The Outcomes of an Intervention — part 7


(This article is the 7th in a free-wheeling series of ideas around Interventions as practiced by Framework Consulting. Click here to browse the series.)

Once the need for an intervention has been established, the first and perhaps most important step is to design what we call the Outcome.

This activity follow the principle of what Stephen Covey calls “Beginning with the End in Mind.”

In other words, when the intervention is complete what will the end result of all it look like and feel like? What frame of mind will the participants be in? What will they have experienced? What emotions will they be feeling? What will they have learned?

The purpose of an intervention is to cause a shift, or a change in the environment surrounding a group of people. It usually includes a critical call to action to make progress in some new direction.

An easy intervention might be one that involves creating a new set of goals for a well-functioning team.

A more difficult one might be to spur a team to resolve a problem that seems insurmountable, and the team-members have been avoiding.

But they all start with a stated Outcome.

An example, in the case of the easy intervention, might include the following lines:
“The goals created tap into every single member’s commitments”

In the case of the more difficult one it might be:
“The conversation is open and free, and allows all the upsets of the past to be addressed.”

Usually a full Outcome runs 3-5 sentences, addressing different aspects of the final result.

These Outcomes are the bedrock of the design, as they are used to inform the different actions that are taken at different points. This includes what is said, what is done, what information is shared, what exercises are done — everything down to how the facilitators are dressed is tailored to produce the outcome intended.

It operates as the guiding light for the entire exercise.

Defining the Outcomes takes a certain degree of rigorous thinking, as design team members share their views on what is usually a complex situation with no clear cut definitions.