Use performance measures wisely in managing nonprofits

Use performance measures wisely in managing nonprofits Performance measures are essential for good management. But sometimes measures are used in ways that harm rather than improve performance. The Atlantic Magazine article (see link below) illustrates the problems using customer satisfaction in hospital management. These problems apply to other performance measures as well. Some thoughts on avoiding these problems: Consider the possible unintended consequences of using a performance measure. Identify ways improving one…

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Public administration and what the public wants

I have often been critical of public policy and public administration schools although I am the product of one (Lafollette School of Public Affairs).  The problem is that most focus on policy and neglect management and execution. Most people working in government are implementing laws and policies, not making them. It is in the execution of policy that much public controversy arises. The executive and management leadership gap is apparent…

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Government HR reform — add value and manage talent

Let's improve public sector performance through government HR reform We should be concerned about government HR reform.  A recent column in Governing Magazine, Getting More Value out of the Government HR Department, makes good suggestions for change.   I have long experienced government human resource departments focused on administration and legal compliance. The top priority is avoiding legal and regulatory mistakes. This leads to rigid rules and processes for hiring, compensation, and discipline.…

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Government technology project failures and solutions

The article from the Brookings Institution, Doomed: Challenges and solutions to government IT projects, has some helpful thoughts on why government technology projects fail and what can be done to improve the chances of success. The article is consistent with my experience in government and my involvement with large and small IT projects. Government at all levels needs a better approach to adopting and implementing technology to improve service and…

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Political decay — Insights from Francis Fukuyama

Are we experiencing political decay? Our political situation, particularly the current Presidential election process, is unsettling and unprecedented in my lifetime. Is this political decay or just a rough patch in our political process? I have been trying to determine whether my reaction has some rational basis or is just the emotional response of someone in the last third of life who, like so many before me, feels the world is falling…

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