Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Winning Public Trust through Performance Leadership

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Winning Public Trust through Performance Leadership

Article excerpt

The following is a preview of one of the topics to be covered during Leadership Training Institute seminars at the Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. "Building Public Trust through Performance Leadership" will be held Saturday, March 11.

Do you ever wonder why it is so fashionable to criticize government? Why government has, in many ways, become a symbol of bureaucratic thinking, waste and inefficiency?

Open any book in the library, turn on the nightly news, or flip through the local newspaper and you are bound to find a comment or story about the "Fleecing of America," government spending run amok, or alleged scandal.

What's particularly disturbing about much of this commentary is the apparent absence of meaningful discourse.

As government leaders, when we are criticized, our general tendency is to defend what we are doing, rather than to demonstrate what we are accomplishing in the lives of our citizens.

Performance management is not a new concept to government leaders. We've all read "Reinventing Government" and are aware of the President's Management Agenda.

For the most part, we understand and appreciate the need for performance metrics, and we encourage the collection of data. But have we truly changed the way we manage in government?

Have we become performance-informed organizations, equipped with powerful stories of service improvement, policy enhancement and citizen support?

Or have we simply become performance reporting organizations--repositories of mountains of impressive data that tell us nothing about the difference we are making in the lives of our citizens and stakeholders?

This is an important question and not one to be taken lightly.

On one hand, we are actively engaged in the performance process, looking at and exploring the meaning of our data and performance information. …

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