DO YOU HAVE ALL THE PIECES OF YOUR PUZZLE?
We can help you gain organizational insight through the process of Organizational Inquiry (OI), which is the art of identifying dynamics and unwritten rules for the purpose of improving organizational performance. OI is extremely helpful if an organization has reached an impasse or is lacking information needed to make important decisions. Through document review, interviews, job shadowing, or observations we gain an understanding of undocumented information, unofficial roles and processes, the flow of information, hidden agendas, fears – real or imagined, norms, beliefs, values and culture. When these unwritten and intangible forces are identified, EOI can work with you to develop informed solutions for improved performance.
Example: EOI worked with an organization that had underwent some very fast changes when their long-time CEO resigned suddenly. Although they hired a replacement the board was not sure everything that needed to be done was getting done nor who was doing it. They were especially worried about grant writing and management. The board knew that the service “numbers” were down but they were not sure of the reason or what that meant.
EOI set up a plan to spend sometime in the program office listening and observing. We meet with all relevant staff members individually and sometimes as a group. After spending about 6 days spread over a couple weeks collecting data EOI was able to provide the board with the information they were seeking, which in turn helped them make some decisions. These decisions clarified some issues, which led to improved performance by staff and the program as a whole.
HOW DO YOU CAPTURE VALUABLE INFORMATION?
The term program evaluation is generally used by nonprofits, while for-profits often refer to the same activities as quality improvement. It is basically the same thing, however, which is the process of intentionally trying to measure what you do, how you do it and whether you get the results you want. Program evaluation and quality improvement are more focused than organizational inquiry, concentrating on the product or services produced.
Despite its more focused approach, many different styles and types of evaluation and quality improvement methodologies exist. EOI can work with you to identify what you need to measure and how to measure it. Each organization and program within an organization is unique so an evaluation is designed to meet your needs and budget.
EOI can help you develop a logic model, if necessary, to represent the resources you have, the activities in place and the short and long term outcomes you are working toward. We can help you find or develop for you, the tools you need to collect information and how to use these tools.
Quantitative methods include counting things and looking at numbers. Qualitative methods involve talking, listening and watching people, either one-on-one or in groups. Both types of methods can use surveys and questionnaires to collect data. EOI works with organizations to develop easy and simple ways to integrate collecting information into their daily activities. We don’t want to make more work for you. We want to help you work smarter.
Example: EOI worked with a children’s golf program that brought golf lessons to elementary school children. The program also focused on teaching the values which are part of golf, for example taking turns, into the children’s daily lives. The golf curriculum was well developed and written but did not include a way to determine if children actually learned the lessons about values and put them into action. After talking with staff and reviewing the program materials, EOI developed an observation tool. It took the form of a small pamphlet with items to look for and check off while staff observed the golf lessons. The tool included a way of quickly scoring the lesson, which enabled comparison to a standard and between classes. We were able to use identified goals and activities from the curriculum manual, concepts the staff was already familiar with, which made using the tool very easy.
Change is certain and often unpredictable. Are you keeping up? Are your procedures and processes keeping your business effective and efficient? Do you know where you want to go?
Whether developing something from the ground up or just making adjustments to existing entities, a mindful look and purposeful questions can result in great improvements to your organization.
EOI works with staff and leadership to develop logic models, mock-ups, storyboards, program theories, In Situ scans, needs assessments, and process and relationship maps. These are just a few tools that help identify where you are and how to get where you want to go.