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Results that Matter: Improving Communities by Engaging Citizens, Measuring Performance, and Getting Things Done

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8317-8
272 pages
February 2006, Jossey-Bass
Results that Matter: Improving Communities by Engaging Citizens, Measuring Performance, and Getting Things Done (0787983179) cover image


Today's communities—whether they are currently strong, or struggling to survive—face difficult challenges if they want to be tomorrow's healthy, vibrant communities. The challenge for leaders and citizens of modern communities is not just to solve specific problems today. Their real challenge is to keep learning from their experience so they can keep improving their communities tomorrow.

Results That Matter will provide a new governance framework for using valuable tools of community improvement—especially performance measurement and citizen engagement—to empower communities to achieve the outcomes their citizens most desire. Government and nonprofit managers will learn how to combine these tools in new ways, not only to achieve one-time improvement of their organizations and communities, but to foster continual community renewal and improvement. The benefits and practicality of the framework and related practices will be reinforced by case examples from 25 communities across the country. The book will offer "how to" guidance to public and nonprofit managers, including promising practices for effective communities, and new roles for citizens, community leaders, and managers.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xxi

The Authors xxv

1 Engaging Citizens, Measuring Results, Getting Things Done 1

2 Citizens’ Many Roles in Community Problem Solving 17

3 Organizations Managing for Results 49

4 Citizens Reaching for Results I: Key Ideas, Strategic Issues, and the First Three Case Examples 76

5 Citizens Reaching for Results II: To Improve the Quality of Life in Their Region 102

6 Communities Governing for Results I: An Introduction to the Practice and to Interpreting the Case Examples 123

7 Communities Governing for Results II: Local Governments Engage Citizens in Results-Based Systems 139

8 Communities Governing for Results III: Citizens Engaged in Results-Based Nonprofit Community Development 171

9 More Ideas for Making It Happen 191

Notes 224

Index 237

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Author Information

Paul D. Epstein is principal of Epstein and Fass Associates, a New York–based consulting firm. In 2003 he received the Harry Hatry Distinguished Performance Measurement Practice Award from the American Society for Public Administration for his lifetime achievements.

Paul M. Coates is director of the Office of State and Local Government Programs and associate professor of public policy and administration in the Department of Political Science at Iowa State University.

Lyle D. Wray is executive director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments based in Hartford, Connecticut. Wray served as executive director of the Citizens League from 1992 to 2003 and co-led, with Paul Epstein, the Sloan Foundation–funded research on citizen engagement and public performance measurement.

David Swain, a Florida-based consultant, managed the Jacksonville Community Council Inc.'s pioneering community quality of life indicators program from 1984 to 2002.

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The Wiley Advantage

Results that Matter presents a framework for community leaders who must learn from their experience today so they can keep improving their communities tomorrow.
  • Offers practical guidance and promising practices for creating effective communities.
  • Provides a new governance framework for using community improvement tools, especially performance measurement, and citizen engagement.
  • Includes twenty-five community and organizational stories that show the key elements of this governance framework in action.
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"Results That Matter provides concrete teaching tools for nonprofit developers, local governments, residents, or anyone else working to build strong and healthy communities. The authors demonstrate that results-based governance and citizen engagement not only enrich community improvement efforts, they are necessary ingredients for success."
--Michael Rubinger, president and CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation

"Results That Matter adds real substance to the discussion of how government can deliver the results citizens want at a price they are willing to pay. For citizen activists, public sector leaders, and managers alike, it provides valuable lessons and examples they can use as they continue to push the envelope of results-based governance."
--David Osborne, co-author, The Price of Government and Reinventing Government and senior partner at the Public Strategies Group

"Too many politicians think that being a leader means being a powerbroker. Results That Matter clearly demonstrates that leadership means letting the people lead."
--Mayor William Johnson, Rochester, New York

"Citizen involvement and performance measurement are both critical ingredients to developing an effective, efficient and equitable local government. Results That Matter helps us understand that these two aspects of local governance go hand in hand, and when combined can become a powerful force for community change. This book will be a useful tool for elected officials, professional managers, and any community leader who is interested in finding ways to move their city to the cutting edge of change."
--Christopher T. Gates, president, National Civic League

"Results that Matter is a must-read for any community leader, especially those outside of government, who want to create a community culture of high expectation for success. The book provides an engaging depth of information while staying in the comfort zone of those of who aren't experts in performance measurement."
--Michael Meotti, president and CEO, United Way of Connecticut

"The authors effectively show how two compelling and potentially conflicting forces--modern managerial techniques and citizen engagement--can be combined to produce livable communities where things get done and people invest in the future and care about the present. As a local government educator and former mayor, I see in this book a rare combination of practical case examples and intellectual guidance that should appeal to citizens, public officials, and students concerned about community building."
--John Nalbandian, chair and professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Kansas

"Read Results That Matter. Learn how citizens, governments, and nonprofit organizations can work together and improve their communities."
--Joe Wholey, University of Southern California

"Achieving good governance in public purpose organizations is an uphill battle. Citzens are cynical. Voter turnouts are declining. Trust in institutions is plummeting.
Is there a solution? The authors of this intriguing new book think so. Drawing upon extensive case studies, they explore such questions as what is a citizen? How can we make community governance more focused on results? Why does citizen engagement matter? How do we move from concepts to 'getting it done'--to practical impacts?
The book argues persuasively that achieving ‘results that matter’ has to start with citizen involvement. Too often, goals are determined by the managers of government and other service organizations, with no assurance that they reflect the priority concerns of community citizens. Citizen-defined goals provide a basis for accountability that is meaningful.
Well-researched and richly footnoted, this book outlines a model of community governance adaptable to different situations. It explores many practical topics, such as how to make use of balanced scorecards in a public sector setting, or when and how to use technology to assist in citizen consultation. Very valuable reading for political leaders, staff, and any others concerned with the performance of public organizations, with the health of our communities, and within the state of democracy today."
--Tim Plumtre, president, Institute On Governance

"What is more important than results? Rock solid examples to emulate."
--Michael Van Milligen, City Manager, Dubuque, Iowa and International City/Country Management Association 2003 Outstanding Manager of the Year

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Related Websites / Extra

Results That Matter WebsiteDo you want to help citizens reach for results?

Do you want to help organizations manage for results?

Do you want to help communities govern for results?

Do you want to improve how your community improves itself?

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