Rigorous theory of change planning clarified the impact strategy and core activities of two high-profile foundations’ collaborative leadership development program.
Two well-known, national foundations decided to collaborate to develop and launch a unique, cutting-edge leadership development program. The organizations originally recruited Cicero to provide program measurement and evaluation. While helping the clients determine measurable program inputs and outcomes, Cicero’s role quickly expanded to that of partner in strategic planning, performance management, and program design.
Cicero first helped the clients clarify the vision and outcomes of the program through rigorous research methods, including: stakeholder interviews, landscape analysis, and participant assessments. With the ultimate and long-term outcomes of the program established, Cicero then helped the clients outline the comprehensive steps/strategy needed to reach the intended program outcomes. Harnessing this comprehensive strategy, Cicero developed a robust plan, including the delineation of decision-making and development processes, to guide implementation throughout the pilot year. To ensure the effectiveness of the plan and pilot year could be measured, Cicero designed and implemented models for the client to efficiently evaluate the comparative value of various program elements.
The clarification and execution of the program’s overarching strategy opened the way for rapid finalization of curriculum, faculty recruitment, trainings, logistical organization, and the implementation of program measurement and evaluation—resulting in a high-quality program that dynamically improved based on successes, areas for improvement, and feedback. Program participants, faculty, and other stakeholders indicated high levels of satisfaction with the overall program as well as leadership development exhibited by participants during the life of the program.