This Wednesday, Obama introduced Nancy Killefer as chief performance officer, “who will work with federal agencies to set performance standards and hold agency managers accountable for progress.” Often in government bureaucracies, standards aren’t as high as they would be in a corporation, and managers can skate by with lackluster records.
With this appointment, Obama tries to change that tradition, carrying over a critical concept from the election. In a post-election interview with Portfolio, campaign manager David Plouffe said, “We were an organization about accountability. Down to the entry-level staffer, we measured their job performance based on metrics.” That business-like attention to data played a major role in the ground game’s success. Implementing a similar philosophy in government should pay dividends as well.