Andrew Olsen Balanced Scorecard: Congressional District OfficeUniversity of Maryland University College
2 Table of Contents:Executive Summary…………………………………………………………… 3-4Introduction………………………………………………………………………. 5Overview of a Congressional District Office………………………………….. 6-7BSC Performance Measurement & Strategic Management System………… 7Creating a BSC……..…………………………………………………………… 7-8Governmental BSC………………………….………………………………….. 8-9Brooklyn District Office BSC..…………………………………………………. 9-19 Customer Perspective….………………………………………………. 10-12 Financial Perspective …………………………………………………. 13-14 Internal Perspective ………………………………………………….. 14-17 Innovation & Learning Perspective…………………………………… 17-19District Office Strategic Mission….…………………………………………… 19-20Conclusion……………………………………………………………………… 20References……………………………………………………………………… 21-22
3 Executive Summary I am currently employed for Congressman Vito Fossella as a constituent liaison inhis Brooklyn District office. The fact that his district covers two boroughs that isconnected by a bridge, posses an especially challenging strategic situation. How do wemake sure that the Congressman spends enough time between the two boroughs, whilealso being represented appropriately within the district, particularly when he has a priorcommitment? The Congressman and his staff are a service-based governmental organization. Amajority of the services we provide are Federal in nature, but we also deal with numerousnonfederal issues because we want to give our constituents the best possible service.Community outreach is very important and utterly necessary that we both play an activerole in the community. The BSC is a performance measurement and strategic management system thattranslates an organizations mission and strategy into a balanced set of integratedperformance measures. It allows an organization to monitor its current and efforts toimprove processes, motivate and educate employees, and enhance its ability to learn andimprove. When creating a BSC, it is imperative that senior staffers review theorganization’s vision, mission, values, goals, strategies and annual objectives in order toidentify their strategic success factors. The key is to identify objectives that will maintaina strategic focus the office can understand and follow. Government offices exist not to make a profit, but to accomplish a mission, whichis placed at the top of the BSC framework. When developing a BSC for a governmentaloffice the customer perspective is the most important because it captures the ability of the
4organization to provide quality and effective delivery of services, and overall customersatisfaction. In government, financial considerations have a constraining role, but willrarely be the primary objective. The final two perspectives represent and assess thegovernment’s ability to continually complete its mission. The services we provide our constituents are extremely important and absolutelyessential functions of congressional offices. It is imperative that we work closely with allthese stakeholders and provide them with access to the office so we can all address theirconcerns and remain aware of the issues affecting the district. When interacting withstakeholders it is imperative to have a clear line of communication so everyone knowswhere they stand. Our office should give specific attention to the financial segment of theBSC to ensure they we are maintaining and advancing goals and will focus our internalefforts by providing the best possible constituent services for the betterment of theconstituents and the district as a whole. Communication is important when dealing withour stakeholders so we are aware of the issues affecting our district. Every aspect ofconstituent services and all our stakeholders must be considered and prioritized whenevaluating our service system. The key to the success of any project is the relationshipsthat form within the office and with the stakeholders. Any BSC no matter how perfectlydeveloped will fail unless proper, leadership, communication, efficiency and effectivedecision making is in place. With a hard-working staff, an effective management team and the right set ofperformance measures in place, we have built a performance driven office and have seenproject initiatives that continue to bring improvement to the process. Working togetherwith our stakeholders, we will continue to meet our goals.
5 Introduction: I am currently employed for Congressman Vito Fossella as a constituent liaison inhis Brooklyn District office. His district encompasses all of Staten Island (S.I.) and theSouthern section of Brooklyn and is connected by the Narrows Verrazzano Bridge (V.Z.).The fact that his district covers two boroughs that is connected by a bridge, posses anespecially challenging strategic situation. How do we make sure that the Congressmanspends enough time between the two boroughs, while also being representedappropriately within the district, particularly when he has a prior commitment? The reason this is so important because S.I. represents almost three fourths of thedistrict with about 441,000 residents, while the Brooklyn side of the district has roughly175,000 residents. Since S.I. is the significantly larger part of the district and theCongressman was born and raised there, S.I. tends to get the most attention, thus leavingBrooklyn with the “little brother complex,” as the forgotten or overlooked section of thedistrict. This sentiment was brewing for several years. It was so deep-rooted that it evenwent back to the prior Congresswoman. No matter how much we in his Brooklyn officestressed how strong this opinion was and the importance that something needed to bedone, nothing ever happened. This opinion continued to gain strength until finally in the2004 election, he lost the Brooklyn side of district for the first time in his seven-yearcongressional career. Now there is a new fervor for Brooklyn and rightfully so, especially if he wants tocontinue as the Representative of the 13 th Congressional District. However, it is myintention to elaborate how this could have been and will continue to be avoided byincorporating the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) strategic management system.
6 Overview of a Congressional District Office: The Congressman and his staff are a service-based governmental organization.Constituents are not charged for the services we provide. However, they do pay for theseservices, as taxpayers. Federal budgets are funded by tax dollars through yearlyappropriations and this is also true of a House member’s office budget. A majority of the services we provide are Federal in nature, but we also deal withnumerous nonfederal issues because we want to give our constituents the best possibleservice without giving them that run around feeling. Congressional offices are anintermediary between their constituents and whatever the specific issue the constituentmay have. Currently in the Brooklyn office, we handle all constituent issues related tothe Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.), the Department of State (D.O.S.) andany local issue related to the Brooklyn side of the district. We are the Congressman’srepresentatives and it is our job and it should be our goal to provide the best servicepossible to best meet the needs of the constituency. Then there is the all important community outreach. Whether it is theCongressman or an office representative, it is very important and utterly necessary thatthey both play an active role in the community. This is especially important for the officestaff, since the Member can spend most of the week in D.C. while Congress is in session. To perform these services the Congressman is greatly dependent on the quality ofhis staff. However, the problem we face is that congressional offices are limited by lawto a specific number of staffers. According to 2 U.S.C. § 92, we may employ 18permanent employees and 4 additional employees, such as part-time employees(Members Congressional Handbook: Staff, 2005). It is up to Chief of Staff to decide
7how to allocate the office staff appropriately so to best serve the congressional district.Depending on the needs of the district, the staff can be spread thin. All these issues willbe further elaborated on in BSC section of the paper. BSC Performance Measurement & Strategic Management System: BSC focuses on strategy and vision, not on control. It is a performancemeasurement and strategic management system that translates an organizations missionand strategy into a balanced set of integrated performance measures (Ho & McKay,2002). These measures are grounded in an organizations strategic objectives andcompetitive demands and, by requiring managers to select a limited number of criticalindicators within each of the four perspectives (Financial, Internal Business, Customer,and Learning and Growth), helps focus this strategic vision (Kaplan & Norton, 1993).Performance measures provide a concise yet complete picture of an organizationsprogress toward its mission and goal (Ho & McKay, 2002). Through the BSC, anorganization monitors both its current and its efforts to improve processes, motivate andeducate employees, and enhance its ability to learn and improve. Creating a BSC: When creating a BSC, it is imperative that senior staffers review theorganization’s vision, mission, values, goals, strategies and annual objectives in order toidentify their strategic success factors (Kaplan & Norton, 1996). They have the mostcomprehensive view of the organization and their support is necessary for acceptancewithin the organization. Most importantly, the senior staff must establish a clearunderstanding of the organization’s objectives so it can be clearly communicated to every
8employee. The key is to identify objectives that will maintain a strategic focus the officecan understand and follow. The BSC can be customized, but it must have unity and purpose. Senior staffmust determine the key performance indicators and targets for the organization andestablish some initiatives in order to determine how the business will meet these targets.The performance indicators can be influenced directly by everyone in the organization,thereby encouraging changes in behavior and activities to achieve its strategies. Theseindicators are staff development, internal efficiency, customer satisfaction, and long-termfinancial performance (Oliveira, 2001). Indicators are maintained to measure anorganization’s progress toward achieving its vision; other indicators are maintained tomeasure the long-term drivers of success. Basically, managers are able to monitor andadjust the implementation of their strategy, and to make fundamental changes in thestrategy itself (Kaplan & Norton, 1996). Governmental BSC: Government offices exist not to make a profit, but to accomplish a mission, whichis placed at the top of the BSC framework. Strategy will always be key to achieving thatmission, which is base on their customers, not financial stakeholders. The strategicplanning process begins by determining the governments primary objectives, which arerelated to its stakeholders and then the secondary objectives, which reflect the choicesthat will be used to pursue the primary objectives, are then established (Chan,2002/2003). When developing a BSC for a governmental office the customer perspective is themost important because it captures the ability of the organization to provide quality and
9effective delivery of services, and overall customer satisfaction. Recognizing that budgetsare limiting factors, governmental offices should have a greater stewardshipresponsibility and focus than do private sector entities. In government, financial considerations have a constraining role, but will rarelybe the primary objective. Success for such organizations should be measured by howeffectively and efficiently these organizations meet the needs of their constituencies andeven their ability to control costs and manage their budget. Government offices have tofocus their limited resources on specific objectives and constituents (Chan, 2004). Thefinancial perspective is a resource needed to attain objectives not usually related to profit(Eagle, Cooke, & Rossi, 2004). The internal business perspective can encourage the government to change andimprove the way it delivered services, especially by forming partnerships withincommunities and improving productivity. While the learning and growth perspectives candetermine whether the government is maintaining employee training and skills so that itcould continually improve. Basically, these final two perspectives represent and assessthe government’s ability to continually complete its mission. These four perspectiveswill be evaluated in the next few sections. Brooklyn District Office BSC: The different perspectives incorporated in the BSC assist the senior staff to focusmore on long-term objectives. Monitoring performance and learning from the results, inthe customer, internal process, employee learning and growth, and financial perspectiveswill provide you with the direction for planning short-term objectives important forachieving the overall strategy, as well as a check on how the organization is doing in
10fulfilling those objectives and guide us ever closer to achievement of the mission (Lang,2004). However, due to the nature of politics, specifically for a Congressman, long-termobjectives consist of two-year increments. For that reason, the short-term objectives mayplay a more prominent role and the objectives may be more general. Customer Perspective Objectives Measures Targets InitiativesContinuously Electoral Margin Strong Electoral Base Quality Staff &Improving Constituent Service LeadershipService Inquiry Acknowledge inquiry acknowledgement within the first 2-4 Equipment & days; Send out inquiry Service Excellence within the first 7-10 Constituent days. Convenient Methods Satisfaction of Contact 70-90% Satisfaction of all those who contact the officeEstablish partnerships Task Forces & Evaluate & Prioritize Establishing Taskwithin the community Committees the Community issues Forces & & Establish Whatever Committees to the Internships Necessary Task Forces Appropriate & Committees Community Issues Congressional ProgramsImproved Constituent Community Attend 80-100% of all Meeting with& Community Support community meetings. various communityOutreach Making sure the groups Marketing the Congressman attends Congressman the important meetings Constituent Surveys Numerous Programs Congressional Sponsored by the Programs Congressman Making the Community Aware of the Congressman’s Achievements that benefit the District
11Customer – The services we provide our constituents are an extremely important and anabsolutely essential function of congressional offices. Often Members reputations amongtheir constituency are based on their ability to help individual constituents with all sortsof more or less personal problems with the government. Constituent services involvecasework where an office staffer acts as an intermediary between the constituents andwhatever specific issue the constituent may have. Casework is crucial because itaddresses the real needs of our constituents and helps reduce the frustration they feeltowards what can appear to be a massive, impersonal government. It is greatly important to be able to prioritize the importance of each issue, whichshould be ranked in order of urgency to the importance of the stakeholder. We attempt tohandle whatever issue is brought to out attention because if we do not do it, someone elsewill and that person may become a future threat and individuals have a tendency toremember when they were not helped. This is why it is absolutely necessary to prioritizethe importance of all issues so as not to overextend our staff and then be able to referthose other issues to political allies. Strategic planning plays an essential role here. Constituent services also include community outreach where the representativeand his staff play an active role in the district. Community boards, religious andcommunity groups, boards of trade and other business interests, civic and merchantassociations, schools, hospitals, to name a few, all have a direct interest in therepresentative and want something from him. It is imperative that we work closely withall these stakeholders and provide them with access to the office so we can address theirconcerns and remain aware of the issues affecting the district. This is why we are havingregular meetings, briefings or just talking with stakeholders and spending a significant
12amount of time attending receptions. It also provides us with a framework for findingcommon ground between any differences and what issues they hope to solve. This isanother way we increase the representative’s exposure and our accessibility while helpingthe representative to avoid the label or stigma as being “unapproachable.” These two roles are dependent on each other. The one cannot go without theother. No matter how effective we are in handling constituent casework, if we are notactive in the district itself, it will not make much difference to our stakeholders and viseversa. This is especially true to our electoral base, which are our most importantstakeholders. When interacting with stakeholders it is imperative to have a clear line ofcommunication so everyone knows where they stand. It is essential to be open andhonest with your stakeholders. Never make vague promises or those that they cannotkeep for a short-term gain because it will negatively affect the Congressman and hisability to perform over the long run. Most importantly, when conducting communityoutreach, it is necessary to be continuously active in the community all year long and notjust around election time. Stakeholders are not foolish individuals and will realize thatthe representative is just taking advantage of them for quick pre-election exposure. Allthis becomes imperative, since the Congressman is up for election every two years.
13 Financial Perspective Objectives Measures Targets InitiativesDeliver Maximum value Controlling costs Closely Evaluate all Comparativeto the Constituency purchases Shopping Maximize Productivity Increase Response Newsletter Time to Constituent Inquiries. Maximize use of Email & our Utilize Interns Website Purchase Products that Increase the Efficiency of the OfficeBudget Management Allocate Funds Use Funds to Make Monitored Budget According to Need the Community Management and Importance Aware of the Congressman’s Quarterly Review Cost to Spend Ratios Achievements that benefit the District Utilize Free Press Releases & Communicate the Community status of the Budget Meetings to Promote to Office Manager CongressmanCost efficiency Maximize cost Purchase only Cost Quarterly Review savings Effective Products Targeted Cost Value Purchasing Strategic Purchases Containment Maximize Value at least CostFinancial – No organization can successfully operate and meet customer requirementswithout financial resources. If there is not a good measure of overall cost, the financialperspective might be omitted from the measurement system, but then heavy attentionshould be given to finding other more micro-cost-related measures in the otherperspectives, especially internal business processes and technology (Thor, 2003). In thiscase, even though we are constraint by a federal budget, we where able to develop somekey measures. Our office should give specific attention to the financial segment of the
14BSC to ensure they we are maintaining and advancing goals. We will also monitor costefficiency and budget management on a regular basis and evaluate and communicatethem throughout the office. The Congressman has a Members’ Representational Allowance (M.R.A.) of about$1.2 million dollars to run his entire office (Conrad, 2005), which pays employeesalaries, and numerous expenses, such as: official & representational, district office,communication, and franked mail to name a few. The MRA does not role over to thefollowing year so there are really no incentives to be cost effective, except that of publicopinion. There are many that feel that there is not enough oversight to these allowancesgiven to the Congressperson. It is viewed as more government waste. In the end it is theconstituents that provide the money for these MRAs, so they do have a right to beconcerned and question how and where are their tax dollars going, especially if it goes toan elected official. If we can show our constituency that we are cost efficient and strictlyadhere to a budget, it could go a long to improving our electoral base. In addition, as afiscal conservative, what better way to lead by example than to manage our budgetefficiently and show that we are good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. Our goal everyyear should be to finish in the black and when the Congressman returns the remainingMRA balance to the Treasury Department, it will make for a nice press release. This iswhy it is very important to pay careful attention to the various details of the financialside. Internal Perspective Objectives Measures Targets Initiatives
15Provide Highest Electoral Margin Strong Electoral Base Quality & ServiceQuality Service Leadership Constituent 70-90% Satisfaction of Satisfaction all those who contact Constituent Outreach the office ProgramsEstablish Task Forces & Evaluate & Prioritize Establishing Task Forcespartnerships Committees the Community issues & Committees to thewithin the & Establish Whatever Appropriate Communitycommunity Internships Necessary Task Forces Issues & Committees Congressional ProgramsImprove Backlog of work Acknowledge inquiry Communication & ITproductivity within the 2-4 days; proficiency & Labor productivity Send out inquiry within management the 7-10 days. Equipment Strategic Review downtimeIdentify & Stakeholder Know the constituents Strategic ReviewEvaluate our Background & what issues areStakeholders driving your district Prioritize StakeholdersInternal – Our office will be focusing our internal efforts by providing the best possibleconstituent services for the betterment of the constituents and the district as a whole.However, it is also about getting the Member reelected and in turn keeping your job. Wemust determine how to optimize our office in order to enhance our constituent services.This is the goal and it must be continuously evaluated on a regular basis in order todetermine if we are meeting the needs of our constituents. It is also used to make certainthat office attitudes do not become lax. This is something offices are susceptible to whenworking for an incumbent. Another important process in our attempt to exceed our constituents’ expectationsis to identify and evaluate all stakeholders that may affect the Congressman and hisoffice. This is first accomplished by identifying all of the constituent/community groups,business organizations/interests, other governmental offices and officials, and individualconstituents who will require our attention. All stakeholders are important, but it is
16important to evaluate each stakeholder and prioritize their relative importance. This isnecessary because constituent services are tough work. There is an unyielding demandon our time and only so much can be accomplished at one time. There are times you canlisten to people talk about their issues for two or three hours at a time and those are long,hard, draining hours, which take away from other necessary and important office work. We need to be approachable. However, we need to have control and organizationover how we run the office and handle our stakeholders. By prioritizing stakeholders, wecan structure a plan where we can best serve our stakeholders. From there we can assesshow well we are meeting all of our stakeholders expectations while in turn developstrategies to better meet the needs and expectations of our stakeholders. This too isanother important aspect of strategic planning. Simply put, we need to understand whatour stakeholders expect from us and making sure that we meet those expectations andhopefully exceed them. Communication is important when dealing with our stakeholders so we are awareof the issues affecting our district. That can only occur with the free exchange ofinformation. We need to continually work to build social and business relationships withour team and stakeholders as a way to lessen any communication barriers surroundingdistrict issues. This too will be further elaborated on in the coming sections. However,building social and business relationships is used to understand what issues are ofimportance to our stakeholders. This also allows us to discover what issues affect ourstakeholders and find common ground between any differences. Two years is not muchtime to work with and it is very easy to lose your electoral base. This is why our office
17must be as efficient and effective as possible in order to exceed our constituents’expectations. Innovation & Learning Perspective Objectives Measures Targets InitiativesQuality & State of the Availability of Continue to Work Closely with ITart IT computer equipment Upgrade IT when support staff with needed software necessary & connections IT Competence & Awareness Utilization of key ITEmployee Satisfaction Satisfaction surveys Consistent Quality Employee Feedback & Coverage at all Review Employee retention Levels Shared Responsibilities / Office Climate Leadership RoleImproved Office Overall Employee Embraced Office Evaluation & StrategyCommunication Strategy Knowledge Strategy Meetings Office ClimateEmployee competencies Employee skills Training / Review Support AssistanceLearning & Growth - Every aspect of constituent services and all our stakeholders mustbe considered and prioritized when evaluating our service system. In our office we crosssomewhere between the self-service approach and the personal-attention approach. Ourservice-system matrix varies from low contact through mail/email to high contact, suchas face-to-face meeting. It is inevitable that we will have to meet face-to-face withconstituents on a regular basis, but due to the extreme volume of casework we try todirect constituents to make use all information systems available. However, since werepresent the Congressman, we must remain as accessible as possible. Nevertheless,production efficiency greatly decreases when there is higher contact with constituents.The lower the contact, such as through mail/email, fax, and Internet, the more efficiently
18the system is allowed to function, since the constituent is unable to significantly affect ordisrupt the system. This gives us some control in how to best serve our stakeholders bypossibly easing some of our workload while preventing our staff from being taxed. IT isimproving productivity so it is important to take advantage of new technology to increasecustomer or in this case constituent satisfaction. Leadership is also a critical element marking successful organizations. Leadershipdoes not stop at the top, but should cascade throughout an organization, creatingchampions and a team approach to achievement of mission. BSC success often dependson the presence of a leader(s) who is committed to the projects success (Lang, 2004) andresponsible for determining how to measure progress toward meeting the strategy;collecting, measuring, and reporting data related to the strategy; and recommendingtargets for each year. As previously mentioned, we are limited to no more than 18 permanent staffersand four temporary staffers. It is up to the Chief of Staff to decide how that staff is to beapportioned to best serve the district and depending on the needs of the district, the staffcan be spread thin. We must be able work around our limits to best serve ourconstituents. It is key to be able to optimize our office staff to enhance our constituentservices. The key to the success of any project is the relationships that form within theoffice and with the stakeholders. Communication and information exchange are key tothese relationships. We should utilize established internal communications channels tohelp employees understand the strategic planning process, inform them of progress and
19significant milestones, and continually remind them that strategic planning is a highpriority (Eagle, Cooke, & Rossi, 2004). In a healthy organizational culture all employees have value and are treated assuch. Information is treated as an important factor in the organization. The sharing andfree flow of information is encouraged to everyone within the organization. Staffcommunication is essential so we aware of what direction our office headed in and weremain focused on our mission. It also enables senior staff to more effectivelycommunicate the contents of the business plan to employees in a manner that links theirdaily duties to the achievement of strategy (Eagle, Cooke, & Rossi, 2004). Wheninformation flows freely throughout the office employees have a sense of pride andloyalty and allows employees to remain focused on the organization’s mission. It isdetrimental that we are all on the same page. Any BSC no matter how perfectlydeveloped will fail unless proper, leadership, communication, efficiency and effectivedecision making is in place. District Office Strategic Mission: After evaluating the office’s four perspectives, we are able to determine that ourmission is to provide the best service to our constituency with the goal of improving ourelectoral base and getting the Congressman reelected. This involves having a constantcommunication between all of our stakeholders, evaluating and prioritizing ourstakeholders, while constantly looking for ways to improve and adjust the strategy whennecessary. It is imperative that we continue to monitor our BSC strategy and remainflexible because performance management is an ever-changing process. This is key
20because the BSC functions as the cornerstone of an organizations current and futuresuccess (Kaplan & Norton, 1993). Conclusion: In the field of politics the stakes are high and there is little room for mistakes,especially when you must run for office every two years. We must continually look toimprove or the Congressman may not get reelected and we would risk losing our jobs.This is why we must not react to issues, but have a strategic management system to dealwith any issue possible that could affect the future of the office. Part of that strategicmanagement system is to provide the best possible constituent services. With a hard-working staff, an effective management team and the right set ofperformance measures in place, we have built a performance driven office and have seenproject initiatives that continue to bring improvement to the process. Working with staffand management, will be instrumental in sustaining progress as we monitor and evaluatethe effectiveness of the BSC because it is not just what is measured, but how themeasurements are used that determine organizational success (Kaplan & Norton, 2001).We will use that knowledge to update and revise our vision and performance measures asneeded and to communicate that information. Working together with our stakeholders,we will continue to meet our goals.
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