Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Managing For Results - Critical Success Factors

Managing for Results (MFR) is an integrated management systems that focuses all the components of the management system on results for customers. It is also characterized by an organizational culture where the language, beliefs and behavior are likewise focused on results for customers.

Based on Weidner’s work in 60+ jurisdictions, the following are the critical success factors (CSF) for MFR implementation. This list of CSFs is a combination of observations by our customers, research conducted by various associations and organizations, and our own direct observations. Implementation by individual jurisdictions will be stronger in some CSFs than others. No single jurisdiction has all CSFs in play at the level they would want, nor does any single jurisdiction fall short in all of the CSFs.

Here at Weidner, we are constantly learning from our customer jurisdictions about what works and does not work in specific organizational circumstances. What is important in one jurisdiction may be less important in another. MFR is a long term effort to change the organizational culture to focus on customers and to improve performance – nothing is static. In case studies posted on our website at www.weidnerinc.com, we highlight the success of our customer jurisdictions.

Employee Involvement in Development
When employees get involved three things happen. First, the Strategic Business Plan is theirs; they own it because they developed it. Second, they understand it because it came from them. Third, the employees deliver the service and interface with the customer, which means that the plan is doable, achievable and is created using the best possible operational expertise.

Visible Leadership
If there is one variable that tops all others, it is leadership. When the senior administrator is the sponsor of MFR, the chances of success are great. When top leadership is fully engaged in supporting MFR, then everyone easily gets on board and stays on board – or they find their way out of the organization. The level of commitment from top leadership is reflected throughout the organization. When the commitment of top leadership is not strong or is tentative, or if that commitment from the top changes because of turnover, MFR will be at risk simply because leadership is the single most important ingredient for success.

Clarity of Purpose
In MFR, purpose is defined at all levels within the organization. If a team of people is committed to a common goal, whether that is going to the moon or reducing response times, its chances of success is elevated because the entire team is trying to move in the same direction with the same result in mind and on paper. Purpose is defined at the department level in the Mission, and for a program or division, purpose is defined with a Purpose Statement according to the services delivered, the customer receiving those services, and the expected result for that customer. The customer experience is the unifying purpose of MFR. Without that focus on the customer, governments stay internally focused with little chance of improvement.

Specificity of Results
The clearer and more specific departments can be about who their customer is, the more specific and measurable their results will be. When goals or measures are written as general statements of intention, little or nothing actually happens or changes. When results are specific, measurable, achievable, results focused and time specific (SMART), then a department or program team will take action to achieve them. SMART goals drive action while general goals rarely do so.

Focus on Results that are Critical
Critical results may be defined as measuring the customer experience, core to the purpose of the services to be delivered, and aligned where appropriate to the higher goals of the organization. Nashville called their MFR initiative “Results Matter” for good reason. An organization cannot achieve everything, but it can achieve some things and it is essential to decide which results will receive the focus. Moving the water cooler projects garner little support or resources. Being focused on results that matter will help ensure public support for the effort and provide maximum motivation to staff.

Communications,Communications, Communications
If the goal is to engage employees in MFR and help them understand what it means to them, communications is the key. Communications in MFR address understanding, employee concerns, and how to use performance information in their daily work. The same is true for citizens – communications with citizens about the results the jurisdiction is achieving helps keep the credibility gap closed. It also means that you are telling your story of challenges and achievements in terms of results rather than someone else telling an alternative version.

Quality of Strategic Business Plans
Strategic Business Plans are the first step in MFR for departments. Quality Strategic Business Plans are clear about the strategic and operational results departments want their customers to experience and what services they deliver. Department Strategic Business Plans include the program structure that will be used to structure the budget and the accounting system. Performance measures developed in the Strategic Business Plans will be used to manage service delivery, create a performance based budget, and report performance to the City Manager and Council.

Process to Approve Strategic Business Plans
The Corporate Review process to approve Department Strategic Business Plans is the critical bridge between Strategic Business Plans and the Performance Budget. Strategic Business Plans are approved in Corporate Review before departments begin developing their budgets. This way plans structure and drive the budget and ensure that the budget ties resources to results. Corporate Review is the step that makes planning, performance and budgeting one process. Without this step, planning and budgeting remain separate processes and neither process is successful on its own.

Tie Resources to Results for Budget Decisions
Budgeting for Results, the name often given to the budget in MFR, is developing, approving and executing a budget where the money is tied directly to results. The conversation for developing and approving the budget changes from how much money did we get and spend last year and how much will be spent this year, to what results are we trying to achieve for our customer, what type and level of services will deliver those results and how much do those services cost. There is a direct relationship between a level of funding and a level of service delivery and customer experience. Without this critical step, it simply is not possible to Manage for Results because results cannot be achieved without applying resources.

Analysis and Forward Focused Reporting
Using performance information to manage service delivery and report performance is one of the highest value components of MFR. When departments look at the performance information on a regular basis and compare current and year-to-date performance to targets and project where they will be at the end of the year given the current level of performance, there is a very high likelihood that performance targets will be met – or you will know why. A performance database where information can be entered, tracked, analyzed and reported is important because it makes it easy to access the information. Without a database, it is less likely that managers will use and report the information.

Organization Learns Performance Management Skills
Building capacity within the jurisdiction is essential to long-term success. When this does not occur and there is sole reliance on consultants to do all of the work, success will last as long as the consultant contract.

Entire Organization Involved
Every department and every level within a given department needs to be involved in developing the Strategic Business Plan as well as collecting and analyzing the data to continuously improve service delivery and customer experience.

Continuous Learning and Improvement of MFR
Major change initiatives take time and a lot of learning to successfully implement. The quality of the Strategic Business Plans, performance measures, reports and use of performance information for service delivery is a learned set of skills that can improve over time if the jurisdiction makes that a priority. If learning and improving is not a priority, then it is possible for the quality of MFR products and the focus on customer service to erode.

Search This Site

  © Blogger template Werd by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP