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Showing posts from August, 2006

An Organizational Magnifying Glass

Wayne W. Eckerson, the director of research at the Data Warehouse Institute and author of Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring and Managing Your Business (Wiley, 2006), tells the story of seeing his 11 year old son, Harry, and his friend, Jake, kneeling side by side in his driveway. As he walked over to inspect, he saw a puff of smoke come up between them. They each had a magnifying glass and were using it to set fire to dried grass and a few unfortunate ants who had wandered into their makeshift science experiment. In this boyhood rite of passage, Harry and Jake learned an important lesson that escapes the attention of many court managers: the power of focus.

Light normally radiates and diffuses all over the place, bouncing off objects on the earth surface. The boys discovered that if they focused the sun’s rays into a single point, they could generate enough energy to burn just about anything and keep themselves entertained for hours.

By the time they grow up, and maybe run a…

Step 5 – Developing Data Collection and Delivery Timeframes

This is the tenth part of a multi-part series exploring theSix-Step Process for Building an Effective Court Performance Measurement System (CPMS)first summarized in Made2Measure (M2M) in October 2005. See below for a listing of the parts in this series to date.

A CPMS from Paper to Reality

The first four steps of the design process aim at getting the right performance measures identified, designed, developed and tested. The result is verified methods – blueprints for the measures of a court performance measurement system (CPMS). The CPMS has no reality yet, except on paper. Step 5 and Step 6, which are closely related, ensure that the measures get to the right people, at the right time and in the right way. They are the steps that take the CPMS to reality.

In first approaching these last two steps, CPMS design teams often come to the realization, “Hey, we’re really going to do this! We’re actually building a system of regular and continuous collection, analysis, synthesis, delivery …

Friendships in the Workplace Good for Court Performance

People who have a best friend at work are seven times (yes, that’s seven times) more likely to be engaged and committed to their jobs, writes Tom Rath in his new book Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without (Gallup Press, 2006). They get more done in less time, are more innovative, and more likely to share new ideas. Moreover, employee satisfaction jumps by 50% and doubles the chance that employees will have favorable impressions about their pay when they have close friendships. “When we asked people if they would rather have a best friend at work or a 10% pay raise, having a friend clearly won,” writes Rath, who heads the Gallup’s Organization’s Workplace Research and Leadership practice, and based his findings on more than five million interviews and other research done by Gallup.

The lesson for courts and court organizations is that they should make their workplaces more “friend-friendly.” However, Gallup found that many managers and leaders frown on workplace …

Step 4 – Testing, Demonstrating and Developing Measures

This is the ninth posting in a multi-part series exploring the Six-Step Process for Building an Effective Court Performance Measurement System (CPMS)first summarized in Made2Measure (M2M) in October 2005. See below for a listing of the parts in this series to date.
We learn something by doing it. There is no other way.John Holt

Once steps have been taken to identify and define the desired performance measures (Steps 1 and 2), and to construct hierarchical relationships among them (Step 3), simply issuing an edict to "go forth and measure" is likely to invite failure. It is one thing to identify and define performance measures, and quite another to demonstrate that an organization can actually take the measures given its current operating structures, information and management systems and processes.

Court staff should be provided with detailed instructions, adequate resources, as well as encouragement, to test or demonstrate the designed measures. Procedures for planning and pre…