In their insightful book, It’s Time for High-Performance Government, Howard Risher and William Wilder address the urgent need for performance improvement in today’s government. Their approach to performance management recognizes the importance of metrics and structured systems but shifts the principal focus to managers and, as the authors use the phrase, day-to-day “people management” to improve government processes and services.
Our nation is fortunate to count some of the brightest and most dedicated professionals among its public servants, but without major changes to the way government does business, it will only get harder to attract and retain top talent. Public sector management is neither glamorous nor well understood, but it has an outsized impact on the American people and our government’s ability to serve them. Drawing on more than 40 years of experience, Risher and Wilder have produced a compelling and valuable resource for everyone interested in good and effective government.
"Howard Risher knows lots and lots about performance and people management, as a practitioner and a researcher. He also knows lots about government, where a series of private-sector-imported practices have if anything worsened the low productivity, low engagement environments that prevail. Howard dissects the problems and more importantly sets out the strategic direction and suite of practical actions required to build a high performance culture. If you are working in the public sector in the US, UK, UN, anywhere, you have to be interested in improving performance and so you have to read this book."
It is a management cliché to say that 'people are the greatest asset of an organization.' But only few public leaders internalize it; even fewer of them operationalize it. All of them should read this book. Howard Risher and William Wilder go beyond the clichés and give solid details for public leaders. In these difficult years ahead, this book will become an operational guide for serious leaders.”
Ever since the publication of Reinventing Government (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992), interest in effectivity and efficiency of the public sector has been growing. As a result, in the past few decades various attempts have been made to improve performance of the public sector, mostly with mixed results. Consequently, public sector organizations are looking for alternative ways to increase their performance. But Howard Risher and William Wilder are not content to propose just another new improvement method. No, they are much more ambitious than that: they want to create a high performance government! As a researcher into the factors of high performance I can only applaud this in the strongest way possible, as government is too important to society and us civilians to let it perform in a mediocre manner. And especially when the ideas to achieve high performance in governmental agencies are written down in such a accessible and practical way, there is no reason for public sector organizations to not use this book to achieve the high performance status.
Through its focus on the public sector workforce, Howard Risher and Bill Wilder make important contributions to improving public sector performance. This book is long overdue and it is recommended that governments throughout the world that want to improve their efficiency and effectiveness follow the valuable recommendations contained in the book.
Whether you want big government or small, everyone wants one that is well led, well managed, and well served...by the thousands of public employees who work for it. That's why the book Howard Risher and Bill Wilder have put together is so important. It not only provides HR professionals with an invaluable overview of the state-of-the-art in public sector HR practices, but it will be even more valuable to those front-line executives and managers who actually make the day-to-day people decisions in government; they're the oneswho really make or break an agency's performance, and Risher and Wilder's work ought to be required reading for them.
Delivering quality public service requires labor and management to find the best ways to engage the workforce and to effectively solve workplace issues. By putting in practice the strategies proposed by Risher and Wilder, the public’s confidence in government can be restored.”
Leading and managing people is the single most important initiative governments all over the world can take to improve government effectiveness and better serve their citizens. However, most public sector leaders do not understand the importance of people or are hamstrung by existing protocols.Howard applies both his private and public sector expertise in people management to get down to root issues and proposes a set of practical actions that can implemented in the US or any other country. Ultimately, people are people.Therefore, the psychology of managing people is the same.Risher and Wilderdo a great job in applying a common set of principles to help governments build stronger people systems.
"Since the early 1990's the strident calls for improving the performance of public sector organizations has led to a myriad of efforts to achieve effectiveness with some level of success. A missing link in these efforts has been the pivotal role of human capital. This book by Risher and Wilder brings attention to this important aspect of government performance and provides a road map to get us closer to the elusive goal of having high performing organizations in the public sector."
The contributions by Howard Risher and Bill Wilder provide a tremendous guide for public sector leaders to use in improving government performance. Their recommendations are sound, practical, and are applicable for every level of government. This is a timely reference of best practices and critical thinking that favorably responds to our day-to-day and future performance management challenges.