Kaine: Talk results to capture business

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine urged contractors selling to state governments to talk first to governors, legislators and state officials about tangible results they can help them achieve before moving on to specific technology strategies.

The idea of selling results is in keeping with a progressive trend in state government toward performance-based management that focuses heavily on outcomes, Kaine told government and industry officials at a conference in Washington today.

Government officials must identify the results they want to achieve before they choose specific strategies to achieve those results. Virginia is one of a number of states that have embraced this approach, Kaine said. Other states using it include Oregon, Utah and Washington.

"We begin with what we want the result to be and work backward," Kaine said.

Kaine refined the technique during his tenure as mayor of Richmond, Va. Together with police, the mayor and city officials identified the goals in crime reduction they wanted to achieve. Once they had the goals set, they discussed possible ways to reach them. Then they were able to reduce the town's homicide rate by 60 percent and make substantial reductions in other types of violent crime, he said.

"If we set the goal first, everything else came in line," he said. "When you get everyone focused on results, they are less [preoccupied] with programs."

As a manifestation of the effort, Kaine also discussed the state's "Virginia Performs" Web site that gives citizens a window into how the state is doing in seven key areas: economy, education, transportation, health and family, public safety, government and citizens, and natural historic and cultural resources. As many as 50 indicators are used to monitor the state's progress and performance across these areas.

Each area is given rating to show how well the state is performing in that area. One of the advantages is that state officials can see at a glance which areas need improvement and direct funds to those areas.

The online initiative was developed by the Council for Virginia's Future, which comprises members of the legislature, the governor's cabinet, citizens and the private sector.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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