Q & A: Why Measure Performance?

Q: You’ve heard that a Court Performance Measurement System (CPMS) that gives you a snapshot of your court’s performance on your personalized Web-based dashboard is the next big thing in court administration, but that doesn’t quite do it for you. Given all the things you have to consider – strategic planning, Six Sigma, outsourcing, reengineering, and activity based management – you still want to know why you should measure your court’s performance in the first place.

A: The answer is simple – clarity, focus and action. Performance measures – like the percent of court users who are satisfied with the way they were served by your court or the percent of case files that were retrieved within ten minutes of request – are valuable to court leaders and managers because they are unambiguous and actionable. They serve as clear incentives and practical tools for change.You probably thought that your job is to analyze the complexity and chaos of your court’s operating environment and reflect it back to your people. That’s wrong, says Marcus Buckingham, who has spent a lot of his time watching leadership at its best. Clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader and manager. If you do nothing else, says Buckingham, be clear. Good performance measures can do that for you.

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