Diaspora to Home and Back – Key in Our Community Give Backs

The need for Caribbean diaspora collaboration and cooperation including home countries is not a new phenomenon for Meegan Scott and Magate Wildhorse Ltd.

It is the reason I deliberately designed a Caribbean Evaluators International, a VOPE for Caribbean Evaluators at home and in the diaspora.

Facilitating research, cross-fertilization, cooperation, and co-creation was integral in the design. Speaking the languages of the region was essential.

Below is the message used to launch the VOPE and the Jamaica, Chapter.

Another initiative led from the Canadian arm of the Jamaican and Caribbean diaspora.

History is important.

Before Caribbean Evaluators International and The Community of Practice for Caribbean Immigrant Entrepreneurs was the private Facebook Group, Sagacity North-Mart.

That forerunner to The CoP was created in April 2011. At that time I had not lived a year in Canada; but the need was crystal clear.

Sagacity North-Mart on Facebook

Sagacity North-Mart

“Sagacity North-Mart is an exchange and meeting forum for businesses, practitioners and academic minds involved in, or looking to participate in the CARICOM – North America international trade arena.

It was created by Meegan Scott, for bringing together small and medium sized entities; business and trade support agencies and associations; academia; media; buyers, market access and sales support professionals in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States of America for sharing viewpoints, insights and tips as well as for growing new partnerships for making trade easier among partners in those markets.

Sagacity North-Mart aims to be that well of wisdom from which practical answers to questions relating to finding contacts, suppliers, buyers, growing sales, entering the market, packaging, finding financing, logistics, quality, pricing, pit falls and how to avoid them will be answered by people who have been there and done that. It is also a help-line through which you can find answers to your questions as the need arises.

You are invited to share, network and participate actively, grow your bottom line even as you help someone else to grow theirs!” – Source: Sagacity North-Mart on Facebook.

Besides, conducting research into the status of Caribbean entrepreneurs in Canada, I had opened an independent desk with Latrea Corporation later Brand Scout and had plans to serve Canada, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe in particular though not exclusively. Latrea Corporation was owned by Eastern European immigrants to Canada.

A stint with Sobeys Supermarket, which I enjoyed and which I wish was closer to me so I could continue to have the opportunity to study sales and marketing in that sector served as another driver. That opportunity allowed me to seek the extent to which Caribbean exporters were losing out by not using in-store sales and promotion to drive the sales and mainstream of their exports.

The Community of Practice for Caribbean Immigrant Entrepreneurs was a natural progression since business and entrepreneurship was one other area in which we are left behind. Hence the need to hasten the pace of growing high performing businesses in the diaspora and at home.

Moreover, it is a must that those businesses participate in the processes for ensuring good governance, problem solving and democracy working at its best.

If we do not act together to improve our social and economic status, and be recognized as significant contributors to our host countries we will not be able to contribute to our home countries.  We need to position ourselves to be a more preferred demographic in our host countries before we can make more significant contributions to our home countries.

Windrush Scandal, Canadian and US deportation challenges are not just about racism.

We have a role to play in empowering our people to benefit and contribute more.

We need to earn a favourable position instead of “spurned” for a greater mass of our population. Unless we look at the combination of factors and own our role, as well as come together to make the needed change there will be even more heartache and loss ahead.

It is a two-way affair. Host countries must also strive to remove all artificial barriers, and level the playing field so those of us who are committed can contribute, if they too are to  benefit from immigration.

                            The Rally Call – Caribbean Evaluators International                              By Meegan Scott, Founding Board Chair

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The vision, commitment, aspirations, passion, needs, wants, obstacles, preferences, rights, and responsibilities that fueled the drive to deliver a VOPE for Caribbeans by Caribbeans.

Who planted the seed to act in my mind? An opportunity presented for VOPEs on the EvalPartners learning network.

What influenced the design of the VOPE experience as a Corporate Strategy Planner and longtime leader in Toastmasters International Jamaica, as well as University of New Orleans Alumni Association (Jamaica, Chapter), and of course hosting the Facebook Group Sagacity North-Mart.

Year: 2014

Whys and Wherefores of The Community of Practice for Caribbean Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Launch Year: 2018

 

 

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Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
 
We get asked the question ―What do you do, and who are your ideal customers so often?
And we are glad to answer it no matter how many times we are asked. After all we are here to understand your needs and to help you to better understand how we can help  or work together.
But, just in case you want to have a better idea before picking up the phone, or sending us a message,
I’m leaving a few quick answers at the link below.
 
CLIENTS, SERVICE DELIVERY PARTNERS, AND ASSOCIATES THAT WE SEEK
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Want to know how we can help you the professional or young manager? Want to know how we can help your organization, programme, or project? Your best chance ―hold that one-on-one conversation with us.
 
You’re welcome to message me, or call me up to learn more about the team, our service offer, and our wider service delivery capability.
 
But, if you’d still like to take a quick browse, visit our service catalogue on Facebook (No need to log in or to have a Facebook account, just click “not now” when prompted to sign in) https://goo.gl/t5iPzK.
 
Don’t fall in the trap of the inexperienced who believe it all lies in a CV, web site, or LinkedIn profile.
 
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Post-Execution Evaluation of Strategic Plans – IAF Interview

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IA-Forum: What is your approach to Monitoring and Evaluation strategic plans?

Magate Wildhorse and I thank the Association for Strategic Planning, and the International Affairs Forum (IAF) for the opportunity to speak on the topic of Evaluating Strategic Plans, Post-Execution  ahead of the ASP Conference 2018. This year’s conference theme: “Bridging the Strategy Execution Gap”.

Below Meegan Scott shares with Dimitri Neos of the International Affairs Forum on the Magate Wildhorse approach to evaluating strategic plans post execution. The pre-conference interview addresses post implementation strategic plan evaluation, a best practice for driving strategy execution success.

Our approach to pre-implementation evaluation of strategic plans was shared in the previous post. In the second post of the series we addressed monitoring the implementation of strategic plans.

IA-Forum:  What about the post-execution evaluation process?

Meegan Scott:  The task at hand in post-implementation is to make a judgement about the strength of the organization at a milestone review period (when we’re asked to do evaluation).

It could be a Mid-term Review of a Plan or at the end of a Plan Period.

We ask if the organization is stronger at the end of that milestone period or the planned period than when the plan was created, and at the start of execution.  Was the strategy executed successfully?  This is an attempt to assess the effectiveness of a plan in guiding the organization towards achieving improved performance.  We look at that in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, financial viability, cost effectiveness, and for some type entities, we would go deeper into looking at quality aspects. 

For that type of plan, let’s say for a manufacturer of clothing, we may use the Hoshin Planning Model to add those related lines of questions to the evaluation.  In general, we also look at how the plan helps the organization with adjusting to changes in the environment.  These include political factors, social factors, competitor inflation, interest rates, legislation and even ecological factors.  Sometimes, we’ll find that entities do not know all the governing legislation affecting them.  So, we normally place a table up at the front of a plan that includes governing legislations.

We also look at the plan logic and the premises and predictions.  How did those work according to plan?  Were they accurate, to what extent, and what needs to be adjusted?  We look at whether or not the plan helped to improve motivation in a desired culture and advance the mission of the organization.  We also look at its impact on the organization, on its history.

Did it help to create new history?  Did the plan carry out what was meant to be done?  Did it help to strengthen and improve financial management partnerships, program management, leadership at different levels, and HR capacity to support both the present and the desired future?  Analyzing HR capacity is in part to help management retain tacit knowledge in the organization rather than just staying put and waiting to hire staff.

Typically, the evaluation will take the form of a self-assessment.  Even though it may be a request for an evaluation by a donor, we try to make it into a self-assessment so that the client can benefit from owning and growing that culture of performance and measurement and improvement.

The client also benefits from receiving information for decision-making related to their strategic choices for strategy updates and reformulation for the next plan and milestone period. That adds much more benefit than if you did the evaluation with merely accountability in mind.  We therefore approach the evaluation with a view to gathering performance information, meeting accountability requirements, and to guide resource allocation.  Another important thing we look at is the infrastructure for delivering strategy.

If the organization is implementing multi programs as would be in the case of a government department, and many NGOs, the approach would be heavily influenced by the terms of reference.  That comes with a call for proposal versus if it was just the organization that came up with the idea and asked for a proposal.  In the latter case we are left with greater leverage in designing what it is that we will be doing.

Our approach includes a blend of evaluation approaches.  This depends on the competence of the organization in collecting and using performance information and the information needs outlined or that we glean from the call for the evaluation and the intended users.  That blend would involve components of the utilization focus evaluation approach.

It would include consultations for ensuring that the information collected will be of benefit and is what is desired by the organization and its stakeholders.  We may even use a theory-based evaluation approach for assessing the logic for addressing a particular problem, the effectiveness, and the context.

We would want to look at the theory of change, how it’s holding up against what was expected, the participants and their attitude, and how their participation impacts the outcomes for them.  We could also use a more all-inclusive strategic evaluation approach.  That would be a strategic evaluation into the outcomes and the impact of the target population.

Irrespective of the evaluation approach or blend thereof, we would consider planned results against actual results and unintended results.

So, going back to the strategic evaluation— we’d look at the results and service levels as well whatever they are creating, selling or giving away.  For outcomes, our examination would be in terms of their relevance and effectiveness.  For outputs, the focus would be the products or services and how efficient the organization was in producing them (the outputs). Other output related questions to answer would be— along the lines of how cost-effective it was to deliver the solutions, and the quality of those outputs that were delivered.

You also want to analyze the internal management and leadership as it relates to output processes that are involved and for developing them.

So you perform an individual level assessment and review of measures.  This can be an area of challenge or resistance.  The moment you begin to ask for job descriptions and such, expect a break or stop in information flow.  At the plan level, we review measures indicators, strategy identity, et cetera.

A key component of the exercise is the management response session that we’ll lead for discussing the findings, the recommendations, and the judgment.  From that, you’ll get feedback into how management feel about the judgment and the findings.  This may result in some insight about the context and maybe some adjustment.  You will also draw out of that process actions for improvement and try to get some calendar and resource commitments towards that.

A review of external literature and internal organizational documents is part of the process.  External literature includes literature of the external environment.  When looking at internal literature, we examine their reporting and administrative documents, the operations plan, the corporate strategy plan, performance reports, and minutes from board meetings.  Other methods or lines of evidence for data analysis could include conducting surveys, interviews, and consultations.  If some instances we must calculate, develop estimates, or undertake social media searches. At times we even have to look at or conduct lab research or participatory.

The output would be typically an organizational assessment and development report.  This would include the proposed strategic options and choices for informing the development of a new strategy plan, strategy update, or a plan for the next plan period.

Let’s turn to the kinds of questions that we would ask. Different evaluations may have their own unique questions.  But in general, we’d ask questions such as, what were the goals and objectives in the plan?  How did the organization perform based on the strategic intent stated in the plan and its related goals?  We’d also ask how effective did the organization use the plan to manage the delivery of its results?  That is, the priority, the focus areas, the approaches, and accountability.  Another question is: how easily or difficult did the plan make the performance management and measurement process?  Because if it is just a summary of a plan and not fully elaborated and support by measurable indicators, there’s going to be trouble at the execution stage.

An important question to ask is: does the plan include an alignment mechanism for cascading and aligning?  We also look at whether or not the major initiatives and commitments were delivered on time and in budget.  If there were deviations, how wide was the spread and what needs to be changed.  Therefore, if they finished before schedule, were late or on time, we want to understand the reasons.  We also look at the overall workings of the plan logic based on the theory or theories of change or the strategy maps and strategy framework or income output map, or any combination of them.  We also look at whether or not the scope of operations is made clear by the plan.  How suitable was the initiatives or initiatives for building capacity and advancing the strategic direction articulated in the plan— is another area which we examine.

So, to arrive at a judgment we’ll use multiple sources of qualitative and quantitative evidence.  We look at the use of the plan and the process and the annual and periodic review and strategy update.  Are they following that guide and are they updating the plan?  We ask if a priority trade off happened and, if so, why?  We also look at the effectiveness of the plan in communicating to the board, to management, to partners, to funders, and staff.  Do they understand the plan or do they find it to be a burdensome document?  Does it address the value chain and how they’re going to make product relationships and leverage them in terms of the products or services or the supply chain? 

Moreover, we analyze how effective the plan is in articulating the strategic identity.  So that’s how we do that post-implementation evaluation.

See also:

Interview Transcript on IAF

Strategy Execution Challenges

Pre-implementation evaluation of the corporate strategy plan

Monitoring of the corporate strategy plan

—————–

ASPConf2018, the Association for Strategic  Planning Conference, an event for your professional development and business calendars.

Copyright © 2018 International Affairs Forum, Association for Strategic Planning, Magate Wildhorse, Meegan Scott
All Rights Reserved

iaf_logo_blackmagatelogogreen

 

 

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Eavesdrop on E and O’Neil

Magate Wildhorse Soundcloud channel, audio stories for businessGo undercover for learnings in strategy execution and performance management on Magate Wildhorse Soundcloud Channel this May.

Eavesdrop on O’Neil at the office after dark and later on his date with E. Find out how they’ll tackle the problem of understanding the strategy and deciding on the extent to which the organization had made progress in realizing its desired advantage since the last strategic plan.

Don’t miss-out on the intimate journey of the forty-something year old executive in his effort to deliver the ambitions of his company.

We believe, taking the position of the fly on the wall won’t hurt if learning how your organization could benefit from a self-assessment; and what to include in your request for a similar solution is what you’ll gain from eavesdropping on E and O’Neil.

It’s Caribbean flavoured with just enough spice for global appetites.

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Remote Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation & Coaching

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Who’s At The Helm? I Want Impact!

formagatepurposeAt the helm of Magate Wildhorse Ltd is Meegan Scott.

Expect “strategic thinking, big picture, execution know-how and organizational learning” for every engagement.

She comes with a 20-year success track record helping organizations with improving impact, brand recognition, funding and capability. She makes a difference in strategy formulation, corporate strategy planning through to strategy re-formulation.

A powerful outlier in provoking strategy re-think and pushing teams to shift a singular focus on risk management to risk intelligence.

Her distinguishing strengths— expertise in corporate strategy, marketing and performance management across industries, cultures and geographic spheres.  A solid education plus experience in finance, accounting, project and program management, international relations, international trade, business analysis and ICT, research, quality improvement, and communications skills serve to power up the skills set and competences on your team. Significant studies in business, environmental and trade law powers her capacity help you do the compliance checks.

Strong facilitation, research and group process skills grounded in results-oriented and delivering changes practice allows her to help your team to buy in and commit to your vision and the execution of your strategy.

Get in touch today, we believe top-notch help is for big buck entities as well as for the little ones too.

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BackStopping Solutions

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New Year’s Deals on Business Planning and Program Evaluation Solutions

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WinterevaluationRFP  Request2adBasic Proposal

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Basic Deliverables Proposed: Evaluation Report; Management Response Session; Evaluation Summit and Presentation of Findings & Interpretation of Findings to Stakeholders; PowerPoint Summary of Findings, Lessons Learnt, and RecommendationsWinterevaluationRFP2ad

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SMEs Strategy Evaluation Issues: consistency, consonance, advantage, feasibility

Typical domains of evaluation or assessment: Structure, process, HR & Systems Capacity, Outcome, Access, Safety, Cost, User/customer experience

Select standards: Utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy

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