Assessing Readiness

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Dr. Martha Brown is a proud affiliate faculty member of the Wandersman Center, founded by world-renowned professor and evaluator, Dr. Abe Wandersman. After years of research and pilot projects, the Wandersman Center has developed a research-based, cross-disciplinary method for assessing an organization’s readiness for adopting new innovations. This powerful partnership means that RJAE Consulting clients benefit from Martha’s personal consulting services and the expertise and tools provided by the Center. Ready to learn more? Check out our FAQs.

Q; Why should I assess our readiness for change? 

A: Desire to innovate (or worse, a mandate) does not necessarily mean your organization or school is “ready” to take on the project or implement a program. Readiness issues are relevant across all stages of implementation: pre-implementation, adoption, active implementation, and sustainability. No matter the stage of an innovation’s lifespan, there are readiness issues that you should consider. When you adopt the readiness mindset, you exponentially increase your odds of successful implementation and getting awesome results! Assessing for readiness allows you to build on your strengths and address your weaknesses before those weaknesses cause major problems with program implementation.

Q: What does “readiness” mean?

A: Readiness is determined by the three related components that can vary in influence depending on the setting. Each component has several subcomponents that provide more detail about motivation and capacity. Those components are:

  • Motivation

  • Capacity (general)

  • Capacity (innovation-specific).  This is where we assess readiness for your particular project or program.

Readiness means your organization is strong in these three areas and that you are in good shape to move forward with your innovation.

Q: How do we know if we are ready for our innovation?

A: RJAE Consulting works with Wandersman Center to develop an innovation specific assessment just for your organization or school. It is a survey consisting of a variety of questions that address each of the three readiness components. Here are a few examples:

  • The way we’re structured makes it possible to do things well.

  • We have a strong sense of belonging and identification with our school.

  • Our leadership recognizes and appreciates team efforts that help us successfully implement projects.

  • Staffing levels are sufficient right now to accomplish our day to day tasks.

  • There is a clear financial plan for us to create sustainability.

We survey your stakeholders, which means everyone who has a vested interest in your success. This could include leadership, administration, staff, teachers, support staff, and even board members!  Your readiness is based on how people respond to the survey items. You’ll learn more about your organization than ever before by conducting a readiness assessment!

Q: I work for a school district that wants to implement restorative justice in all schools. How can readiness assessments help us?

A: Great question. And the answer is pretty simple: it takes 3-5 years per school to fully implement RJE with fidelity. That’s a lot of training and support! Why would you spend money on a school that is not ready? That’s a waste of precious resources spent on something that is likely to fail. Instead, conduct readiness assessments in your schools. Start with those most ready, and while those schools are on-boarding RJE, work with the other schools to help them get ready. Then you build momentum and a track record of success, and when other schools see the results at the “ready” schools, they will be more motivated for implementation at their school. Success is contagious – and readiness assessments help set you up for success!

Q: What if we find out we are not ready?

A: RJAE Consulting will provide you with a very detailed report of the results of the assessment. We will talk together about those results and look for areas of strength that you can build on to improve areas of weakness. Sometimes, an organization needs some time to “get its ducks in a row” before you take on something new, and RJAE Consulting can facilitate these discussions using restorative dialogue to empower people in your organization to identify not just problems, but also the solutions.

Q: Is the readiness assessment a one-time thing?

A: We understand readiness as a dynamic state, not a static one. Think about how new leaders or new staff affect your school or organization. Turnover can be great for readiness, or it could be a major obstacle. So no, we don’t see it as a one-time thing. Instead, we use this assessment as one way to monitor change over time. Even if you scored well in all three areas of readiness, there are things you can do to improve and get even stronger. Don’t you want to see that needle move? We do. We want you to be as strong and ready for change as possible, and we’ll help you get there. Because innovation doesn’t stop – there is always something new right around the corner.

Q: Ok, I get it. What do I do now?

A: Call or email RJAE Consulting to talk more about your needs and costs.