Archives For evaluation

You just finished a project, event, engagement or training exercise. It’s time to get some feedback. What do you do next?

The After Action Review (AAR) was originally developed by the U.S. Army to analyze and report on training exercises. Today the military uses a range of formalities (as do countless industries and organizations), but the essence is to capture two elements: what went well and what can be improved in the future.

Socrates uttered the immortal phrase, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Examining professional events may seem less dramatic, but it’s a critical component if you wish to improve. Also, keep in mind that an AAR shouldn’t substitute for a comprehensive program evaluation. (In fact, an AAR only partially measures to Level 1 on the Kirkpatrick Learning Evaluation Model.)

Here are several simple tips for performing high quality after action reviews.

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What happens when you fall down? I have a pastor friend whose church plant recently had to shut its doors after a couple years of financial, emotional and time sacrifices. Another friend’s restaurant wasn’t able to renew the property lease and now it’s closed. Several colleagues have had high profile work projects in both the recent and distant past overlooked, postponed or shut down after significant mental and emotional effort. What comes next?

There’s no question that setbacks are a part of business – and a part of life. We can minimize some of them, but we won’t be able to avoid them completely. Once they happen, it’s what comes next that is the crucial part. If you find yourself encountering a setback, here are some next steps.

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Surviving Success

September 1, 2014
Today's guest post comes courtesy of Mark Miller, Vice President of
Organizational Effectiveness at Chick-fil-A and bestselling author. Receive his updates by visiting his website Great Leaders Serve or following him on Twitter.

Success is a lousy teacher. The best leaders know this and are always on guard against complacency. I recently received a question from a leader who has just completed a season of success. She is concerned her team won’t stay motivated.  How do you keep your team fully engaged in the wake of success?

This is a very thoughtful question. Most leaders are focused on “What’s next?” as we should be. However, the leader who posed this question has an intuitive sense that a let down could be around the corner. Without her leadership, she may be right.

Businessman Trophy

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All of a sudden you get put in charge of building a new training course for your organization. It could be leadership training, professional training or technical training. Doesn’t matter. So you do the hard work of analyzing the learning needs, developing objectives, designing content, coordinating the event and finally delivering the course. Mission accomplished! That is, until management asks for the evaluation results to find out what difference the course made. Now you’re just insulted. After all the hard work you put in, management thinks your course may have been a flop? The nerve!

This may be how you feel about evaluation… unless you have a built-in evaluation plan. In that case, you’ll be ready to hand over the results of your training before management even asks for it.

So how do you evaluate learning programs? In this post, I’d like to summarize the Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Learning Evaluation.

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“So Nathan, tell me what you do for a living?”

“Well, I’m a consultant.”

“A consultant? But what do you actually do?”

This is a typical conversation whenever I meet anyone new – and not just me, but for most folks in my profession. I don’t know why, but it’s always been a little tricky to explain what, in fact, I do for a living. “I solve problems,” or “I help people clarify what they want,” or “I build management solutions” are typical responses. A past employer taught us to say, “I help clients move from issue to outcome, with pace, certainty and strategic agility.”

Management Consultant What People Think I Do

The truth is that I help management understand their needs and then help build solutions to meet those needs. Since my specialty is organizational and talent development, the types of needs I address are usually related to the people and leadership side of organizations. My colleagues in other specialties do the same thing, but with finance, marketing, customers, supply chains, technology or countless other areas.

Whether you are officially a “consultant” or are a specialist, program manager, project manager or just plain responsible for some type of organizational change, I’d like to introduce you to a basic consulting methodology. Continue Reading…