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Why Stat Programs Aren’t Just for Sports Fanatics

Posted February 8, 2013 10:24 AM by Melanie Burton

Stat Programs, performance measurement tools that focus on data analysis, are becoming increasingly more ubiquitous. One could say they are the new black- not only are they the color of the season, but they’re here to stay and will soon be looked upon as classics. When using Stat Programs, you know you’ll look good because they help you make headlines. Stat Programs drive performance, and the results are change, success, and innovation. While sports enthusiasts have undoubtedly heard of Stat Programs, they may not be acquainted with the new face of the Stat Program movement: government. 
Stat Programs, or at least data driven reviews in general, are becoming increasingly popular and important among all branches of government (state, local, and federal). Political candidates are deploying them on the campaign trail, and laws are being made that require them. Stat Programs themselves have broadened their original focus on numbers to functions that include and demand a management style, making them useful beyond winning baseball bets with your buddies.  
Stat Programs tell a story and create a culture.  Unlike Stat Programs that sports aficionados are familiar with, these new Stat Programs move beyond data analysis and toward creating a performance-based culture. They create a decision making process as well as a management style. Stat Programs in the government allow one to not only hone in on a problem definition, but also help identify the cause of the problem.  This in turn helps you determine how well your proposed solution is working.
The management style that is built in to the implementation of a Stat Program requires you to continuously gather the data, analyze the data and infer what the data is really saying. So, if the proposed method to solving a problem isn’t working, the very nature of Stat Programs puts the user in a position to recognize in a timely manner that a new approach is needed. And, what’s more, Stat Programs put you in the room with the right people to drive and demand change. The executives, the approvers of new directions and strategies, are there. Stat Programs both elicit and require involvement. They streamline the decision-making process using facts to clarify the problem. If everyone at the table can agree on the problem, and the movers and shakers are there to facilitate the transition from brainstorming to producing actionable strategies, then real progress can begin. Bob Behn put it best in stating, “PeformanceStat is not a system or a model. It is a leadership strategy. For to achieve the strategy’s potential, to produce real results, requires active leadership.” 
This is the first in a series about Stat Programs. Tune in next time to learn about what a successful Stat Program entails.  
And, just in case you’d like learn more about Stat Programs in the government, a great example is Governor O’Malley’s Maryland StateStat. http://www.statestat.maryland.gov/