Direct from the Director
— Being the best demands accountability, delivering on commitments —

ITD employees,

Recently I began a series of Direct from the Director messages that elaborate on specific elements of my vision for the department. In this Direct from the Director I will discuss the second vision element:

ITD is transparent and accountable and delivers on its promises

Our effort to become a national leader in the transportation industry and a model for other Idaho state agencies demands that everything we do takes place in an open arena where people can assess our progress and hold us accountable for results.

Today, more than ever, we must demonstrate sound fiscal responsibility and wise use of the tax dollars entrusted to us. ITD receives a portion of every dollar Idaho motorists spend on fuel for their vehicles and every vehicle registration fee they pay. Those taxes and fees pay our salaries and benefits, the equipment we buy and the materials we use. Motorists demand that we use their money wisely and effectively. They expect us to operate transparently, to be accountable for our decisions and actions, and to deliver on the commitments we make.

Transparency simply means that we want people to understand what we do and why we do it. Many times it may mean that others have a say in how we do things. To be accountable, we will begin to measure accomplishments against promised timelines. When we do promise, we must deliver. That is essential as we set high standards and constantly try to reach or exceed those standards.

Outcomes must be a direct reflection of our goals. If we indicate that a bridge rehabilitation project will require three months to complete (goal), we need to finish the project in three months …. or less (outcome). If we want to process vehicle titles within seven days (goal), we should have them done in one week (outcome). If our goal is to answer e-mail requests within 24 hours (goal), we have one day or less to respond (outcome).

Our commitment to accountability will work several ways: I will hold you accountable for your performance; in turn, you should hold me accountable for commitments that I make to you. We must hold each other accountable and push to make each other better. Just like championship sports teams, a “player-coached” team (employees holding their work team members accountable) can accomplish more than a “coach-coached” team (supervisors holding subordinates accountable).

One tangible way of ensuring the process takes place as planned is through performance management – continually monitoring and assessing our progress. The goal of performance measures is not to measure, but to determine if we are reaching our goal of continually getting better.

We will publish our performance measures and goals on our website so you and I can better understand our expectations and track progress. It is important to know where we are at any given time – like tracking our trip on a map and relating it to mile markers. Performance measures tell us where we want to go, the best way to get there, how far we have come and how far we have to go.

Transparency, accountability and on-time delivery are not new concepts at ITD. You have been using these guiding principles for a long time.

Together, you and I must continue these principles as a means of achieving our goal to be the best transportation department in the country and the model for other agencies in Idaho.

Published 7-16-2010