The organizational assessments we do can be provided as a standalone product or as the first phase in a strategic planning effort. Regardless, the cornerstone involves our ability to ask the right questions, listen with care, and avoid drawing conclusions in haste. Then, once the information is collected, don't expect us to "take sides," but do look to us to recommend solutions. As the process is concluded we carry through with a commitment to identifying the core elements that define both the greatest strengths of an organization (or program) and its most significant challenges or weaknesses.
We can do this for your organization as well and provide a result tailored to the information needs, and method of communicating the findings, that are most likely to increase the opportunity for positive change. For example, this can involve presenting findings directly in a formal report to a Board of Directors and a work session on next steps. It can also involve a series of informal meetings with leadership and upper-level management on the emerging findings, followed by joint presentations or reporting as appropriate. The variations are as endless as the needs of the organizations we work with.
Program Assessments with the Community
Many programs, of course, require assessing issues in the community and not simply within the organization. This is where our depth of experience in research and polling makes the difference. We know how to provide quality custom research designed to give clear guidance for policy decisions -- communications development, product design, public policy evaluation, and political and opinion polling. We have the skills to research complex issues, find real-world solutions, and provide guidance to match.
For public agencies, we have conducted community assessments to review the impact of community policing, environmental policy, fire prevention services and other programs where it counts the most -- in the community.
Two examples among many:
- Community policing assessments. We developed the community-wide, quantitative assessment tools that provide baseline and benchmark data on the implementation of community policing in Portland, Oregon. As authors of both the survey instrument and the final analysis of all data, we are very familiar with the task of ensuring that assessment tools accurately reflect the new challenges that community policing presents. As the project leaders on the 1994 Community Assessment Survey, we worked in partnership with the Portland Police Bureau, the University of Oregon, Portland State University, and the National Institute of Justice. We were also the lead researchers for Portland Police Bureau's 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2005 Community Assessment Survey (for links to a copy of one of our reports on that subject, click here.) We also developed and implemented outcome measures for a patrol deployment change in Eugene, Oregon, and have conducted similar assessments for the Honolulu Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, and other police agencies.
- Fire death reduction study and program guideline development. In 2003 we conducted a study for Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R) to gain a better understanding of the reasons why fire deaths were occurring more frequently in non-English speaking, low-income populations. Various hypotheses were tested through a series of focus groups and services. As a result of the findings and recommendations from that work, TVF&R was able to develop a nationally award-winning program that works with low-income non-English speaking populations, and the managers of the apartments where they live, to increase the implementation of critical steps to increase fire prevention integrity and reduce the likelihood of fire deaths in the district. In many ways, this has been some of our most gratifying work as it has exemplified what can happen when insightful research is combined with an organizational commitment to innovation and excellence: Great consulting work and great organizational dedication leading to great results.