What Gets Measured Gets Done
by David Hardenbergh
An old adage of both individual human and organizational behavior is that what gets measured gets done. There’s a certain power and focusing of energy and resources in the act of setting specific goals or performance targets and then measuring progress toward their accomplishment. Doing this publicly, whether with personal goals or organizational objectives, can intensify the focus and increase the level of effort directed at accomplishing stated goals.
So as the waning days of the year provide an opportunity to look back over 2015, we reflect on what we have accomplished in response to stated goals and set new goals for the coming year. During the past year, RurAL CAP has provided early childhood education, affordable housing, job training, energy efficiency services, subsistence advocacy, and youth development services that have engaged and empowered low-income Alaskans and helped improve the lives of people across the state in measurable ways.
Although 2015 has been a challenging year in terms of absorbing significant cuts in state capital budget funding, we have also seen important organizational accomplishments including the customer results that we track and report quarterly with our system of ROMA (Results Oriented Management and Accountability) outcome measures. Some of these accomplishments involve the creation of new programs and services. Others strengthen RurAL CAP’s organizational capacity by updating and formalizing governing and administrative documents to bring us in line with organizational standards and best practices. 2015 accomplishments include:
- Providing comprehensive child development services to 1,455 children and families;
- Completing a successful federal Head Start Environmental Health and Safety review with compliance in 24 sites with 16 review areas;
- Building on the success of the Youth Development and Culture Grant program to award $412,500 supporting 50 small grants in 35 communities statewide;
- Co-coordinating a successful 2015 Rural Providers’ Conference with Kawerak in Nome attended by 525 participants;
- Growing the Foster Grandparent program with 59 Elder Mentor volunteers providing 45,156 hours of school readiness and academic engagement support to 2,633 children including 504 with special needs;
- Awarding $621,627 to new grantees in 13 communities for solid waste management in partnership with the Yukon Kuskokwim Coastal Assistance Program;
- Weatherizing 288 homes in eight communities on time and within budget, increasing their home energy rating by at least two stars;
- Completing six new units of Self-Help Housing and starting construction on 11 more for a total of 50 homes in the central Kenai Peninsula;
- Undertaking two large capital construction projects and securing partners and funds which include tax credit funding to build 43 units of new housing in 2016;
- Developing a Risk Assessment Report with plans to complete a Risk Management Plan in 2016;
- Creating a Community Needs Assessment and 2016-2018 Strategic Plan with specific stretch goals and measurable outcome targets; and
Developing and implementing a 50th Anniversary media campaign and celebration event.
So while RurAL CAP has had its challenges, we look back on the documented results and changes made in the lives of the low-income people we served in 2015 and see significant accomplishments. Yet we still see the need for continuous improvement in both internal operations and in the services we provide.
As we look to the next fifty years, RurAL CAP will remain focused on the opportunities and challenges facing Alaskans in need and continue to fulfill our vision of healthy people, sustainable communities and vibrant cultures.