Hi, my name is Michelle Baron. I am the Associate Director of The Evaluators’ Institute, an evaluation training organization, and the chair of the curating team for aea365.
As a retired Army veteran, I have conducted many evaluations with a wide range of stakeholder support. I have found three techniques to facilitate a well-received evaluation:
Cool Trick #1: Cultivating an environment for teaching and learning helps to put organizations at ease when going through the evaluation process. When you take away the “I gotcha!” and replace it with valuable instruction organizations can use for future improvement, you help to build a bridge of trust between you as the evaluator and the organization. When organizations contact YOU with evaluation ideas for their workplace, you know a good working relationship is blossoming.
Cool Trick #2: Referring organizations to helpful resources (both online and offline) helps to increase their self-sufficiency and foster productive conversations before, during, and after the evaluation. Military websites often have links to regulations and manuals that foster development of criteria and standards for a given topic.
Cool Trick #3: Increasing evaluation capacity by offering evaluation training in a given area (e.g., physical fitness, vehicle licensing) helps the organization to become not only familiar with policies and procedures of a particular content area, but helps them to be proactive and to think evaluatively regardless of whether they’re being formally evaluated.
I hope this Veteran’s Day brings you more in tune with the needs of your military stakeholders and that you can approach evaluation with a caring and helpful attitude so stakeholders will see the value in the work and reciprocate accordingly.