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Unveiling the Recipe for Sustainable Organizational Productivity

Unveiling the Recipe for Sustainable Organizational Productivity

This blog is based on Episode 11 of our GovEd Talks Video series: The Recipe for Sustainable Organizational Productivity by Keith Clinkscale, Director of Strategic Planning at Palm Beach County. 

In the vast landscape of organizational management, the pursuit of sustainable productivity is akin to crafting a delicate recipe. It's not merely about achieving short-term success but ingraining a culture of excellence so deeply that it withstands the test of time. The term "sustainable" here is intentional – an organizational ethos that transcends generations, becoming an integral part of its identity and mission. 

Organizational Symphony: Performing Like an Orchestra 

Consider an organization as an orchestra, a harmonious blend of diverse elements working together to produce a desired result. This orchestration involves meticulous planning and coordination to ensure that every department, attitude, and individual expertise collaborates seamlessly. The question then arises – how does one transform an organization to perform like an orchestra? 

Drawing a parallel between two hypothetical organizations, A and B, sheds light on the critical factors. Organization A represents disarray – mismatched policies, disgruntled employees, and a lack of recognition. On the other hand, Organization B embodies a cohesive vision, clear goals, ongoing feedback, and a unified workforce. The scale from 1 to 10 becomes a metric for organizations to evaluate where they stand on the spectrum, prompting introspection and paving the way for improvement. 

Historical Attempts at Improvement 

Over the decades, various methodologies have been employed in the pursuit of organizational excellence. From total quality management to ISO certification, benchmarking, quality circles, business process re-engineering, and the more recent trends of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma – these are all operational improvement ingredients. Each approach contributes to the evolving recipe for achieving sustained organizational productivity. 

The Core Ingredients: Mission, Vision, and Strategy 

The foundational elements of this recipe are the mission, vision, and strategy of the organization. Understanding who we are, what we value, and where we aspire to be created a roadmap for sustainable success. These elements provide the organizational personality, aligning priorities, objectives, and action plans to gauge success. The combination of strategic planning and performance management ensures not only planning but also effective implementation and measurement of success. 

The Organizational Model: A Holistic Approach 

An effective organizational model revolves around the core values, strategic priorities, objectives, action plans, resources, key performance indicators (KPIs), and continuous improvement. This model operates within the context of internal and external influences and an environmental scan, considering the state of the industry and the country at large. 

Ingredient One: Servant Leadership 

The first key ingredient in the recipe is servant leadership. In both private and public sectors, successful organizations prioritize serving their customers or residents. Whether driven by profit or service, organizations that prioritize the needs of their stakeholders tend to excel. In the public sector, where Palm Beach County serves as an example, the focus is on residents and providing the best services with entrusted tax dollars. 

Transformation at Palm Beach County 

An illustration from Palm Beach County showcases the transformative journey. Through servant leadership, county administrators, board members, and department directors were united with a new vision, mission, goals, objectives, and performance measures. The refined vision underscores the importance of strategic thinking, anticipation of the future, and ensuring decisions possess enduring value – a testament to the sustainability ingrained in the recipe. 


In the journey toward sustainable organizational productivity, the orchestration of various elements – from leadership to strategic planning, feedback mechanisms to continuous improvement – forms the recipe. Like any well-crafted dish, it's not just about the ingredients but their precise combination and the dedication to refining the process over time. As organizations strive for excellence, they must remember that the end goal is not just productivity but productivity with a lasting impact, creating a legacy that stands the test of time. 

If you're interested in learning more about Organizational Productivity, consider enrolling in our upcoming course Integrating Performance Management and Program Evaluation. Our course will get practical tools and techniques for integrating evaluation processes with strategic planning and performance measurement processes that will lead to enhanced synergies and increased performance at the agency, sub-agency, and cross-agency levels. 

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