Is Great Customer Service Possible in Government? (part 6 & 7)

How does Southwest Airlines keep such an amazing culture? According to Jose Luis Romero’s article, it’s the engagement of their people and they accomplish this with 7 keys.  You can look through the earlier posts to see keys like Strong Set of Values, Employees Come First, Rewards & Recognition, Mission, or Hiring.

Today, we’ll be talking about the last two keys: Distributed Leadership and Performance Management.

Distributed Leadership – SWA’s idea is that leadership happens everywhere – not just the top levels – and to prove its importance, senior officials spend tons of resources investing in front-line managers.

In the government? It depends. Some leaders make time and money available for leadership development, some do not. Usually, in my experience, the areas with the higher average annual incomes are more willing to spend tax dollars to develop their public servants. Why?

Is it because they have more money to spend? Is it because they are  typically more educated themselves and understand the value of leadership development? Is it a racial divide? Economics?

What about you? Are you willing to spend tax money to get better employees in your government?

Performance Measurement SWA prides itself on the transparency of its performance measurement criteria. According to Romero, they measure the following:

    • Employee well-being
    • Customer satisfaction
    • Shareholder gain

All of these are then tailored to each employee and how they impact the overall goals.

In the government?

I have to say this one is all over the place. While some swear you can’t tie performance to pay, others are doing it. Certainly, that’s not without risk, however, since under-performers will sue at the drop of a hat and claim it’s unfair because they’re “_____” (fill in the blank).

The key missing piece, I believe, is the line Romero gives us when he says:

“SWA emphasizes a rigorous tracking and rewarding of individual performance, coupled with clear, immediate and straight feedback.”

What do you think?

Is it pay for performance? If so, how would you implement a PFP plan in the government?

Is it bigger than that? How can we make our government more efficient? Let’s throw out some specific ideas and come up with a solution!

Is great customer service possible in the government?

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