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The PerformanceStat Potential

A Leadership Strategy for Producing Results

Robert D. Behn
Release Date: June 24, 2014

A Brookings Institution Press and Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation publication It started two decades ago with CompStat in the New York City Police Department, and quickly jumped...

It started two decades ago with CompStat in the New York City Police Department, and quickly jumped to police agencies across the U.S. and other nations. It was adapted by Baltimore, which created CitiStat—the first application of this leadership strategy to an entire jurisdiction. Today, governments at all levels employ PerformanceStat: a focused effort by public executives to exploit the power of purpose and motivation, responsibility and discretion, data and meetings, analysis and learning, feedback and follow-up—all to improve government’s performance.

Here, Harvard leadership and management guru Robert Behn analyzes the leadership behaviors at the core of PerformanceStat to identify how they work to produce results. He examines how the leaders of a variety of public organizations employ the strategy—the way the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services uses its DPSSTATS to promote economic independence, how the City of New Orleans uses its BlightStat to eradicate blight in city neighborhoods, and what the Federal Emergency Management Agency does with its FEMAStat to ensure that the lessons from each crisis response, recovery, and mitigation are applied in the future. How best to harness the strategy’s full capacity? The PerformanceStat Potential explains all.

Robert D. Behn is a lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he is faculty chair of the executive education program "Driving Government Performance: Leadership Strategies that Produce Results." He is the author of Rethinking Democratic Accountability (Brookings) and writes the online monthly Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.