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Showing posts from December, 2007

Principles of Effective Court Performance Measurement and Management

The benefits of an effective court performance measurement and management system are the same as those of strategic planning – accountability, consensus building, focus, coordination, control, learning, communication, hope and inspiration. To identify the right performance measures, a court must address the same fundamental questions about guiding ideals, values, mission, goals and broad strategies as it must address in strategic planning.

We count what counts and measure what matters. And what we measure determines what will be considered relevant.

Measurement uses numbers but it is ultimately not about numbers. It is about perception, understanding and insight.[1] It is not the measure itself that is important but rather the questions it compels us to confront.How are we doing?How is the court performing? Where are we now (performance level, baseline)? What is the current performance level compared to established upper and lower “controls” (e.g., performance targets, objectives, bench…

Playing “Gotcha” with Performance Measurement Data

For court performance measurement initiatives to succeed they must marry proven methods of assessments of the health of a court with a disciplined process for improving it. This may have to be a shotgun marriage. Without it – even in the very early stages of development -- the initiatives will fall prey to the “gotcha” game and be used to undermine the effort and to discredit it proponents.

The Gotcha Game

In this political season, we are all familiar with the ploy in which one candidate (or the media) seeks to catch another in a misstep or flub -- no matter how untruthful or inconsequential the accusation might be. The whole point is to discredit, place blame, embarrass, or otherwise put things in the worst possible light. When this “gotcha” game is played with measurement data it can have disastrous effects on court performance initiatives.

For example, relatively straightforward efforts to monitor, analyze, and assess court citizen encounter using a survey such as that for Measure 1, …

Court Intelligence -- A Matter of Survival

“What if I were to tell you,” IBM’s Dean R. Spitzer asks in the first sentence of his 2007 book, Transforming Performance Measurement – Rethinking the Way We Measure and Drive Organizational Success (New York: American Management Association), “that one of the most important keys to your organization’s success can be found in a very unlikely place – a place many of you may consider to be complicated, inaccessible, and perhaps even boring? … The key to success is MEASUREMENT,” he tells us (emphasis in the original).

Effective performance measurement and management can transform your organization, writes Spitzer. It shows you where you are and gets your organization where it wants to be.

I, of course, agree with Spitzer. But I would go even further.

Performance Measurement No Longer Optional

How is your court or court system performing in meeting its fundamental obligations to those it serves -- access to justice, fairness and equality, efficiency and effectiveness, professionalism, honesty…