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How is ‘Government Performance’ like ‘Military Intelligence’?


March 2, 2016

“Military intelligence”, “business ethics”, and “government performance” – the joke goes, are oxymorons. There’s also a narrative governments should operate like businesses in order to improve performance. That’s simplistic thinking. Businesses have a bottom line – “profit and loss.” And, businesses have far fewer “lines of business” than governments. And, governments can’t fire bad customers.

Despite how clear a bottom line, many businesses go out of business. As Ray Wang of Constellation Research states: “Since 2000, 52% of the companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired, ceased to exist, or dropped out of the Fortune 500.”

Corporate Performance Management is Hard, Government Performance Management is Harder

Managing performance in government is far more difficult than in the private sector. Governments need to measure outcomes – far more difficult than outputs. Much more difficult than profitability.

That’s why planning and government performance management are key topics in the upcoming FreeBalance International Steering Committee conference next week. That’s because governments recognize improved performance of public finances and human resources is critical to country results.  Performance subjects to be discussed at FISC 2016 include:

  • Embedding performance objectives in budget plans
  • Adjusting budget classifications to track results better
  • Planning processes beyond economics to address governance, social, technology and environmental realities
  • Tight integration of risk, policy, and budgeting processes
  • Use of technology to encourage “participatory budgeting”
  • Good practices in public investment planning
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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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