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Resource Center Playbook

In 2015, the Performance Improvement Council (PIC) staff set out to define the foundational aspects of performance management in government. Using our experience working with diverse Federal agencies, we clarified our point of view about what it takes to not only achieve mission results, but actively manage ambitious and sometimes cross-governmental goals. We also went back into our archive of interviews, summits, and working groups to reflect what we’ve repeatedly heard from professionals who have given their careers to understanding, improving, and driving their agency’s performance.

We developed the P3 (Performance Principles & Practices) construct to go beyond the legal requirements, and capture the capabilities and spirit of performance management and improvement. We’ve turned P3 into a playbook for anyone to use who has a role in implementing programs, initiatives, and missions. Performance is a tool to help you achieve your goals, deliver the right things, and build the capabilities you need to evolve.

Each play provides an overview, some key questions to ask yourself and a few resources you can use immediately. Get started exploring P3 by pressing on one of the three colored wedges above. The playbook is a living document and updates are frequent. If you have a resource you can recommend or a suggestions, please contact the staff at

Power Play

Enable and Invest in Culture

Putting your P3 plays into practice not only should build essential capability at your organization, but should also help cultivate performance culture. And when performance becomes part of the “DNA” of a team or organization we also see certain cultural elements welcomed and sustained. We are calling these things, “performance operating principles.” These principles are habits or beliefs that an organization can adopt in order to drive a performance-positive mindset among employees and create a culture that values performance management and improvement.


1. More than just compliance

What are we aiming for?

list-item Our performance management activities are integrated with other lines of business.

list-item Teams working on performance collaborate regularly with business and program managers.

list-item Leaders talk about performance management as a way to drive results, not just meet a legal requirement.

list-item People at the HQ level and people at the Component level follow the same or very similar performance management processes.

list-item We have performance experts that we can ask for advice or assistance.

2. Results-Oriented Candor & Transparency

What are we aiming for?

list-itemWe are encouraged to speak up when we have ideas about what should change.

list-itemAnyone internal or external to our organization could ask for and/or provide feedback about how a mission area is performing.

list-itemAnyone internal or external to our organization could easily find performance and organization data.

list-itemLeaders consistently talk about progress, results, and opportunities to get better.

list-itemWe like to share information with one another.

3. Healthy Attitude Towards Risk

What are we aiming for?

list-itemWe set goals that we know may be a challenge to achieve.

list-item We have some flexibility in our plans, assessments, and decision-making to account for possible failures.

list-item We talk about how it is “safe to fail."

list-item Leaders protect people who take acceptable risks.

list-item We have clear guidelines about what is and isn’t considered an acceptable risk.

4. Positive Ownership & Accountability for Results

What are we aiming for?

list-itemResults are included in our job descriptions.

list-itemAnyone at our organization could identify and explain what they are accountable for.

list-itemWe know how our work connects to mission priorities.

list-itemWe find ways to improve or advance our delivery methods.

list-item Leaders take responsibility for achieving performance outcomes.

5. Stakeholder & Customer Oriented

What are we aiming for?

list-itemWe can receive or easily find information about customers.

list-itemWe pay attention to customer satisfaction data.

list-itemWe design our processes to suit various stakeholders or customer groups.

list-itemMultiple customer/stakeholder perspectives are included in our decision-making process.

list-itemLeaders talk about the value of customer and stakeholder needs.

list-itemWe see our stakeholders as our partners.

list-itemWe develop reviews, plans, and reports in coordination with multiple internal and external stakeholders.


Rules of P3

The P3 construct is designed to help you gauge where you are and where you need to go in order to drive performance for your mission. It helps you think about your capability strengths, identify gaps and opportunities, and have a discussion about how performance management can help you achieve your goals. It is not a step-wise process or model with a beginning and an end. When using the PIC’s P3 Playbook as a team, or just for yourself, keep in mind these two rules:

Not Linear

While these practices may feel linear to where you sit in the organization, all of these performance activities are interrelated and interdependent. For example, you may decide to set measures first and then prioritize your goal activities. You may first invest in analytical capabilities which will inform your planning and evaluation. You may begin with a performance improvement, which impacts your implementation and data activities. Anyone and any organization can start with what they have, and leverage these capability strengths to direct, initiate or incorporate other aspects of P3.

There isn’t “one right way”

How you run, develop, and invest in your P3 plays is totally flexible and up to the culture and skills of your team. Different organizations or teams will have varying degrees of activity in each, with none considered “more successful” than another. For example, we know that there are some organizations that do “data stuff” really well. Those data-oriented organizations can achieve performance results as strong as those organizations that do “goal setting and prioritization” really well. It just depends on how an organization invests in building its performance capabilities. However, to be most effective in achieving and managing the “right” results for your mission, each element of the P3 construct should exist in tandem at your organization, program, or initiative team.