As we face the challenges of the 21st century, the federal government must strive to build high-performing organizations. Nothing less than a fundamental transformation in the people, processes, technology, and environment used by federal agencies to address public goals will be necessary to address public needs. In high-performing organizations, management controls, processes, practices, and systems are adopted that are consistent with prevailing best practices and contribute to concrete organizational results. Ultimately, however, the federal government needs to change its culture to become more results-oriented, client- and customer-focused, and collaborative in nature. On November 6, 2003, GAO hosted a forum to discuss what it means for a federal agency to be high-performing in an environment where results and outcomes are increasingly accomplished through partnerships that cut across different levels of government and different sectors of the economy. The forum included discussions of the metrics, means, and mechanisms that a federal agency should use to optimize its influence and contribution to nationally important results and outcomes. The forum included representatives of the public, not-for-profit, and for-profit sectors as well as academia who are knowledgeable of what it takes for organizations to become high-performing.
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