AZENet Week: Musing on Evaluator Competencies by Michel Lahti

Michel Lahti
Michel Lahti

Good Day! I am Michel Lahti, PhD and CEO at LeCroy & Milligan Associates, Inc. an evaluation firm located in the Old Pueblo – Tucson, Arizona. Currently, I am serving as the Tucson Region Chair for the Arizona Evaluation Network. I have conducted and managed evaluation services in state government, university settings and now in the private sector. An area that I think a lot about is the “best” set of skills and knowledge that are necessary for someone to grow and succeed as a professional evaluator. I want to share with you some hard Lessons Learned — and a few Rad Resources for you to consider.

Lessons Learned:

  • Good evaluators are BOTH effective consultants, collaborators AND keen, analytic thinkers. People who succeed in this profession are really good at developing relationships with others and have some analytic chops. It is not good enough to have just one set of these competencies — evaluators have to be able to perform well in both areas.
  • Good evaluators are effective communicators. Doing quality work happens when we succeed with our partners, clients in developing a shared understanding of “what” we are doing, “why” we are doing it, and “who” it will benefit.
  • Good evaluators are lifelong learners and courageous. They’re not afraid to experiment to find better ways to do the work. The stakes are too high and don’t allow for inflexibility — if you get complacent, then you need to find a different gig.
  • Good evaluators are artists. A quote I really like is attributed to Francis Bacon, “The job of the artist is to always deepen the mystery.” I think the same is true of a competent, caring evaluator – the job is to deepen the mystery. Always look to engage everyone in the work.

Rad Resources: 

  • Of course, the work that AEA and others associated with AEA have done on the topic of evaluator competencies I have benefitted from for over 20 years. I encourage you to start with these competencies.
  • I really like the work of the NeuroLeadership Institute. In particular, their work on feedback in organizations and blog, Your Brain at Work.
  • I am constantly referring to The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky. I think good evaluators are leaders and effect change – really!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our AZENet members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “AZENet Week: Musing on Evaluator Competencies by Michel Lahti”

  1. Sherice Gayden

    I found your lessons learned an important description of what evaluators should do and consider. I am just learning this field no and found your recommended resources interesting and will look them over as well.

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