Activities vs. Results
This is the core distinction in Results First.
Watch this video to see the distinction and how to use it.
Let’s dig deeper. Consider these statements:
- All 20 challenged youth have completed the full 12 week anger management program.
- We have over 20 community partners strongly engaged in after school reading.
- Our services meet all quality standards set by regulators and our own policies.
- We completed our new strategic plan. And we had widespread and very diverse participation in doing so.
Each sounds great, until we dig deeper.
- Is the activity of sitting through anger management classes lead to control of rage? If not, the program will have little or no effect on juvenile justice re-involvement.
- Of the full set of children in these after school programs, how many have increased grade level reading? If few, engaging as an activity is not proving effective.
- Do those quality standards forecast effective gains by service recipients? Many do not. The age of a building or formal credentials of staff or formal records kept are most often weak predictors of success.
- Fine, you have a plan written with great participation. Did anyone read it? Much more importantly, did anyone do anything to implement it? And at the top of the power curve: did that implementation improve anything.
Activities and results are not opposites. They are ends of a continuum that goes from your first action step to the final impacts made. In the middle of that line are often products – such as a completed plan or design or a software ready for use. The next step towards results is use of the product, followed by gains from that use.
You move from efforts to success by asking a very simple question of any activity, process or product created: So What? This applies to so many areas–for example resumes. We read that Suzie or Jose “worked collaboratively with leadership teams” or “managed the recruitment of new teachers.” So What. Were great new teachers hired?
Want a comment on how you are doing? Email Hal Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.