Local school and government leaders gather to discuss sharing services to improve performance
Can we work smarter together? That was the question on people’s minds at a forum last week sponsored by Fordham, the Nord Family Foundation, Ohio Grantmakers Forum, ESC of Central Ohio, Ohio Education Matters, and Public Performance Partners. The event, Working Smarter Together: Enhancing savings and performance for local schools and governments, featured several keynote speakers (including Auditor of State Dave Yost), and a panel discussion about real-world examples of efficiency and cooperation in local government.
C. Jack Grayson, founder and chairman of the American Productivity and Quality Center, kicked off the event with a discussion about the need to increase efficiency and productivity in the public sector, and especially in education. Grayson stressed that local governments and school systems must think differently when it comes to operating more efficiently. Grayson argued that the commonly used across the-board cuts hurt both efficiency and effectiveness, and more times than not lacks a thoughtful process as to who to cut and why, resulting in a loss of talented people and critical organizational knowledge. Instead, Grayson advocated for the need to focus more on process and performance management (PPM). "You cannot improve results by looking at results. You have to look at processes," Grayson said. "Whether you are the CEO or the custodian who cleans the toilet, you have a process, and you can improve it."
Grayson said that everything involves a process and in order to improve outcomes we must evaluate the entire organizational process from the beginning to the end. He also discussed the need to reduce functional silos and the tremendous amount of waste associated with compartmentalization. He noted that most educational organizations are organized functionally with different silos focusing solely on individual task such as HR, instruction, and IT. Downsides of functional silos include redundancy, focusing more on improving the function rather than meeting the needs of the customer, which in turn produce large amounts of waste.
Grayson’s presentation was followed by a panel on increasing efficiency and cooperation across local government that included Bart Anderson (ESC of Central Ohio), Barbara Gellman-Danley (University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College), and John Weithofer (Miami Valley Communications Council). These panelists, moderated by Public Performance Partners founder Hugh Quill, discussed the need to share services more now than ever before, and the challenges that sometimes lie in the way of doing so- such as political tension and legal barriers. Each panelist brought a unique and different perspective to the table.
To find out more about this important and timely issue and view footage from the event click here.
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