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LIHEAP Tools Managing for Results Primer

Published: June 1, 1999
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Tools

Managing-for-results is planning for and measuring the results of operations and striving to produce improved services and benefits for people. There is no single design for a managing-for-results process. However, there is general agreement that such a process should include certain key elements or steps. Specifically:

· Step 1 - Deciding what measurable results you are trying to achieve,
· Step 2 - Identifying specific measures to track and assess progress,
· Step 3 - Collecting and analyzing data,
· Step 4 - Using findings to improve program performance, and
· Step 5 - Constantly improving the process itself.

Given these elements, where is the mystery? These are activities that many of you already perform to varying degrees. However, although these appear to be simple steps, it takes discipline and hard work to carry out each well. Also, what may be lacking in many current situations includes: 1) tying these elements together in a comprehensive process, 2) ensuring that the focus is primarily on results for clients, and/or 3) making full use of results to improve performance.

To be successful, you need to address the steps of the process in the order listed above and need to be as specific as possible at each stage. Fuzzy thinking in determining what you are tying to achieve will lead to difficulty in identifying appropriate measures which in turn will complicate data collection, analysis and taking corrective actions.

As a process matures, you should ensure there are feedback loops among the steps (e.g., you will need to revise your stated measurable results as they are achieved; an ability to collect new or different data may change the measures you use to report progress).