Government organizations are on an ongoing journey towards excellence, continually developing performance measurement methodologies and incorporating sustainability into their major operations. This commitment to systematic improvement includes investing in professional development and training and ensuring that resources are distributed strategically to promote advancements in the public sector. How can these be accomplished?
In an interview with Performance Magazine, Turki Mohammad Alderaan, Technical Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) Trainer and Director of the Risk Department at Al-Jouf University in Saudi Arabia, shares his insights on how organizations can adapt to emerging trends, stay updated on the latest strategic planning practices and performance management frameworks, and prepare government talent and citizens for the future.
How important is strategy planning and performance management in your government agency, which is responsible for regulating and providing technical and vocational training in Saudi Arabia?
The TVTC supervises more than 283 organizations that belong to it and more than 1,100 training and development consulting private sector. To regulate this enormous number, we tend to involve the stakeholders’ leaders early to achieve their strategic goals. In 2021, the TVTC was ranked 9th according to knowledge indicators from The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation ( MBRF).
Could you provide us with an example of a successful initiative in your organization that has brought great value to the quality or efficiency of business planning and managing performance?
“Hidden Explorer” is a significant initiative that ensures organizations’ services meet regulations and are monitored for growth. A recent report measured 14 essential services offered by 60 institutions, showing an average improvement of 3.8 out of 5 compared to the previous year. This initiative enhances business planning efficiency and ensures continuous growth.
How does your organization adapt to trends and stay updated with the latest strategy planning practices and performance management frameworks?
Our organization uses statistics to measure performance, implement initiatives, and stay on track toward strategic and operational goals. It also uses dashboards to monitor tasks at all administrative levels, facilitating corrective measures and adaptations.
What are the key trends that have shaped the public sector in recent years?
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) launched the National Transformation Program in 2016 to support government performance, digital transformation, private sector development, economic partnerships, community development, and resource sustainability. The program aims for a 92% transformation maturity rate by 2025.
What strategic approach would you advise governmental entities to take in order to counteract increased volatility and unpredictability?
Assuming that the future will be similar in terms of strategic planning is one of the most common mistakes, as technical management tools often require development. The optimal approach for the government sector is scenario planning, which focuses on identifying possibilities and their impact on operations, as well as potential scenarios that ensure goal achievement.
Per the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report 2023,” technology and digitalization are driving the decline of clerical and secretarial roles. What is the government’s role in developing future job skills for citizens?
The KSA’s Ministry of Human Resources adopted the National Transformation Program, sponsored by Vision 2030, to develop a human capacity development program which set 12 main goals and linked them to 24 indicators and 69 initiatives. The program aims for global competition by developing essential skills and knowledge for human resource development.
The public sector faces potential talent loss due to changing compensation and work setup preferences, as stated in a recent Forbes article. What can governments do to attract and retain talent?
Focusing on attracting talents rather than developing them from within can be a future problem. Therefore, some governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore, have begun to provide training and development grants. Since the launch of the National Transformation Program, government agencies have secured 550,000 jobs between 2016 and 2020.
What role will governments play in the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution?
Governments must adopt AI technologies for digital transformation and ambitious decisions. Saudi Arabia adopted the “Global Summit on Artificial Intelligence,” and the NEOM CEO confirmed its importance. Reliant on AI, NEOM’s “LINE” project—a city that runs on 100% renewable energy— is the future. Governments must be forward-looking and ambitious in their plans to pursue this revolution.
Strategy and Performance Practices
What would you advise multilateral institutions to reach effectiveness and alignment in strategy planning and implementation?
Strategic planning enhances coordination and cohesion within an organization, providing clarity on goals and objectives. It is complex in multilateral environments and requires pre-analysis and consultation with all parties. A strategic planning framework ensures standardization and diversification while shaping objectives and indicators using a logical framework for results-based management.
What are the key success factors for governments to build consistency in strategy and performance management?
A comprehensive vision ensures the integration of goals and interests across all sectors, limiting capabilities and linking plans to strategic plans. A results-based management approach helps all sectors achieve a common vision perfectly, leading to a cohesive and effective organization.
What are the most common pitfalls in strategy and performance management in governmental institutions? What can be learned from it?
The performance measurement management process fails due to the lack of correct and accurate selection of performance measures. Many leaders believe that performance measurement is a simple and clear process, and this is a false belief. It requires leaders to be aware of the consequences of the performance measures they choose. There is a “dark side” to all measures. One of the crucial challenges government institutions face involves activating an integrated performance measurement department that is supported by competencies and adopting best practices.
What are the five characteristics of a high-performance government?
The following characteristics should be systematic to ensure a high-performance government:
- Digital transformation (e-government)
- Activating the integrated system for job performance planning and management
- Continuous development of performance measurement methodologies in government organizations
- Considering institutional sustainability in all activities of the organization
- Allocating the necessary resources for continuous professional development and training
What is the key performance management tool used in your organization that drives decision-making? (Is it the strategy plan, the strategy map, the balanced scorecard, or an executive dashboard?)
All of what has been mentioned must be relied upon, but each in its own phase. As for the dashboard, it is the one that supports the speed of the decision-making process, as notes appear quickly.
If you could convey the essence of government performance in three indicators, what would those be?
- The percentage of digital transformation in the services provided
- The effectiveness of the performance measurement methodology
- The number of development and training hours is based on each employee’s systematic criteria
Turki Mohammad Alderaan is an organizational development expert in multiple governmental sectors, a leadership and strategy professional, an executive performance mentor, and a performance design and measurement specialist. To learn more about his professional credentials and perspectives in the field, you can connect with him on LinkedIn.
What should leadership in the public sector look like as it faces significant changes in the world that impact agenda-setting and decision-making? As the strategic planning and performance manager of Pinellas County Government in the US, Aubrey Phillips leverages a unique blend of data analysis skills and interpersonal communication to optimize organizational efficiency.
One of her notable accomplishments was overseeing the development of Pinellas County’s COVID-19 dashboard and alleviation initiatives through interagency collaboration. Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental studies from New College of Florida, along with an advanced certificate in Geographic Information Systems. In this interview, she discusses her professional journey and insights into the dynamic world of strategy and performance management in the public sector.
- Would you tell us more about your educational and professional background? How did your previous experiences lead you to your current position?
I started working in local government as an undergraduate, eager to make a difference. Early on, I piloted using the Conservation Measures Partnership’s standards and saw the benefits of engagement and evidence. From there, I have continued seeking opportunities to practice change management, drive operational efficiencies, and influence organizational performance.
- What are your main responsibilities and goals in your current role?
My role focuses on empowering employees to build a continuous improvement culture, celebrating learning, and driving strategic outcomes. My main responsibilities involve facilitating strategic and operational planning and analytics; providing courses, tools, and coaching; administering data systems and standards; and providing consultation, research, and analysis to improve service delivery and efficiency.
- Please take us through your daily job routine. Could you describe in detail your activities and work hours? You may specify certain areas of your job, such as your work arrangement (remote, on-site or hybrid) and the stakeholders you frequently contact or meet with.
Anchored by a weekly team huddle, planning and time-blocking keep me focused through the week. I’m typically on-site part of the week, depending on the courses, facilitations, and meetings scheduled. Working organization-wide and with employees at every level, a hybrid arrangement helps me stay connected while minimizing windshield time.
- Do you think that strategy and performance management in the public sector is different from that in the private sector? How?
Broad public records laws mean there’s no locker room in public sector strategy and performance management. Everything happens in the sunshine of the arena, presenting challenges but also opportunities for shared learning. Extending the metaphor, the goalposts in the public sector are more mercurial than relatively straightforward profit margins.
- What are the main achievements you are proud of thus far during your time working in strategy and performance management in the public sector?
Whether establishing a nationally recognized community gardens program, engaging community partners and county staff to shape and deliver federally funded COVID relief programs, or analyzing and addressing key drivers of employee and community satisfaction, I take the most pride in work that has brought people together on solutions.
- What are the main challenges that you face working in strategy and performance management in the public sector? When faced with such challenges, what do you do?
The main challenge is that there’s always more that can be done. Harnessing data and collective wisdom are keys to helping prioritize efforts that will do the most good. I also focus on my influence as a “decision architect” and use data to communicate the impact of decisions to others.
- For the future of your career, do you intend to keep on working in the public sector, switch to the private sector, or does the sector not really matter to you? Why?
While my roots are in the public sector, where I work matters less than the mission. I expect my work will always aim to be in service to the public, and there are many private sector organizations making incredible contributions to moving strategy and performance management forward in the public sector.
- If someone is looking to work in strategy and performance management in the public sector one day, what skills, knowledge and experience would you advise them to acquire?
Project and change management, process improvement, and data analysis and visualization are great to start with. Pair those with skill-building around relationships, the ability to have difficult conversations, facilitation, and learning on the fly to navigate change. From there, put some skin in the game, volunteer for opportunities to practice key skills, and seek feedback.
Read more of Aubrey Phillips’ insights on strategy and performance management in the upcoming government issue of Performance Magazine – Print Edition. Stay updated by subscribing to TKI’s LinkedIn page!