Tuesday, 15. May 2012 7:47
This is the 5th in a series of posts were we explore one of 5 Evaluative Practices, that if adopted put you on the path to being evaluative. The last post highlighted how important it is to Leverage and Link Your Efforts so you are designing efforts that maximize resources and have the greatest likelihood of success. Take-aways from that post are the following:
- Recognize that your organization is part of an environmental landscape and understanding where you fit within that and your unique contribution can be helpful in narrowing in on the outcomes you hope to accomplish.
- Outcomes don’t happen by magic at the programmatic or organizational level. They occur because one has thought through a pathway of activities/strategies, relationships, interactions and changes that are most likely to lead to the desired end.
The next critical practice is to “differentiating what you want to know, can know and need to know.” Once you get to this point, you have adopted the idea that information is important and it’s not all what you can see and feel but also what you can demonstrate. This is all about knowing how to ask the right questions at the right time .
As you continue on this journey, distinguish between the information needed to determine if your efforts are 1) progressing as intended, and 2) having the impact desired.
Getting clear on what information (guided by the most relevant questions) is most salient to your work and intention and being comfortable with what you can know (based on available data, time frame, resources, appropriateness, etc.) is an evolutionary process. Like sport you wish to master, it takes time and
training for the muscles to respond and behave in the way you wish. Part of that journey is knowing what equipment best suit your style and preference and yields the desired results as well as determining a training schedule you can stick to (more on that in our final post).
Some tips to pave the way include:
• Understand where your organization or efforts sits in terms of its overall development
• Know the difference between process and outcome questions and at what stage in your development it makes the most sense to ask what
• Look to your colleagues who engage in similar work or efforts and ask if they might share their thinking, internal working documents including logic models, evaluation frameworks and measurement tools.