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Using Goals to Improve Performance and Accountability

A goal is a simple but powerful way to motivate people and communicate priorities. Leaders in states, local governments, Federal programs, and in other countries have demonstrated the power of using specific, challenging goals (combined with frequent measurement, analysis, and follow-up) to improve performance and cut costs. These stretch goals can be effective at changing the way an organization does business. This Administration has embraced the power of goal-setting as a way to improve the Federal Government’s performance and accountability to the American people. Federal agencies are using near-term and longer-term goals in a variety of ways to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

The Federal Government operates more effectively when agency leaders, at all levels of the organization, starting at the top, set clear measurable goals aligned to achieving better outcomes. It is also vital that they regularly engage their organizations and delivery partners in critical reviews of progress on these goals. This leads to the discovery of what works and what does not – guiding agency action and investment. Federal agency leaders are increasingly using goals and measurement to reinforce priorities, motivate action, and illuminate paths to improvement. Agencies are also using goals in partnership efforts to improve outcomes.

Agencies establish a variety of performance goals and objectives to drive progress toward key outcomes. Agencies outline long-term goals and objectives in their strategic plans, and annual performance goals in annual performance plans. Twenty-four major Federal agencies have also identified a limited number of two-year Agency Priority Goals in the FY2013 budget, aligned with their strategic goals and objectives. Agency Priority Goals target areas where agency leaders want to achieve near-term performance acceleration through focused senior leadership attention. The Administration has also adopted a limited number of Cross-Agency Priority Goals to improve cross-agency coordination and best practice sharing.

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Exports

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Entrepreneurship and Small Business

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Broadband

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Energy Efficiency

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Veteran Career Readiness

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Job Training

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Cybersecurity

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Sustainability

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Real Property

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Improper Payments

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Data Center Consolidation

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Closing Skills Gaps

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Strategic Sourcing

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    Cross-Agency

    Priority Goal: Open Government Data

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    Department of Agriculture

    Strategic Goal: Assist Rural Communities to Create Prosperity So They Are Self-Sustaining, Repopulating and Economically Thriving

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    Department of Agriculture

    Strategic Goal: Ensure Our National Forests and Private Working Lands are Conserved, Restored, and Made More Resilient to Climate ...

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    Department of Agriculture

    Strategic Goal: Help America Promote Agricultural Production and Biotechnology Exports as America Works to Increase Food Security

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    Department of Agriculture

    Strategic Goal: Ensure that All of America's Children Have Access to Safe, Nutritious, and Balanced Meals

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    Department of Commerce

    Strategic Goal: Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Develop the tools, systems, policies, and technologies critical to transforming our ...

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