Wednesday, 22. February 2012 14:55
Our last post outlined the importance of adopting 5 Evaluative Practices . Two key take-aways from that post are that the adoption of an evaluative mindset: 1) supports organizations ‘ in more intentionally aligning efforts and decisions in support of its mission in a demonstrable way, and 2) that it’s the purview and responsibility of the organization to do so (don’t need a consultant).
As we reflect on our numerous and varied clients, one practice, if present, makes our work as consultants much easier and ultimately yields a much more rewarding, satisfying and successful engagement. This is particularly true when we are engaged in evaluation related work. Know Thyself.
This can be the hardest piece of becoming evaluative. It requires a sense of honesty and a reality check that is often counter to the desire to fix/save/heal that which drives people to the work. This holds true for the individual leader as well as the organization itself. The reality is… work in the social and philanthropic sector is very personal AND it has limitations as well as opportunities. Being clear about the degree to which you are comfortable with and able to test your assumptions about why you do the work and the change you seek as a result of your efforts is a precondition to officially embracing the evaluative journey. It opens you to what is possible and a sense of clarity about what can be accomplished not want you hope will happen.
To see if you (or your organization) are ready, try on these questions and see where they take you and equally important how this initial journey makes you feel:
- What values do you bring to this work? Are they transparent to others? Are they shared by the organization as a whole?
- How are your values shaping the way you define the issue(s) your organization seeks to address? The outcomes you seek? The strategies undertaken? Again, are they shared by the majority of the organization and are you willing to make them transparent?
- Are you more committed to what you do then the impact your efforts are having?
- As a leader (positional), are you willing to take the organization where you think it needs to go to truly be impactful regardless of the implications? Do you have enough support (Board (at least one) and staff) to join you on this journey?
Your comfort in exploring these questions as well as your answers, will provide a keen assessment of whether you are ready or rather what you might need to do to get ready to begin transitioning your organization to evaluative. It will also help you identify the type of consultant partner that may assist on this journey or at least part of it.
And if there are other questions that you think help unpack this practice, please share those as well as your experience in answering these questions.