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Polishing my pearls!


Polishing my Pearls!

Aside from brushing my teeth to keep them pearly white, I have learned to evaluate my services by the often wee, meaningful repeatable improvements that others run with as a result of our work; the small pearls that are absolutely necessary for people to move ahead, to build on and create big things together.

Quantity of assessments, clients served or workshops delivered is important for consolidating skills, for practice and understanding what makes repeatable success. However, quantity and repetition alone are not indicators of expertise or mastery.

The quality of engagement with clients is my measure of success; the quality and impact of our communication, the power and relevance of our questions, the tolerance we build to challenge and trust tell me we are developing change capacity. Quality is an important factor when it comes to risk taking and innovation. Quality of engagement builds trust and confidence to make change.

Beyond any change model, examining with curiosity the why, how and what ifs of a change yields deeper and sustainable shifts that go towards people understanding and owning a change versus simply making it because it has to be done. If I have facilitated high quality shifts, they should be sustainable and repeatable. True changes agents are often not there to see the real impact they have. The change agent’s job is to facilitate opportunities for transformation; we are not the transformers.

Key indicators and measures that my service; i) targeted what it was supposed to, ii) was delivered in a relevant and meaningful way and iii) was supported and understood by the people responsible for implementation lie in the following:

  • Positive reactions to the service, part of which is demonstrated through trust to collaborate as we design and build programs such as change plans, communication strategies, training and facilitation
  • Behaviour changes that are sustained over time
  • Measurable return on investment, e.g. customer feedback, team outputs, speedier recovery and new learning from set backs, successfully executed changes, elevated participation rates and scores on engagement / satisfaction surveys, increased engagement of any sort, including resistance, dialogue and unplanned leadership
  • Macro level habits and skills sustained and developed over time such as: continuous learning, design and critical thinking, bias consciousness, communication awareness and development, change leadership capacity

More often than not, there are additional positive externalities that come about from our work.

A model that I appreciate for its spectrum of indicators of success over time is the Kirkpatrick model. A combined qualitative and quantitative approach is needed to cross-validate success.