Information Exchange
Performance Improvement
Municipal Independence

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Comparing & Sharing Initiative

Back in the 1990s, our Members were urging us to create a program to assist them in improving the performance of their organizations.  That led us to establish our Performance Improvement Program.  [You can read an overview of all 4 current Institute programs here.]  Under that program, we first developed what is now LGPC (the Local Government Performance Checkup).  That initiative is designed to estimate your return on investment in performance improvement by uncovering the potential savings 'hidden' in your budget.  It uses performance comparison to identify the top-performing organizations in each of 11 activities common to virtually all local governments.  The results of those comparisons are then used to calculate the potential savings for each participating organization.  LGPC arms you with information to assist your organization in deciding how much to invest in performance improvement and where to direct that investment to gain the best return.  [You will find the prospectus for LGPC here.]  Next, we introduced what is now C&SI (the Comparing & Sharing Initiative).
What’s It All About?
C&SI offers practical methods for improving the performance of your organization and achieving measurable cost savings in your operations.  It consists of 2 inter-related processes:
The 1st is comparing  – using unit costs and a standard chart of accounts to compare the performance of the participating organizations.
The 2nd is sharing  – creating forums for the participants to share expertise and experience in performing the activities being compared.
Comparison is very effective in identifying opportunities for improvement.  Sharing the results makes it a truly beneficial experience for all who participate.  Top performers benefit by being recognized for their achievements.  Other participants benefit by being able to learn, 1st hand, how to adapt the methods of the top performers to their own organizations.  Given this framework, ...
How Does This Initiative Work?
C&SI builds upon the foundation of the performance comparisons made as part of LGPC.  Since the fast track to performance improvement – and cost savings – is to adapt the methods of the top performers to your organization, this initiative follows that approach.  So, C&SI brings together representatives from each participating organization to share their success stories and to learn how the top performers in each activity achieve their results.  An experienced facilitator then visits your organization to assist you in drawing up an Action Plan for obtaining the results you wish to achieve.  When your Action Plan is adopted, the facilitator will assist you to design a program to monitor your progress.  In subsequent phases of this initiative, the same methodology is applied to other sets of activities performed by your organization.
How Is This Initiative Structured?
The Comparing & Sharing Initiative consists of 4 phases.  Each phase has its own set of objectives which build on the results of the previous phases.
Phase 1: Identifying Opportunities
to bring together a group of peers representating each participating organization;
to analyze the findings of the Local Government Performance Checkup, including the unit costs, the reference points, and the potential savings;
to learn how the top performers in each activity category achieve their results;
to separate the uncontrollable costs of each participating organization from those which are controllable; and
to identify the most promising opportunities for performance improvement – and cost savings – in each participating organization.
Phase 2: Targeting High Returns
to turn the most promising opportunities identified in Phase 1 into targets for each participating organization to achieve;
to develop a preliminary Action Plan for achieving the chosen targets;
to review the preliminary Action Plan with the top performers in each activity category chosen for improvement;
to make any additions or changes to the preliminary Action Plan resulting from the review by the top performers; and
to have elected officials adopt the revised Action Plan for their organization.
Phase 3: Obtaining the Rewards
to develop a program to monitor the progress on implementing each adopted Action Plan;
to initiate, in each participating organization, the improvements targeted in the Action Plan; and
to facilitate the exchange of performance-improvement tips and techniques among the participating organizations.
Phase 4: Extending the Benefits
to apply this methodology to other activities of the participating organizations.
The successful completion of this initiative will reward your organization with significant performance improvements – and cost savings – or with confirmation to your peers and to the public that your organization is performing at high levels of productivity.
Who Is Eligible to Participate?
The Comparing & Sharing Initiative is open to every organization which has completed LGPC (the Local Government Performance Checkup).  To ensure continuity and provide the maximum benefit for all who participate, we recommend that you retain your comparison group from the LGPC initiative.  Individual enrolment in each group is limited to 20 persons from the senior management of those organizations.  The small size of the group will allow more individual attention at the workshops.  The focus on senior management will bring together a group of peers facing many similar issues and will offer plenty of opportunity for valuable networking.
How Do You Know It Will Work for You?
Having completed the LGPC, you have already recognized some possible areas for improving the performance of your organization, identified the top-performing participants in those activity categories, and uncovered some of the potential savings 'hidden' in your budget.  In addition, you have a reading on the return that your investment in performance improvement should yield.  That information should reassure elected officials – and the public – that a commitment to performance improvement will be of real benefit to all stakeholders.
Why Should You Participate?
The next logical step is to begin turning that potential into reality – to begin reaping the rewards of performance improvement.  The Comparing & Sharing Initiative will leverage your investment in LGPC and take you further on the journey to achieving excellence.
What Are Your Commitments?
The cost of Phase 1 is only $1,000 for each person enrolled.  For Phase 2, it is $5,000.  For Phase 3, it is $10,000.  That's a total commitment of just $16,000 per person to realize potential savings of several times that amount.  And, many of those savings will continue year after year while enrolment in C&SI is a 1-time expense.
How Do You Enroll in C&SI?
To enroll, just send us an email with the word 'Enroll' in the subject line.  Be sure to include your name, title, organization, and email address.  If you have the names of the other organizations from your LGPC comparison group that will be enrolling, please provide that information as well.  We look forward to welcoming you to the next level in performance improvement and to the advancement of excellence in local government.
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