Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dirty Buzzwords

Heard a couple of buzzwords pop up again in different places regarding efficiency in government. One instance was a newly-elected fellow, someone I support and am rooting for. The other was a trade magazine where buzzwords abound every other word.

Accountability. Performance-Based measures.

These subjects are anathema to government especially when it comes to managing knowledge workers. These concepts require effort on the part of management and employees. Worse yet, we might find out something we don't want to deal with!

The Star Tribune did a good write up about how this discussion is happening in Prior Lake, MN. It gets down to this: "We know what we're good at and we know we're busy. Now how to we help decision makers understand this?"

Fact is, private sector already does this stuff. Doing it isn't hard. It comes down to the fact that staff has little incentive to change. If we start peeking under the hood people will see how poorly things are done and tough decisions will need to be made.

But we need to do this. Let's set goals and decide on metrics. Let's start defining success and work toward it. This is the only way forward. We'll get better efficiency, more informed management, and satisfied citizens. Best of all it will be the first step toward properly managing knowledge workers for what they are, not unionized assembly line workers!

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