Since late May, editions of AMS In Focus have addressed what we as state employees produce (our “widgets”), who we make our products for (our customers), and why we do it (our vital mission outcomes.) Let’s now shift attention to how the work gets done in our agencies – our processes – using the elements and tools of the Arizona Management System (AMS).
AMS is basically about setting targets, tracking performance against those targets, identifying gaps between desired and actual performance, and then closing these gaps by implementing countermeasures. These steps are depicted here:
Beyond this basic structure, we identify three main components of the management system:
• Performance Management
• Problem Solving
• Leader Standard Behaviors
Performance management is about setting and visually managing around the targets, whereas problem solving is the disciplined approach we use to close gaps and implement countermeasures. The agency management chain reinforces performance management and problem solving using disciplined standard leader behaviors to coach, mentor and lead staff through system implementation.
A one page handout, available in the Agency Toolbox on the AMS website, illustrates the management system and briefly discusses key elements that comprise each component. All cabinet-level agencies are deploying a few of these key elements: breakthroughs, monthly scorecards and business reviews. About half of the cabinet, representing more than 75 percent of the state workforce and approximately 50 percent of the General Fund, currently is deploying the full management system.
Each month the Governor’s Office evaluates the progress of these agencies in deploying the key elements throughout their ranks. The point is not simply to expose agencies to the elements and tools, but to have employees broadly and deeply weave them into the fabric of their agency’s vital mission work. This way, AMS becomes how the work is done rather than a bolt-on that feels like something extra to the “real” work. The goal is to instill a sense of ownership in the system so that employees know how, when and why to use AMS elements and tools to succeed.
Future editions of this newsletter will examine the AMS elements and tools in more detail.