Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Last week we spoke about balanced scorecards being used in the public sector to measure performance across agencies and see how it meets the overall strategic vision of a government. The City of Charlotte case, for instance, demonstrated that strategic tools like the balanced scorecard are quite incredible when taking a look at the role of government and how it meets the needs of their “customers” or citizens.

How does the United States federal government determine strategic goals across their massive breadth of agencies? What are goals for each department and how do they measure performance? Believe it or not, the federal government of the United States has an interesting website that outlines each agency’s strategic goals and objectives. Emphasizing the need for establishing measurable goals within and across agencies, Performance.gov gives a snapshot of the government’s BHAGS (Collins and Porras).

Website visitors can search for these goals by goal type, agency, and theme. Here are some of the drop down selections for each of these three filters:

Goal Type: Goals are further bucketed into three different types
  •  Agency Strategic Goals and Objectives
  •  Agency Priority Goals
  • Cross-Agency Priority Goals

Agency: Lists all official federal cabinets and includes other top agencies.

Theme: Viewers can choose topics of interest to them like health, education, housing, etc.

While I found this website to be fascinating because one could find all the publicly listed strategic goals of each agency in the federal government, there is still much work to be done in the conversation of how to measure performance and maintain accountability in the public sector. Do we just consider dollars saved or jobs created as a measurement of performance? How do we measure lost opportunities when kids drop out of the public school system? 

Performance.gov does not answer these questions nor does it contain publicly available balanced scorecards that the government uses to measure these goals. However, it is reassuring to know that they do, indeed, value the importance of BHAGs and are working towards improving strategic performance management. 

--Grace Park

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