Q & A: Getting Started with Performance Measurement -- The Right Attitude

Q: My court wants to start using the CourTools and the Six-Step Design Process (see October 15, 2005 Made2Measure post) for building a court performance measurement system (CPMS). Beyond getting the right people on the bus (November 23, 2005 Made2Measure post), what do we need to get started?

A: You need the right attitude. The real value of performance measurement is not the performance measures themselves but rather the fundamental questions they force you to ask about your court’s programs and services. How is your court performing today? Where is it heading in the future? What are your major challenges? What are you going to do about them? It’s all about the kind of serious self-inquiry, self-analysis, and learning that is at the heart of good management. Performance measurement is not an end, but a means to an end. Kevin Baum, a long-time consultant and practitioner of performance measurement, wrote in a recent issue of Perform that performance measurement and management “is a dynamic, iterative, sometimes painful process of organizational learning and growth.”

The decision to start the development and implementation of a court performance measurement system (CPMS) is more about changing hearts and minds, and sustaining new directions, than it is about identifying performance measures and buying (or developing) performance measurement software. It is a decision to start a journey, not to start a project, or to explore a plug-and-play solution to a particular problem.

Because they are unambiguous and actionable, performance measures are invaluable to court leaders and managers. They serve both as clear incentives and practical tools for change - I mean not just incremental improvements in programs and services but fundamental changes in the way your court does business.

Start your performance measurement initiative with the attitude that you’re in it for the long-term, that learning and growing as an organization, and changing the court's culture and behavior – the way your court does business -- is at least as important as selecting the right performance measures.

Cpyright CourtMetrics 2005. All rights reserved.

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