“Data tells, but stories sell.” That old adage is repeated over and over, and when you research this online, there are literally hundreds of thousands of entries about the use of stories. One such entry, on page 1 in a Google search, from the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, had this headline: “Quit trying to sell stuff. Tell stories instead.”

As an instructor in The Mandt System®, I fully agree with this concept. I use stories a lot in my work. Laurie Anderson said that “technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.” Years ago all we had were campfires around which we sat to communicate with each other, and while the technology has changed, the art of telling the story has not.

However, our funding environment is such today that Evidence Based Practice is the word of the day. Not only do we need evidence, we are told, we need peer reviewed studies published in what are called “refereed journals.” Several of our faculty have written articles and books, but these will not be accepted because we are paid by The Mandt System, Inc. In a sense, we paid to tell others how good we are! But telling the story around a campfire, so to speak, is not enough. We need verifiable data.

What we need are people like you, people who pay us, so to speak, to tell others not just the stories of success, but the data behind the stories. There have been many instructors in The Mandt System® who have told us about how much restraint usage has decreased since using Mandt, or how many fewer staff are injured, or how the morale of employees has improved by focusing on building healthy relationships. These stories are good to hear and important to share.

Data that is verifiable is information coming from or agreed to by a third party such as a licensing body at the state or provincial level, or an accrediting body such as CARF, Joint Commission, the Council on Accreditation, and so on. When I worked as an administrator in residential services, various bodies such as these were able to review our data and attest to its’ authenticity or validity. But even if you do not have that, we would appreciate just getting your data!

If at all possible, the data should be in the form of a bar chart or a graph showing the frequency of the target being measured (such as restraint usage) prior to beginning Mandt training, and then the frequency after Mandt training. Other data points could be injuries, workman’s compensation costs, or thinking positively, changes in staff morale or staff turnover.

The more data we have from the people and organizations using The Mandt System® that independently verify the effectiveness of the program, the better. In this case, it really is data that will sell at the level of Evidence Based Practice. So send us your data, but keep telling your stories as well!

Bob Bowen – SVP Program Development