Kirkpatrick Principle 1: The end is the beginning

The New World Kirkpatrick Model presents four levels of evaluation, Results (level 4), Behaviour (Level 3), Learning (Level 2) and Reaction (Level 1). However, the way we view these has to change.

This principle debunks the all-too-common theory that we start with level 1 and work our way towards level 4 normally stopping at level 2 because it gets too hard and out of our comfort zone to go to levels 3 & 4. Principle 1, the end is the beginning means that we must start our process at Level 4, Results.

Why? Well to first create value (we’ll talk about this in principle 4), we must first know the direction we are heading, our GPS address. You wouldn’t leave home these days without knowing your destination, setting this up on your nav system and finding the best way to get there. This principle means we must first seek to understand the ultimate destination for our organisation, be it better outcomes for patients, less harm in our society, catching the bad guys, keeping our borders safe, creating greater shareholder value, helping the lives of those most in need etc.

Once we know this and understand the strategic objectives of the organisations, we can then best plot the path to get there. And just perhaps, learning can contribute to the success in getting there. So, the 1st principle is to know where you are heading and keep this in the spotlight at all times, in Kirkpatrick terms start at level 4, what are the results you really need to see and what indicators will tell you that you’re heading in the right direction. In the next post principle 2 Return on expectations (ROE) is the ultimate indicator of value, we’ll look at the need to engage our stakeholders both at senior and line level to ensure we fully align to the business and travel the path of least resistance to get to our ultimate destination.

Guest blog post by Mark Harris – GMD Partnerships

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