The PerformanceStat Potential

The PerformanceStat Potential: A Leadership Strategy for Producing Results

Robert D. Behn
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  • Book Info
    The PerformanceStat Potential
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2528-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments: Years in the Making, a Cast of Thousands
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. 1 CompStat and Its PerformanceStat Progeny
    (pp. 1-11)

    One night in the winter of 1994, Jack Maple was sitting in Elaine’s—an expensive, four-star restaurant and celebrity hangout on the Upper East Side of Manhattan—drinking. As befits any urban legend, the reports on what he was drinking differ. As Maple remembered the night, he was on his third glass of champagne.³ Maple’s boss, William Bratton, recalled that he too was in Elaine’s that night and insisted that Maple, because he knew that he “might get called to a crime scene at any time,” usually drank multiple cups of double espresso.⁴

    Regardless of whether Maple was inspired by...

  6. 2 Searching for PerformanceStat
    (pp. 12-25)

    “PerformanceStat” covers all of the CompStats, CitiStats, and other variants and adaptations of NYPD’s original performance strategy. Some of these are “AgencyStats,” designed to improve the performance of a single public agency. Others are “JurisdictionStats,” designed to improve performance throughout an entire government. Every one is an effort to employ and adapt (if only implicitly) the ideas underlying NYPD’s CompStat. Some, such as other cities’ CompStats, are direct descendants of the original—carefully modeled after a visit to One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan. Similarly, many CitiStats are based on visits to Baltimore. Still others were created without any site...

  7. 3 Clarifying PerformanceStat
    (pp. 26-42)

    What exactly is CompStat? Or CitiStat? How could anyone recognize an effective PerformanceStat? How could anyone tell whether something that a governmental jurisdiction or a public agency claimed was its very own, apparently unique, performance-enhancing, results-producing “SomethingStat” was the real thing? Or merely mindless mimicry? What gives a PerformanceStat leadership strategy thepotentialto produce results?

    If the leadership team of a governmental jurisdiction or public agency wanted to create its own adaptation of this performance strategy, what should it do? What are the core leadership principles and key operational components that it would need to employ? How might these...

  8. 4 Distinguishing CompStat’s Impact
    (pp. 43-58)

    In the 1990s, crime in the United States “fell sharply,”³ “dropped precipitously,”⁴ “plummeted.”⁵ This decline was “very rapid,”⁶ “unique, unexpected, dramatic,”⁷ “remarkable,”⁸ “sudden, unexpected,”⁹ “unprecedented.”10Criminologists, civic leaders, even the police were surprised by “the crime ‘bust’ of the 1990s.”11Franklin Zimring of the University of California called itThe Great American Crime Decline.12Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago and Stephen Dubner (Levitt’s colleague ofFreakonomicsfame) asked: “Just where did all those criminals go?”13

    From 1990 to 2000, the U.S. murder rate (per 100,000 residents) dropped by 41 percent, from 9.4 to 5.5. The violent-crime rate (again,...

  9. 5 Committing to a Purpose
    (pp. 59-77)

    In 1994, when William Bratton first became New York’s police commissioner, he pledged to reduce the city’s crime by 40 percent in three years.³ This was a specific purpose—a significant commitment. WhenGoverningmagazine gave Bratton one of its “Public Officials of the Year” awards, it noted: “Most criminologists considered it a crazy idea—undoable, career suicide.”⁴

    “I’ve never seen anything like it,” observed criminologist Lawrence Sherman. Sherman, who began his career as an NYPD analyst and who had studied 30 police departments over the previous 25 years, noted:

    Police chiefs routinely say, “Don’t expect us to bring down...

  10. 6 Establishing Responsibilities Plus Discretion
    (pp. 78-94)

    In 2007, Lisa Nuñez retired as the chief deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, and Sheryl Spiller succeeded her. Inevitably, a major change within a leadership team brings other changes. And Spiller made one consequential change: who was primarily responsible for the department’s performance.

    For the Bureau of Workforce Services, Nuñez had placed the operational responsibility with its four division directors. Each director oversaw the work of five to ten local offices that provided temporary financial assistance and employment services. Thus, at the DPSSTATS meeting, the four division directors did the reporting. Nuñez wanted...

  11. 7 Distinguishing PerformanceStat’s Effects
    (pp. 95-122)

    On May 3, 2010, Mitch Landrieu became mayor of New Orleans. Unfortunately, concluded David Osborne (ofReinventing Governmentfame), Landrieu “inherited the least competent city government I’d ever seen in this country and the most corrupt.”³ On his second day in office, the mayor appointed Andy Kopplin to be his first deputy mayor. Kopplin quickly hired Oliver Wise to be policy director and Jeffrey Hebert to be director of blight policy. Within a year, Wise was the director of the city’s new Office of Performance and Accountability. By then, however, Kopplin, Wise, and Hebert had already held four BlightSTAT sessions.⁴...

  12. 8 Collecting the Data
    (pp. 123-144)

    As mayor of New York City, Ed Koch asked friends, as well as citizens on the streets, “How’m I doing?”³ Koch was looking for data—data to assess his performance as mayor, to reveal where his performance deficits might be, and to suggest opportunities for improvement. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any obvious source of data to help answer these questions. As mayor, he got real data on only one day out of 1,461—every four years on election day. But such data were not timely enough to be used to make strategic changes.

    Ed Koch was a politician. So what...

  13. 9 Analyzing and Learning from the Data
    (pp. 145-171)

    Robert Dunford, superintendent-in-chief of the Boston Police Department, opened the department’s biweekly CompStat session with a question: “What’s going on on the street?” Shootings in Boston were off, and Dunford wanted to learn why. As he told the department’s 50 top managers, “If we can identify what we are doing, we can replicate it.”

    Dunford’s question provoked a variety of answers: “Maybe the drug units” were having an impact, noted one officer. “There’s hardly anyone at the usual spots,” observed another. One district commander suggested that it might be “aggressive patrol.” “Quicker indictments” proposed another, explaining that the grand jury...

  14. 10 Conducting the Meetings
    (pp. 172-192)

    “Attention on deck!” a man in uniform bellows. Everyone stands. In from the back room, strides the New York City commissioner of correction. It is 8:00 on a Thursday morning in a double-wide trailer on Rikers Island—the beginning of the monthly meeting of “CorrectionStat.”

    Actually, no one calls it “CorrectionStat.” The official name is TEAMS, for “Total Efficiency Accountability Management System.” Still, think of it as CorrectionStat. For it is the Correction Department’s adaptation of CompStat.

    In lower Manhattan, it is a Friday morning, a little before 9:00. People are gathering for the monthly meeting of “ProbationStat.” The commissioner...

  15. 11 Carrying Out the Feedback and Follow-Up
    (pp. 193-206)

    As part of JobStat, the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) requires its 29 Job Centers to conduct their own, monthly CenterStat—their own mini-JobStat. At one CenterStat, there were 11 people in the room. Two were representatives from a vendor that found jobs for welfare recipients; eight were public managers from HRA, mostly white and middle-aged; one was a very young African American. He was probably 20-plus years old, but the kid looked 16.

    This CenterStat session began with a presentation from the vendor, accompanied by some questions from the center’s director. At one point, early in this...

  16. 12 Creating Organizational Competence and Commitment
    (pp. 207-226)

    With a CompStat meeting two days away, the zone commander and his three key deputies sat down to prepare: What questions would they be asked? And, what answers should they give?

    They nailed the questions—every one of them. Two days later when they appeared before the top brass, they were not asked a single question that they had not anticipated.

    The structured ritual of the PerformanceStat meeting—questions that require considered answers—canbe very valuable. Knowing that he would be publicly quizzed about what problems he faced and what he was doing (or planning to do) about them,...

  17. 13 Learning to Make the Necessary Adaptations
    (pp. 227-244)

    “Slumerville.” That’s what people called Massachusetts’s densest city, known for its rundown housing, abandoned industrial buildings, and political corruption.³ Not anymore. Today, Somerville is hot, funky—the place where “hipsters,” the young adults whom Richard Florida of the University of Toronto labeled the “creative class”⁴—want to live.⁵

    The change began when metropolitan Boston’s transit system was extended to Somerville’s Davis Square. It got a big boost when Joseph Curtatone became mayor.

    In 2003, when Curtatone first ran for mayor, he pledged to bring CitiStat to the city. As an alderman, Curtatone chaired the finance committee and knew how much...

  18. 14 Thinking about Cause and Effect
    (pp. 245-260)

    In 2006, the Scottish Executive (now called the Scottish Government) released a report on six experiments with a CitiStat strategy: “What Do We Measure and Why? An Evaluation of the CitiStat Model of Performance Management and Its Applicability to the Scottish Public Sector.”³ As I read the report, I was surprised. Public executives in Scotland seemed to understand the complex, causal behaviors and appreciate the subtle nuances of Baltimore’s CitiStat leadership strategy significantly better than many in the United States.

    U.S. public executives who worked so much closer to Baltimore did copy the visible features of CitiStat: data, projectors, meetings....

  19. 15 Appreciating Leadership’s Causal Behaviors
    (pp. 261-281)

    In 1937, Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick published their classicPapers on the Science of Administration. In the opening essay, Gulick—a leader in the effort to make public administration more, well, scientific—asked: “What is the work of the chief executive? What does he do?” Gulick’s answer was POSDCORB, an acronym for: Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Co-Ordinating, Reporting, and Budgeting. Into these seven “functional elements,” Gulick argued “can be fitted each of the major activities and duties of any chief executive.”³ Impressive.

    Still, Gulick’s list of the chief executive’s activities and duties neglects something important: leadership. His vision of...

  20. 16 Making the Leadership Commitment
    (pp. 282-302)

    In 1993, Congress enacted and President Bill Clinton signed the Government Performance and Results Act or GPRA, which sought to “improve Federal program effectiveness and public accountability by promoting a new focus on results.” It was also designed to “help Federal managers improve service delivery, by requiring that they plan for meeting program objectives.”

    That’s an interesting juxtaposition of words: “help … by requiring.” If the members of the leadership team of any organization conclude that improving the delivery of its services would benefit from the creation of a plan, can’t they just do it?

    Of course, the word “help”...

  21. APPENDIX A Eight Possible Societal Explanations for Crime Decline
    (pp. 303-310)
  22. APPENDIX B Operational Issues for Regular PerformanceStat Meetings
    (pp. 311-315)
  23. APPENDIX C The Motivational Consequences of Feedback and Rewards
    (pp. 316-318)
  24. APPENDIX D Causal Contributors to the Missing Competences
    (pp. 319-322)
  25. Notes
    (pp. 323-400)
  26. Index
    (pp. 401-413)
  27. Back Matter
    (pp. 414-415)