OMB'\u2019's report on the cost of the Federal Shutdown was full of dramatic evidence about what the Federal government does for the country and the economic impact of all of that work. Why then did so many members of Congress and quite a few citizens seem to discount or even embrace halting this important work? There are many explanations, but from a performance management and reporting perspective, perhaps it's time we hold the mirror up to ourselves. Why does it take a partisan battle and public outrage to coax the White House into releasing a clear, concise and heavily publicized report on government outcomes and impacts?
Other developed countries around the world promote their scorecards and national grades, while we continue to lag behind. We've had multiple groups call for a national "receipt" that would provide a simple summation of what each taxpayer is actually getting for their money. Beyond government, look at the glossy and sometimes enormous shareholder reports that come from the world's largest companies, while these reports emphasize financial results they also touch on leading indicators and the work these corporations do to improve their customers" lives. Some products have obvious tangible value, but much of what where we spend our money depends on the message and value conveyed by the organization, particularly non-profits. With the sheer volume of data now being captured, a better reporting tool, with more impact on our stakeholders, including elected officials and taxpayers, is a clear next step.
When discussing performance reporting with members of Congress and their staff, I frequently hear the same words, "boring, not relevant, not interesting, and don't really look at it." When discussing government work with my non-government friends and family outside of Washington, I frequently hear, "tell me why we are paying these taxes and what are we getting for it?" Isn't it time we take these complaints and questions seriously. If we don't tell our story better, someone will tell it for us. In fact they already are.
Posted in Performance Pickup