Government agencies are encouraged to adopt business practices to improve program performance. But there are significant differences between the private and public sectors, both in the nature of the commodities offered and the way people in decision-making roles maximize utility. These differences are likely to affect the success of such endeavors. We examine efforts by the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop a National Drug Control Strategy. A theoretical model of performance-based management is developed within this context that allows us to identify tensions that are inherent in any system of this kind. Some basic methods for reducing tension are then discussed. Given the generality of the model, it is possible the observations offered here are relevant to other policy problems requiring multi-agency coordination.