What’s your theory of change?

September 23, 2011 · by Allison Porter · Filed Under Choices, Previous · Leave a Comment

Here’s mine:

By coaching leaders, consulting with organizations and facilitating groups I create the environment for them to reflect and commit to action.  If I do this, then they will be more self-aware and strategic.  If they are more self-aware and strategic, they will be more effective and they will have sustainable success.  If they and others have greater success, the world will be a better place.  In other words, I have a theory of change that describes my unique contribution to the vision I want to see.

A theory of change is a logic chain that shows how your strategies build the power to achieve your short term goals which lead to your vision.

Most leaders have a theory that explains why your organization does what it does.  You know it, so why bother spelling out a “theory of change?”

The truth is that even successful organizations can become so program or campaign focused – with measures of effectiveness that are internal to the program itself – that they lose sight of the theory of change that motivated them to create the mission and strategies to begin with.  Departments and staff become silo’d and in the churn of the work and turnover of the staff, the theory of change gets cloudy.

If that is the case for your organization, you might want to take the time to engage in a dialogue about your theory of change.  Actually create the logic chain in a graphic representation of your beliefs.  Help everyone see how the work they do fits in to the mission and vision of the organization.

If you are interested in this concept, and want to see some examples, here are some interesting resources:



What’s your theory of change?  We’d love to hear from you.


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