Recipe for Effective Outcome Measurement

Fall is that time of year when we settle in, perhaps spend more time in self-reflection, and prepare for the winter ahead. We pack away our summer things, including that Carpe Diem carefree approach to living. Some of us feel the unmistakable signs of nesting: organizing closets, planning for upcoming holidays, and baking up a storm. My freezer has never been more crowded. Which is my segue into the GSS recipe for outcome measurement:

  1. Decide what to bake. First, determine the unmet needs in your organization, at individual, program, and administrative levels. Think surveys, interviews, current results, SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Who is in charge of outcome measurement? Do you have adequate personnel and resources to prioritize outcome measurement?
  2. Check your ingredients for special needs (gluten-free/veg/dairy-free, etc.) Next, choose specific, meaningful goals that are agreed upon by stakeholders. Think SMART goals. Think incremental, scaled goals that are individualized to each person’s needs and baseline.
  3.  Prepare the right tools for the right job. Why mix by hand if you have a blender? Let technology provide easy access, saving time and keeping it a positive process.
  4.  Mix well. Seek a complete picture of goal activity and engagement from the individual user to managers and administrators.
  5. Bake. This is the magical process of alchemy, matching goals to people and programs and providing the “just right” level of support to engage your users in updating their progress and getting feedback along the way.
  6.  Check when done. Generate customizable reports to find the data you need in real time, at ongoing intervals. Know when goals are met at incremental steps along the way.
  7. Enjoy. Share findings with all, use data to refine, support, or change strategies for ongoing evaluation that is responsive to change in real time. When all are engaged in achieving outcomes, there is cause to celebrate.