Friday, February 9, 2024
In this blog, we will discuss the next 12 habits of higly effective government.

In our first blog, we discussed the criticality of government performance to public service delivery and achievement of national development goals. We also covered the first four habits of highly effective government. Below we continue our presentation of the habits of highly effective governments.


Habit # 5

Accountability for Results and Delivery Should be Assigned Explicitly and Unambiguously to Specific Individuals in the Government. It is not good enough to say that the “Malaria Program” did not work. Effective governments are able to identify, and hold responsible, the officer responsible for the management of the Malaria Program.

Habit # 6

A GPMS Should Have an Appropriate Incentive System that is Related to Departmental, Team and, Ultimately, Individual Performance. No matter how sophisticated the measurement system, if there are no consequences for either good or bad performance, then eventually officials will ignore performance considerations.

Habit # 7

The GPMS Should be Effectively Integrated with the Human Resource (HR) Systems in the Government. In other words, it should not be possible for the officials to get ratings of nine out of ten, whereas the department is rated as three out of ten!

Habit # 8

The GPMS Should be Integrated with the Budget System. The departmental budget should correspond with the departmental priorities. Organizational performance can serve as a guide for investing scarce funds in promising and actionable venues.

Habit # 9

The GPMS Should be Transparent, Ensuring Access to all Organizational Data. The departmental budget should correspond with departmental priorities. Progress on the departmental commitment for results should be available on the department websites. Similarly, at the end of the fiscal year,

reports of performance vs. commitments should be posted on department websites and placed on the floor of the parliament or legislature.

Habit # 10

There Should be Appropriate Institutional Arrangements for Managing GPMS. Effectiveness of a government performance management system depends on where it is located in the government. Experience suggests that these systems are most effective when operated from the chief executive’s office --whether governor, prime minister or president.

Habit # 11

The Government Should Employ an Effective, Strategic Communications Strategy in All Phases of Implementing GPMS. Both, external and internal communications are key to realizing the full potential of an effective government performance management system.

Habit # 12

The GPMS Should Have a Strong and Unambiguous Legal Foundation. Many governments make the mistake of creating a performance management system based on an executive order. Such systems are short-lived as there is typically resistance to accountability for results; and these systems are often dismantled by a new administration. Creating strong legal foundations is the only sure way to ensure longevity of performance measurement and improvement systems. In the US, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) 1993 is a classic example of this point.


Habit # 13

Performance Measurement Should Serve Multiple, Overlapping Purposes; Performance measures serve several purposes. While coming to an overall conclusion about the performance of a government organization is the primary goal, in order to successfully operate their organizations public managers must have certain information. This applies to all management levels and to all organizations. It is critical that performance measurement and resultant performance information be considered a requisite part of the management process.

Habit # 14

Performance Measurement Should be Citizen-Focused / Citizen-Centered. A citizen-driven GPMS adds great value and utility. However, for citizen-driven performance measurement to be meaningful rather than a public relations ploy, the guiding value of the endeavor should be reciprocity. Many have argued that designing performance measurement systems with the aid of average citizens adds value to the process; in other words, by involving citizens in the process, public organizations can ensure that they are measuring what is important to the community. This can potentially reduce participatory lethargy, cynicism toward government, and the rift between citizens and public decision-makers. Such benefits are in addition to better performance measures.

Habit # 15

Knowledge Management Should be an Integral Part of GPMS.

Public organizations need to learn from their successes and failures -- but perhaps more importantly from the successes and failures of other public organizations. Those human and informational resources, knowledge of which is often posted on the Web can suggest strategies for improving services, achieving cost savings and making quality enhancements.

Habit # 16

Momentum, Once Built, must be Maintained.

An effective and enduring performance measurement and improvement system is a continuous process. Over the long term, a successful performance program is one that: (a) keeps an eye not just on measurement, but on improvement of services to citizens; (b) builds a successful track record of small wins.


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