Does Management By Numbers Work?

Dr. Hood, who is a well-respected public management professor, poses this question in a recent article in the Public Administration Review and his answer is:  it depends.

He posits that what the numbers are used for -- and the operational culture in the organizations in which they are used -- will influence the effectiveness of any “management by numbers” strategy.

What's the Recipe for Good (Collaborative) Relationships?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there are all sorts of advice columns about improving relationships.  Well, A new IBM Center report by Dr. Jane Fountain, Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Guide for Federal Managers, offers advice on successful cross-agency relationships.  She says there is a recipe for success, but that it depends on a number of factors.

To Be Loved or Feared?

Style matters, claim several Harvard Business Review authors, Amy Cuddy, Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger, in a recent article.  They write: “A growing body of research suggests that the way to influence – and to lead – is to begin with warmth.”  They underline this, noting:  “Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.” 

Throwing Rocks and Birds

In 2002, British academic Jake Chapman wrote a paper for Demos, a UK think tank, entitled: “System Failure:  Why Governments Must Learn to Think Differently.” It is based on his experiences in working with large government challenges, especially in the energy and health care sectors.  In his paper, he contrasts the traditional, linear approach to problem-solving with a more holistic, systemic approach.  He says it is like the difference between throwing a rock and a live bird:

Four Approaches to Crowdsourcing

Gavin Newscom is California’s lieutenant governor, and was formerly the mayor of San Francisco.  He is a huge advocate of the use of technology to engage citizens, which he describes in his book, Citizenville.  But advocates of greater citizen engagement extend beyond political leaders to many frontline government executives at all levels – federal, state, and local.

 

Tri-Sector Leadership Skills

An article in the September issue of Harvard Business Review by Nick Lovegrove and Matthew Thomas tries to explain why.  They examine the careers of leaders who have been successful in addressing complex challenges requiring collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders. They cite Harvard Kennedy School professor Joseph Nye, who says that these kinds of leaders have the ability to “engage and collaborate across the private, public, and social sectors.”

Performance Budgeting, Texas-Style

When Cong. Cuellar was a state legislator in Texas, he saw how his state used performance information in the budget process.  When he was appointed earlier this year to the U.S. House appropriations committee, he finally reached a position where he could bring this perspective to Washington in a real way.  The next step is to convince his colleagues to try it.

Collaborating to Make a Difference

In May, the VA announced a partnership with two veterans service organizations --  the Disabled American Veterans and The American Legion -- to reduce the backlog of claims for veterans benefits by encouraging the filing of “fully developed claims.”  Such claims can be expedited in half the time it takes to process a regular claim.

Predictive Analytics: How to Prevent Crime from Happening

City police departments across the country are turning traditional police officers into “data detectives.”  Police departments across the country have adapted business techniques --  initially developed by retailers, such as Netflix and WalMart, to predict consumer behavior -- to predict criminal behavior.  A new IBM Center report, by Dr.

What Does Performance Management Look Like in India?

Sometimes it is refreshing to look at how other countries approach the challenge of measuring and managing performance in their governments. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a World Bank seminar where the Secretary of Performance Management for the Government of India described how his country is doing it.

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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

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