ClearPoint Community: Texas Regional Meeting

Last week, the ClearPoint Team headed over to Fort Worth, TX to hold the first ClearPoint Community Regional Meeting of 2020. 

Joseph, Director of Customer Success at ClearPoint, has over 10 years of experience working with customers to create efficient performance management and strategy execution processes.

Last week, the ClearPoint Team traveled to the City of Fort Worth, Texas, for customer training, a super fun ELGL Fort Worth Supper Club, and our ClearPoint Community Regional meeting. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with our ClearPoint clients and fellow ELGLers who share a mutual passion for all things local government.

One of the richest parts of hosting regional gatherings across the U.S. and Canada with our ClearPoint network is the opportunity to share—best practices, successes, and even challenges around strategy and performance management—and the Texas regional meeting was no exception. We captured the robust discussion among our ClearPoint clients, the City of Fort Worth, the City of Sugar Land, and Austin Resource Recovery.  Here are a few key takeaways centered around establishing a culture designed to achieve results.

It’s all about relationships, so find your champions!

Relationships matter and finding champions who can help move the needle is important. This is applicable at all levels of an organization, including leadership, and can make or break forward progress. The City of Fort Worth has created a performance structure built to drive success.

The City has two performance liaisons for each of its 25 or so departments. Under the guidance of the performance administrator and working with the performance analyst, their responsibilities are to not only look at the performance system, but also to understand trends and communicate with the over 200 data owners across the City. Having the right individuals in the liaison role—those who can work across departments while communicating the bigger picture of how all the moving parts fit into a greater cause—is paramount. It’s also no easy feat. With training and networking opportunities for team support, the team is moving in the right direction.

“Red” metrics show opportunity, so change your messaging

In 2016, Austin Resource Recovery (ARR), a division of the City of Austin, transitioned from an archaic database to ClearPoint so they could leverage the tool’s customization, user access, and dashboard capabilities. In doing so, they discovered they had tons of measures that counted “widgets,” or inputs and outputs of their processes. These measures weren’t relevant strategically, so they changed their approach, choosing instead to focus on measuring the things that really mattered—outcomes.

With the streamlined approached, it was important to shift their messaging to team members. In order to accomplish department goals and create a more cohesive environment, ARR established a process where individuals could openly discuss the challenges they face with meeting their goals or targets. They’ve created a “safe place” where department members talk about their pain points, where they are underperforming, and where they can use help. The new process is in place for areas where performance is 5% above or below target.  Their messaging has shifted so that “red”, or below target results, signal areas for opportunity and improvement rather than failure.

The City of Sugar Land took a similar approach with messaging and emphasized that it can take a while for a team to truly buy in to this shift in the meaning of “red”. The key is to help team members know that these open discussions enable organizations to better understand what adjustments need to be made or how to better allocate budgets. The “angry, red down arrow” should be seen as an opportunity for growth. This shift in messaging across an organization can have a powerful effect on overall progress, results and team morale.

Transform your approach and celebrate incremental success

As all three organizations discussed, many data reviewers get stuck on a KPI’s performance during a single snapshot in time, and forget that it’s the trend over time that really counts. This is why it’s important to change the messaging around “red” results and instead focus on overall improvement.  Transforming your approach could provide opportunities to celebrate incremental success.  Here are a few examples of how to view KPIs in a more constructive way:

  • Measure KPIs in a range, not as an absolute number
  • Use incremental targets to celebrate progress made toward longer-term goals
  • Don’t assign a KPI to one person; it’s a team effort
  • Only select 5-9 KPIs that are most relevant to moving the needle toward the strategic objectives

The three organizations also discussed the possibility of instituting a “most improved” award to celebrate the huge strides different departments or teams have made by seizing the opportunity of “red” and making a sustained effort to improve performance to get back to green.

The ClearPoint Texas regional meeting was a wonderful opportunity for our clients to come together and brainstorm improvements to their current processes. We can’t wait to see what all they’ll accomplish in 2020 and beyond.

Interested in joining the ClearPoint Community?

We’d love to have you! Check out our upcoming events to find one near you.

ClearPoint Community: Texas Regional Meeting