My Process: Transformation By Design
I've created many programs and directed countless projects that were successful. The strategies and tactics I implemented were the most appropriate to achieve their intended outcomes.
I've also worked on projects that didn't reach their desired results. While their intentions were worthy and unintended positive outcomes are admirable, they didn't fulfill their goals.
For example, if the goal was to enroll ninety people in a program and only ten did, the project did not achieve its intended outcomes. Change didn't happen. Something didn't work. Your valuable resources were not used wisely.
Here's how my proven process works.
1. Use a tested recipe
I identify the most appropriate course of action(s) to take to address substantiated needs, gaps, and opportunities that are in alignment with your mission, vision, values, and strategic goals and can be sufficiently supported by adequate resources.
While we can only know for certain if a plan was successful after it has been fully implemented, my experience and expertise are critical to ensure your desired results are achieved.
2. Substantiate the need
One of the most common reasons projects get off on the wrong foot is by assuming or perceiving that needs, gaps or opportunities exist without sufficient evidence. It's important to prove that these actually exist in the first place before you pursue if and how to address them.
Needs, gaps and opportunities can be substantiated by collecting and analyzing information. Data can be obtained by conducting a needs assessment, implementing surveys, indirect or direct research, market analysis, interviews and more.
If you already have substantiated your need, I'd like to know how. If possible, I'd like to look at the data.
4. Create the plan
I use a variety of tools to create an action plan. The Logic Model is a good example of one of them. Used correctly, this model outlines the key components needed to implement the plan and helps answer important questions:
Problem Statement: What problem does this intervention, project, or program address?
Goal: What is the overall purpose the intervention?
Rationale and Assumptions: What are some implicit underlying dynamics? Have we tested and substantiated them?
Resources: What do we have to work with and what do we need?
Activities: What will will do with your resources?
Outputs: What are the tangible products of our activities?
Outcomes: What changes do you expect to occur as a result of your work?
Impact: What long-term effects will be produced by your activities? (directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.)
3. Determine strategy and courses of action
An intervention is the course of action I take to actually meet a need, fill a gap, seize an opportunity, or solve a problem. It's an intentionally implemented strategy based on knowledge, skills, understanding, and values.
A potential intervention can include many tactics. It may be a new strategic plan, collaboration or partnership, awareness or marketing campaign, a grant program, training or education, a rebranding effort, fundraising, technology, services, resources, outreach, the list goes on.
Interventions are not siloed; they can and often overlap. For example, a new grant program may require fundraising, marketing, branding, education, outreach, and evaluation.
I learned about escalating commitment in graduate school. It means that even though you're increasingly getting negative outcomes from a decision or action, you nevertheless continue with the original plan instead of altering course. Bad idea!
Evaluation and feedback loops are embedded into my plan. When new information or changing circumstances are presented during a project, I adapt my course of action once in progress if needed. The Lean Start-Up describes this agile method in detail.
5. Implement and monitor the plan
It's time to collect the information (already built into the plan) to assess and measure expected outcomes. I collect qualitative and quantitative data to show results.
I create a report interpreting the results, describing lessons learned, and outlining next steps. The report is circulated, discussed, and used as an active strategic document.