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Archive for month: September, 2020

September 22, 2020
22 Sep 2020

Thinking Together – What is a ‘Thought Partner’?

A “thought partner” is someone other than one’s typical work colleagues who helps organizational leaders to consider an organization’s strategic issues. Thought partners typically add value to conversations about strategy by bringing to bear an experience-based perspective, a genuine curiosity about key issues, and a range of listening and question-asking skills that assist organizational leaders to formulate innovative plans for an organization’s future direction. Thought partners ask good questions, are sensitive to the values and ultimate purposes of the organization, and although they challenge ‘business-as-usual’ assumptions, are non-judgmental about other’s ideas and viewpoints. Thought partners challenge organizational leaders to think innovatively and to assume a creative perspective in order to solve what are often seemingly intractable problems.

One of the key aspects of an effective thought partner is an objectivity that comes from the thought partner’s externality to the organization. (See “4 Advantages of an External Consultant”) Thought partners must be empathic, intellectually flexible, and inventive. Because thought partners are not enmeshed in the daily politics and interpersonal competition of the organization, they are able to offer an impartial view of the issues and challenges that leaders must work with.

Brad Rose Consulting has 25 years of experience not only conducting evaluations and conducting organizational development initiatives, but as serving as a thought partner to our clients. Our experience provides us with a source of broad-based knowledge about the issues that non-profit and educational leaders face. We are experienced at asking good questions, listening to clients’ perspectives, helping organizations to envision future directions, and helping clients to take immediate steps to strengthen their organizations’ effectiveness.

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September 8, 2020
08 Sep 2020

What is Evaluation and Why Do It?

What is Evaluation?

Program evaluation is an applied research process that examines the effects and effectiveness of programs and initiatives. Michael Quinn Patton notes that, “Program evaluation is the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs in order to make judgements about the program, to improve program effectiveness, and/or to inform decisions about future programming.

Program evaluation can be used to look at:

  • the process of program implementation,
  • the intended and unintended results/effects produced by programs,
  • the long-term impacts of interventions.

Program evaluation employs a variety of social science methodologies–from large-scale surveys and in-depth individual interviews, to focus groups and review of program records. Although program evaluation is research-based, unlike purely academic research, it is designed to produce actionable and immediately useful information for program designers, managers, funders, stakeholders, and policymakers. (See our previous article “What’s the Difference? Evaluation vs. Research”

Why Evaluate?

Program evaluation is a way to judge the effectiveness of a program. It can also provide valuable information to ensure that the program is maximally capable of achieving its intended results. Some of the most common reasons for conducting program evaluation are to:

  • monitor the progress of a program’s implementation and provide feedback to stakeholders about various ways to increase the positive effects of the program
  • improve program design and efficacy
  • measure the outcomes, or effects, produced by a program, in order to determine if the program has achieved success and improved the lives of those it is intended to serve or affect
  • provide objective evidence of a program’s achievements to current and/or future funders and policy makers
  • elucidate important lessons and contribute to public knowledge

There are numerous reasons why a program manager or an organizational leader might choose to conduct an evaluation. Program evaluation is a way to understand how a program or initiative is doing. Learning about a program’s effectiveness in a timely way, especially learning about a program’s achievements and challenges, can be a valuable endeavor for those who are responsible for programs’ successes. Evaluation is not simply a way to “judge” a program, but a way to learn about and strengthen a program. Moreover, evaluation can help to strengthen not just a particular program, but the organization that hosts the program. (See “Strengthening Program AND Organizational Effectiveness”)

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