I recently had the opportunity to attend the Performance and Planning Exchange (PPX) Symposium in Ottawa, Ontario. This international centre of excellence provides learning, sharing and the development of expertise in performance and planning – including its measurement, implementation, public reporting and management. Primarily catering to a federal government audience, it was beneficial to understand the culture of performance measurement that is entrenched and how the use of evidence-based measurement drives federal transfer payments. I was also interested to learn that the messaging they provide in their results-based management 101 course is very similar to the Regional Economic Development Branch’s Measuring Up! performance measurement resource.
Here are my two key takeaways I gathered on performance measurement from the conference:
- Know your Audience; Communicate in their Language: consider the difference between a logic model versus a results plan. Both are effectively the same and capture inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes, but the results plan communicates in a language of “who” a logic model effects, “what” is it effecting, and “why” we are measuring in the first place. I heard a great anecdotal story at the conference in pitching a results plan to a senior management team; their response was” I like this; I can see what I’m buying.” Having your audience know what you are communicating in a language they understand is key to successful performance measurement.
- How to Change Culture in a Multi-Cultural Setting: One of the breakout sessions I participated in was the Department of Foreign Affairs and Development’s Trade Commissioner Service. This service has 160 points of service worldwide and they shared their challenge of reporting consistent results where the culture of business varies by jurisdiction. They identified the support system they developed to help managers better monitor and manage the performance of trade staff, the quarterly reports produced with graphic representations of performance, how this ultimately change their culture of reporting and overall improvement this brought to their office globally. I appreciated the Trade Commission Office’s demonstration that improved reporting led to increased accountability, and acted as both a “carrot” and a “stick” to different users within their office, and how it was a key catalyst for change.
Performance measurement is driving results-based change in government; this conference gave great evidence of that, especially in economic development organizations such as the Trade Commissioner Services. And my original interest on the messaging between this organization and what we provide through Measuring Up! is very consistent. Regardless of the size of government, performance measurement is gaining importance in driving change.
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