Discovering What Works – An Approach to Action Research and Action Learning
Discovering What Works is the fourth “season” in an organization’s annual cycle.
“Action Research and Service Learning as Longitudinal Approaches to Poverty Eradication, Economic Development, and Human Development”is the product of an ongoing research gambit that I am continuing to execute
In June 2010 I traveled to Uganda, Africa to extend the research I have been doing in this area as I attempt (in collaboration with others) to ferret out an approach to separating what works from what does not work in organizations. This approach is not simply a matter of measuring and modifying. It is a matter of designing. In Mintzberg’s words, crafting.
- How do we design organizations that achieve the purposes and intended outcomes they are intended to achieve?
- How do we differentiate what does work from what doesn’t work?
- How do we do this assessment and adjustment as an intrinsic part of our work in organizations?
This is a non-trivial, essential part of the quest to design organizations that can match our challenges in the 21st century and beyond.
Too many organizations calve off improvement initiative after improvement initiative and never check to see what results these initiatives achieve. The notion of “flavor of the month” has become a proverb in organizations. We almost expect that each new leader or each new budget cycle will produce a “rah-rah initiative” designed to save the day. (Also designed to allow the leader to place their thumbprint temporarily on the organization and bolster their political reputation.)
We rarely expect sound execution, follow up, or evaluation of the results that these initiatives produce.
Poor execution, poor follow up, and poor assessment and accountability are at the root of many of our organizational messes. If you want better results, design the performance measurement, assessment, and accountability systems to support delivering those better results.
Discover what works!