The government is really good at creating projects, unfortunately, that’s the easy part. The real challenge for any organization is the managing, monitoring and refinement of the projects. Good management teams propose comprehensive plans for programs to help meet the objectives of a strategy that supports a mission. Along with the proposed idea they also include tactical plans for implementation and most importantly, measurements for determining if the program is successful or not and results-based adjustment plans. They also predetermine when to pull the plug if necessary.
If a well-run company were to continually add new resource-absorbing programs without carefully monitoring the results and pruning where necessary, they would soon loose their competitive advantage, their profitability, and eventually their company. The unmanaged programs require overhead to run and maintain. These programs fail their metrics and add more and more bureaucratic layers to the organization.
A company that spends its advertising dollars without measuring the effectiveness of the investment is doomed to fail. One thing all experienced managers can agree on is that no plan is ever executed to perfection as originally defined. Course corrections are always needed. Pilots are always making course corrections. A small misdirection of one degree in the beginning of a flight can lead to missing the destination by hundreds of miles.
When the mission, strategies, and objectives are clearly and effectively communicated to all involved parties, individuals can take proactive steps to ensuring successful programs. When mandates are dictated from the top without holistic involvement, no one executing the plan knows enough to really make any intelligent decisions – they just blindly follow orders.
Government rarely cuts back on anything; instead they continually grow and grow and grow. Serious housecleaning is needed to re-examine the true effectiveness of the programs. To do this, the mission must be understood and communicated. Our nation has a mission statement pronounced in the U.S. Constitution. We should have various strategies for fulfilling this mission. Each strategy has multiple objectives and corresponding programs to accomplish the strategy.
With this background we can take a fresh look at the effectiveness of all government programs. The government budget would be reduced to a small fraction if the right leaders were in place to carefully manage the sacred resources of our country. Carefully defined metrics help establish the true goals of a program, and they enforce legislative accountability.
No new bill should be introduced into Congress without a well-defined metric system to determine its effectiveness and corresponding action plan. All bills should have built in re-evaluation milestones with required benchmarks for continuation.
Too many resources are spent on creating new programs when the existing programs are broken. It’s time to fix these programs or pull the plug if necessary before any new programs are introduced. This would keep Congress busy for a long, long time.