Focus On FLATE Operations – A Closer View: Using Effectiveness Measures to Maximize Activity Impact

This series on FLATE Operations began in July and continues this month with a brief discussion of
the Sterling Management Program's use of Effectiveness Measures (metrics) to establish FLATE's effectiveness. From the organization perspective FLATE exists to complete its Mission. All of our energy and time must be directed to that singular purpose. The value of a mission is shaped by an organization's Vision.mThe Objectives of the organization lead to the accomplishment of organization Goals with the expectation that Goals align with the organization's vision.

FLATE uses a Sterling model to pursue its mission. This approach functionalizes an organization from Activity, through Program into Organization Levels. Projects are designed and implemented to complete specified Goal Target Objectives within the Program Level. Completed Objectives lead to subsequent targeted Goal completion. Project activities are conducted to complete the designated projects in the Activity Level. The Organization Level coordinates resources with organization operations, goals, and deliverable deadlines. It also applies appropriate feedback mechanisms to improve organization efficiency and effectiveness to continue its strive toward mission successes.

The Effectiveness Measures mentor and monitor FLATE's project activities. They qualitatively and measurably determine Implementation and Impact Evaluation (September FLATE Focus) as well as benchmark Center achievement. They strongly support accountability, assess activity impact, and document the Center's transformative effect on manufacturing education. A distinctive property of any Sterling Management Program is in the role of project activities. In the simplest operational descriptive mode, the activity is never the focus. Every activity must lead (as determined by the Effectiveness Measures) to the success of its assigned Objective which, in turn, leads to the completion of the Objective’s associated Goal.

This approach has “Good News-Bad News” components. The “Good News” is FLATE's funding agency’s resources are not directed to a predestined, predetermined and declared set of specific activities. The Project Leader has degrees of freedom with respect to an activity and sequence of activities. The focus is on the success of the project because that leads to completion of the Objective. Project Leaders create new activities or change activity direction based on Effectiveness Measure data.

The “Bad News” is the fact that the project must lead to Objective success. Project activities can be modified, or they fail. New activities can be created and crafted. However, the Sterling mode requires projects be unalterably tied to Objectives. The Project Leader accepts success of the Objective (not the project) as their prime responsibility. Thus, projects are designed, or selected with great care that their purpose is clear. This requirement can be a challenge since it is easy to activate a project because some one likes it and is willing to do it, or the project is just easy to execute and ready to go.

An example will be presented as the closing for this segment of " A Closer View". Consider FLATE's Effectiveness Measure CE-14 ("number of articulations") with respect to Target Object 2.12 ("Facilitate articulations from ASET to new BSET programs in Florida.") In this case, the FLATE Leadership Team is assigned this objective and the number of articulations is a straight forward Effectiveness Measure. Target Objective 2.12 is in the resource allocation category to support Goal 2 (“To implement a statewide unified education system for manufacturing that positions manufacturing education as a convergent curriculum that optimizes technician preparation in manufacturing and its enabling technologies.").

To successfully increase the number of articulations, the activities that "report" to the CE-14 metric include: assessing the college's current program and needs; providing, if needed, faculty professional development events; meeting with officials at the four-year BSET program institution(s); and developing effective articulation agreements. The order, or specific execution of these activities is not initially declarable. However, the Leadership Team will use their time, talent, and customer provided resources to determine activities execution and sequence.

For this specific example, the activities have lead to completing the Target Objective as verified by the fact that the CE-14 (the Effectiveness Measurement for this objective) value is now 19. This value is the exact number of A.S. ET degree programs in the Florida College System. That is to say, any student that earns their A.S. ET degree in Florida can articulate that degree into a 4-year ABET accredited BSET program also in the State of Florida. 

For more information on FLATE & its organizational modules and structure visit, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at