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Getting Organized: Setting Yourself Up for Success 13 PHASING IN A PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT APPROACH Start with what you have. A comprehensive approach to sustainability performance measurement and management evolves over time as your agency builds understanding of how your work contributes to sustainability, as staff awareness of sustainability concerns grows, and as your agency undertakes new initiatives to promote sustainability. Focusing on a few key objectives and measures and adding additional measures over time can be an effective way to begin. Some measures of sustainability can be based on data your agency is already collecting; in fact, one data set may support measurement of multiple objectives. As your measurement approach takes shape, you can identify gaps in information and add additional measures or collect different types of data. What data do you have available? An inventory of existing data sources is an important step to assess the types of information that your agency already has. While in some cases you may decide to collect new data, often the data you have at hand can be used to support many of the sustainability measures you define. How much/how soon? A sustainability performance measurement program needs to be sustainable. A well-designed approach to measuring sustainability will support and inform your agency's work without placing unnecessary burdens on your staff or budget. As you design your performance measurement system, keep in mind that the approach needs to be useful, feasible, and manageable over time. Are you ready to do this? Having organizational support and a strong team is essential to developing an effective performance measurement program. Senior management needs to endorse the development of sustainability performance measures and provide clear direction on the purpose(s) for which the measures will be used. A working group could be established that has a clear mandate, schedule, and resources required to do the job, with an understanding of the approval process that will be used to review and accept its recommendations. You may want to include external partners and stakeholders directly on the working group and/or establish a process through which the group can get ideas and input as it goes along. Case Study Summary: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is a regional organization of 21 governments that surround the nation's capital. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board is part of COG and is the federally designated MPO for the Washington, DC, region. At COG, explicit incorporation of the term "sustainability" into its programs is in the beginning stages. Inclusion of sustainability terminology in the Region Forward report (a policy study that outlines desirable attributes for the Washington region) signals that COG's leaders accept the concepts embodied by sustainability. Development of the report was guided by a group of COG stakeholders called the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition, which was established in 2008 by COG to build agreement among its members about a long-term vision for tackling issues of growth, transportation, and the environment. The coalition is composed of public officials and business, civic, and environmental leaders from across the region.