Judith Kallick Russell on Translating Findings Into Action
Hello Colleagues! My name is Judith Kallick Russell. I am an independent evaluation consultant in civic engagement, community development and peace building. My clients are national organizations (NGOs) and international organizations (UN agencies, international NGOs and foundations). In my work, I have found that it can be challenging at the report writing stage to provide findings and recommendations which are easily translated into actions for clients. The following are some ideas to address this.
Hot Tip: Include boxes or comments on the side in the findings section which suggest questions for reflection. There may be findings which raise questions you feel require further consideration by the client. Including thought provoking questions or comments in the report – visually separate, but linked to a finding – can encourage the client to explore the issue after the consultancy is completed.
Hot Tip: Frame your recommendations in stages or levels. Some organizations are not ready or able to make big changes at the moment of the evaluation. Once you learn from them what they feel capable or interested in doing, you could structure your recommendations providing options with stages or levels. For example, you might want to describe recommendations for a particular issue according to good, better and best.
Hot Tip: Make time for dialogue when finalizing the report. Consider establishing a process for finalizing the report in the very beginning. You might want to gain informal feedback from a few key stakeholders. Then provide a finalized draft to a representative group within the organization. Maybe conduct a workshop about main findings and recommendations, encouraging participation and collective thinking to deepen their understanding of the issues they face. Incorporate all input into the final report as you see fit. Be sure to focus who you ask input from and what input you are asking for, give clear deadlines, and phrase communications in a way where you are not stuck waiting for someone’s response.