Evaluating Success

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted”
– Albert Einstein

I am a big believer in what Einstein says in the above quote. Leading people means that your endeavors are rooted in personal relationships. People don’t go around attaching numbers to the things that matter in relationships — things like love, and trust.

There are, however, many aspects to our shared work that can, and need to be measured. I’ll plan to explore some specific measurement strategies later, but first I want to unload a few of the things that I have picked up over the years related to evaluation of projects of various types. I’ve put them in a slide deck for easy browsing.

Contribution and Attribution

Sometimes when we search for attribution, that straight line of logic that confirms our logic model, we fail to both see and acknowledge a whole continuum of contributions by quiet, unassuming allies. Success is usually achieved by many, many small, often seemingly unrelated actions by people who share our vision. It is important to not get caught up in the hunt for causality, in search for the coveted “best practices.”

Even if we could identify each and every action, conversation, etc. that lead to an accomplishment, it still wouldn’t necessarily effectively inform future actions. This is because you can’t replicate every context, relationship, and cultural nuance that produced the initial win.

It is, however, important to acknowledge even the smallest contribution at the time it is being made. People need to know that their contributions, no matter how small, made a difference.  

Evaluation Resources

American Evaluation Association Public Library
Better Evaluation
Community Toolbox
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Author: johnhamerlinck

I am a writer, and a reader, speaker, consultant, and trainer with a fascination about how social change happens. I live in Minnesota, USA. Medium - https://medium.com/@HamerlinckJ

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