take to make sure that the work of the IGs is not ignored?

Weekly Roundup: April 20 - 24, 2015

Rating Federal Mobile-Friendly Websites. Google implemented a new policy regarding the ranking of mobile-friendly websites on its search engine. NextGov tested Google’s ranking criteria on 28 large federal agency websites and found that about half met the criteria and half didn’t. Where is your agency on the list? Bloomberg and Big Data – The “What Works” City Initiative.

"What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"

Risk experts Doug Webster and Tom Stanton think not. Writing in a new report for the IBM Center for The Business of Government, they observe: “The front pages of national newspapers constantly report on actions by private companies, federal leaders, or agencies that do not appear to have considered the risks associated with various decisions and actions.

Transforming Government Like Disney?

Greg Godbout, the chief technology officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, suggests as much when he keynoted an AFCEA roundtable in Bethesda a couple weeks ago. According to Federal Times, he told the audience how Walt Disney World delivers a seamless experience: “Visitors to the theme park who are staying at a connected hotel can get a "Magic Band," a wrist band that unlocks the hotel room, grants admission to the park, reserves access to certain attractions and allows the guest to buy items at shops and charge them to the room.” He went on to say that it is “. . .

The Power of Progress: The Key to Employee Engagement

A recent study by two psychologists, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, concludes: “If you focus on supporting the daily progress of people working in your organization, you will not only foster the success of the organization but also enrich the everyday lives of your employees.” This simple, powerful insight isn’t obvious to managers. They surveyed managers, asking what they thought were the most important factors in influencing motivation and emotions at work. Managers ranked “recognition, incentives, interpersonal support, and clear goals” as top.

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Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
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Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: john.kamensky@us.ibm.com