Evaluation … Why all the attention?
Evaluating results and impact has received a great deal of attention lately, particularly as we move into a VUCA world (What Vuca means to you – Harvard Business Review) against the backdrop of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (The Fourth Industrial Revolution, what it means and how to respond).
In the past, most measurement and evaluation theories and methodologies were extremely complex. And this necessitates a holistic and systemic way to evaluate impact and results. This article is not about the magic bullet for evaluation results and impact. It will guide you on how to plan what you want to measure and why.
The most critical aspect of evaluation is to remain focused and evaluate what you and the client agreed to. The end result is always to provide value and worthy accomplishments as we have seen in Standard 4 of our article on holistic performance (Holistic Performance a systems way to achieve results).
In this series of articles, I have focused on the previous 9 Standards for Performance Improvement. You can find a full explanation of these standards at www.ispi.org. As a quick recap, here is what was discussed in past articles.
Firstly, we focused on the first four standards known as principles as they are the lenses through which we apply systematic methodology of consulting and managing. Then our methodology guides us to how we do it. In Part 6 of our series, we discussed Standard 9, which deals with implementation. In this final part of the series, I will focus on Standard 10, evaluate results and impact.
STANDARD 10: EVALUATE RESULTS AND IMPACT
Standard 10 of the International Standards for Performance Improvement deals with evaluating results and impact. Competent practitioners help clients measure the impact of the solutions in the following way:
- Help clients select the appropriate measures.
- Develop a measurement strategy that includes ways to:
- Leverage data already being collected,
- Collect data,
- Analyse the data, and
- Summarise and report data.
- Help develop measurement tools and methods.
- Explain the implications of the data.
- Facilitate discussions on what the data mean and how to best use the data.
Here are some guidelines to help you do this:
- How and what gets measured and evaluated must be agreed upfront with the client.
- Decide the level-type or process for evaluation and measurement.
- Have a measurement plan. If you don’t have a plan, it is easy to get side-tracked.
- Provide a step-by-step measurement and evaluation process for feedback to the client.
- Change direction or metrics as and when needed.
- Always keep focused on the end results.
- Don’t be tempted to measure stuff the client has not agreed to.
- Beware of project scope creep or scope deviation.
- Keep a balance between too little or too much evaluation data.
- Stick to your evaluation and measurement plan.
- Plan your measurement and evaluation in phases.
- Partner with clients to capture and track performance data.
- Evaluate the results by comparing what you find to some goal or stakeholder expectation.
Important to remember:
- Understand the results they received from implementing the solutions.
- Recognise what else needs to be done to sustain the results.
- Support the changes necessary to sustain results.
- Model the importance of evaluation by measuring the effectiveness of their own methods and processes.
Getting a holistic view of performance evaluation
We are accountable for clients’ success regarding the change in performance as part of the total application of the 10 Standards for Performance Improvement. This is an important aspect as our credibility as valued partners of performance are critical. The other important aspect is the clients’ comfort to communicate progress, results, value and benefits to all stakeholders. We have seen during our journey of the 10 Standards for Performance Improvement the interconnectivity and holistic view of the entire process of performance consulting.
The key learning points are:
- In Standard 1, we lead and guide the client to focus on results and outcomes. This is extremely relevant when we embark on the evaluation process, which is standard 10.
- In Standard 5, we lead and guide the client to assist in determining the need, opportunity or gap. This again has extreme relevance to standard 1 and when we want to start our evaluation process, which is standard 10.
- Finally, in standard 10 when we evaluate the results and impact we have to link it to standards 1 and 5 because we need to determine whether we have achieved the final results as indicated by the client as well as whether we have closed the gap or addressed the opportunity or gap of standard 5. This is holistic, systemic view in action when we evaluate.
We will use many tools to bring about sustainable performance, however, the application tool below is an example of the items that should be considered in a holistic performance evaluation process. This will enable a systemic view of all the elements when planning what and how to evaluate results and impact.
The worksheet below is a planning tool to determine what information and data is required for evaluation of results and impact.
Measurement and Evaluation Information Planning Tool
Too often, performance consultants and management use very linear evaluation tools and methods. However, remember every evaluation should always complement and fit the culture of the client organisation. Our focus in holistic systemic performance is to focus our evaluation methods and metrics on this approach to improve performance. This will provide rich results and will ultimately contribute to sustained performance.
Credits and Links
This article is the 7th (final) Part of a series of articles on the 10 standards for Performance Improvement. The 6th Part was published on Being Better Matters on March 22. The previous Parts are available on improvidblog.com/.
This article was originally published on improvidblog.com/ and it has been republished with permission.
Useful websites, video and links:
Nel, B. (2019) Evaluation … Why all the attention? Being Better Matters 15 January. Available at https://www.beingbettermatters.net/evaluation-why-all-the-attention/ (accessed: date of your access)
Belia Nel is the founder member of Improvid Performance Consulting and holds a post graduate qualification from the University of Johannesburg. She has over 20 years work experience in organizational performance, performance management, talent development and learning including design, facilitation & training, coaching and training of trainers with experience cutting across all levels of staff and management. She has worked primarily in South Africa but also in many SADEC countries.