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Government Efficiency: CPR for Our New CPO

With the recent confirmation of the first federal Chief Performance Officer (CPO), Jeffrey Zients, a sprig of hope has emerged among the performance management and improvement crowd.

The appointment marks the first time that a seasoned performance improvement leader has been selected to provide structure, vision and real, accountable results. Every administration has had a “what” when it came to improving government performance – for the first time it appears we may now have a “how” as well. The big question then remains – what is Mr. Zients going to do?

While little has been heard from the new CPO since his confirmation, he is in an ideal position to have a direct and immediate impact on government efficiency and waste. Take the stimulus package for example – Mr. Zients can be pivotal in closing the gaps in the execution and delivery of measurable results. However, this will require a shift in thinking from the original intent of the CPO role.

Since its inception, the stimulus program has been crying out for more leadership. Mr. Zients has the opportunity to cross sacred boundaries simply by providing more clarity and communication regarding standardization, validation and recipient eligibility. Beyond that task there are plenty of opportunities for the CPO to achieve measurable outcomes from ARRA by:

-Developing rapid actions to address process gaps and accelerate the flow of funds to the point of impact – in unemployment checks, accelerating projects and creating jobs.
-Adopting best of breed solutions from lean management and simple performance management tools.
-Standardizing reporting criteria to bring clarity about effectiveness and course corrections.
-Rapidly engaging technical resources to aid with transparency.
-Coordinating efforts between federal and state leaders to synchronize end-to-end deployment of funds.
-Bringing resources to bear quickly to help share knowledge and facilitate spread of solutions.

In uncommon times, we need uncommon solutions. Indeed our ability to get things done right as a country has become our hallmark and positioned us as a leader in the world. Now is the time for bold leadership to take bold and courageous action. While the CPO role may have been intended for a more long-term vision and approach, there is no better time and no better circumstances to prove that change has indeed come to Washington.

By Ron Wince, CEO of Guidon Performance Solutions
Post taken from The Ascent Blog: http://blog.guidonps.com

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