Making Decisions with Data
Do questions about where your organization is headed and how well you are performing keep you up at night? Today’s leaders are faced with a difficult balancing act of improving current performance while preparing their organizations for the future. In both cases, data and information are critical to a leader’s ability to make informed decisions. CG Strategy can help you make choices grounded in the best available data.
Federal government executives seek to establish the tools and processes needed to collect, monitor and leverage data to make optimal programmatic and organizational decisions. Whether making big decisions about vision and strategy, or making daily decisions about program operations or organizational changes, leaders want to be as informed as possible. As resources decline and demands increase, leaders must work to increase accountability across their organizations to ensure their missions are achieved and customers are served as effectively and efficiently as possible.
CG Strategy understands how critical data is to enhancing and supporting decision-making at all levels. We help our clients understand what data is needed, collect relevant data, and assess the data to help inform decisions and promote accountability.
With CG Strategy
- Leaders have up-to-date quantitative and qualitative data to inform strategic and operational decisions.
- Tasks are informed by an intentional, well planned data and information collection process.
- Key stakeholders provide input through a formal data collection process that includes defined research questions, systematic information collection, thorough analysis, and follow up.
- Structured, repeatable systems and processes are put in place to allow for information collection in the future.
Without CG Strategy
- Leaders make strategic and operational decisions based on prior experience, intuition, and outdated information, leading to missed opportunities for program improvement.
- Projects or tasks may be informed by an ad-hoc collection of data and information meaning important trends and themes are ignored.
- A limited number of stakeholders (typically those who have existing relationships with the team) offer informal input and other critical perspectives are not incorporated into program changes.
- Organizations often have outdated information collection tools and lack clear, consistent processes to capture critical data.
An Operating Division with the Department of Health and Human Services engaged CG Strategy to conduct data-informed evaluations of two programs that support the Medicare eligible population. The evaluations shed light on each program’s current state (an “As-Is Assessment”) and led to the co-creation of a vision for the programs’ futures (“To-Be Visioning”). In order to build the As-Is Assessment, we first developed a logic model. Logic models help our clients understand how programs are designed to work by visually illustrating a programs’ inputs, outputs and intended outcomes.
After developing logic models to understand how the programs were designed to function, we assessed how the programs were actually operating. In partnership with the Operating Division, we used the logic models to design research questions that we could test through the collection of qualitative and quantitative data. We searched for the highest quality data available and gathered associated programmatic information. We analyzed the available data and information, and then we conducted a series of stakeholder interviews and focus groups with employees, leaders, volunteers, and members of the public who had used the programs’ services to provide reports on the current state of the programs.
The next phase of our work focused on using the data-based assessments to co-design a vision for the programs’ futures with the client. We applied the tenets of Appreciative Inquiry in the design, focusing on strengths and possibilities. For the first program assessed, we provided seven design recommendations to the program administrators based on the results of the As-Is Assessment. These ranged in scope from mission, to funding, to measurement, to resource efficiency. To date, many of the recommendations have been adopted and put into action. For the second evaluation, we used the data and information collected in the As-Is Assessment to help the program administrators develop a three-year strategy for the program, redefine the program’s performance measures, and create improved stakeholder communications and engagement strategies.
The Operating Division continues to experience the benefits of this work. As a result of our data-driven analysis, both programs have clear strategic directions, better measures of impact, and improved relationships with stakeholders. All of the changes that led to these outcomes were rooted in timely, relevant data and information.