Most of us are big evaluators. We evaluate programs, people and processes all the time. Often it is failure or lack of achievement that tends to be the starting points for evaluation.

  • Maybe you are not getting the results you wanted from the follow-up program you have started – let the evaluation begin!
  • Your first time guest numbers have dropped precipitously – let the evaluation begin!
  • Your diet is not working as you had hoped – let the evaluation begin!

Good evaluation can often find the root that caused a failure. Here is my big question: How and when do you do an autopsy on success? I have discovered that what we (or I) often think are the reasons for success – may not be! We must dig into the details and find out what is really driving the success. If we don’t know why something is working, we may be unable to replicate the success.

Let’s say you have steady growth in starting new small groups – new leaders attend your training class and start new groups. A quick survey may reveal that everyone who attends your training class starts new groups – so you really start pushing the training – because that seems to be the “why”. So, more people are enlisted in the training class and you believe more groups are on the way. But, what actually happens is your percentage of new groups starting from this class reduces dramatically. What do you do? Your first thought is poor leadership or a lack of follow through. You bump up the resources but the results are negligible. Now you try new times etc. And the cycle goes on …

What if when you first saw success you had done more evaluation and research into the “why” of your win? Now you go back and dig deeper. You discover the training class was not the genesis of your success it was 2 teachers who were building into the DNA of their group – multiplication. These teachers are constantly holding up the vision of new groups. Each semester they sent 2 people from their groups to the training class. Now you know that the “secret sauce” begins at the group level! Going forward, you can make a plan that helps every small group embed into their DNA – Multiplication!

What are you doing that is working – and now you need to evaluate as to the “why”? We all make assumptions – dig in and find the truth – figure out the special sauce and maximize it!