Performance Tour of the City of SeaTac

On September 24, fifteen members of the King County Performance Management Community of Practice took a learning tour of the City of SeaTac departmental performance boards.

The group toured and spoke with staff and managers in six departments about how visual performance boards are being used and aiding the work.

The hosts and the guests begin a tour of the City of SeaTac performance boards.
SeaTac City Manager Todd Cutts (blue shirt and jacket) greets the King County learning tour.

Paula Ding, a member of King County’s Performance and Strategy team, said afterwards, “I was  impressed by the level of staff engagement and how much they have achieved in such a short timeframe; it is quite inspiring!”

(Paula also organized led the County’s learning visit to SeaTac; thanks, Paula!)

The engagement and the achievement are strong in large part because SeaTac has done an excellent job at building a culture where the boards support the work.

Always Looking for a Change

One of the most impressive aspects of SeaTac’s  use of performance boards is an  “always looking for a change” ethos.

As City Clerk Kristina Gregg explained, “Everything here is very changeable. If something doesn’t make sense anymore, we change it.”

SeaTac has been working with visual management boards for less than a year and there are no doubt opportunities for improvement, which everyone at SeaTac readily acknowledges. That’s exactly why the ethos of change is so important.

Often, in King County and elsewhere, the search for a “perfect solution” becomes the enemy of good work and useful improvements. Or we worry what others, especially leadership, think “should be” on our boards, to the detriment of what would be helpful to us in our work!

Assistant City Manager Gwen Voelpel emphasizes, “Nothing is a monument.”

Making the Work Visible

For SeaTac Human Resources Manager Vanessa Audett, making the work visible means that “I don’t have to constantly bother my staff” to see where this hiring is at or where that action item currently stands. Now everyone can see what’s going on with the work.

Vanessa Audett discusses the SeaTac Human Resources performance board.
Vanessa Audett discusses the Human Resources performance board.

Measures that Tie Operations to Outcomes

As Tom Gut, Director of SeaTac Public Works explains, “we’re finding meaningful measures that tie changes in operations to changes in outcomes.” Already, tracking data has helped the team see the benefits of a decision to provide a service in-house that had been contracted previously. For less cost, SeaTac is seeing greater productivity.

As the performance board use matures, Public Works wants to build on that link between operations and outcomes with more measures and data that will support decision making.

Thank you, SeaTac!

A big thank you to the City of SeaTac on behalf of all the staff who toured! We learned much on the tour and have had many good conversations following.

Thanks especially to the SeaTac folks who provided the tour:

Vanessa Audett, Human Resources Manager

Sean Clark, Public Works Maintenance Supervisor

Todd Cutts, City Manager

Kristina Gregg, City Clerk

Tom Gut, Public Works Director

Soraya Lowry, Program Manager, City Manager’s Office

Trudy Olson, Resource Conversation/Neighborhood Programs Coordinator

Don Robinett, Stormwater Compliance Manager

Jeff Robinson, Economic Development Manager

Ali Shasta, Development Review Engineering Manager

Gwen Voelpel, Assistant City Manager

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