If you asked everyone involved with your organization to assess the organization’s performance, would they all agree?

Probably not.

When considering the performance and effectiveness of an organization, it’s common for employees, leadership, and the board of directors to reach different conclusions. While one group may have unshakable faith in their effectiveness, another may see an organization standing on shaky ground. Often, this occurs because each group is using different tools to measure outcomes.

The truth is, it can be hard to get a complete and honest picture of an organization’s performance from the inside. It can even be challenging to agree on the definition of “high performance”. For a private business, this may simply mean profitability, while those in the nonprofit or public sectors may have an entirely different view of the qualities of a high-performing organization.

How can a leadership team or board of directors obtain an honest picture of an organization’s performance? Working with a consultant to develop an organizational assessment is a good start.

Earlier this year, a group of social-sector leaders called the Leap of Reason Ambassador’s Community, released a report called The Performance Imperative: A Framework For Social-Sector Excellence. It identified the “Seven Pillars of High Performance”, with Pillar 7 being “External evaluation for mission effectiveness.” For nonprofits, an external assessment can examine how well the organization’s programs are run, what they are accomplishing and how the programs can be strengthened.

While there’s lots of reasons to seek the insight of an expert outside your organization, here’s 3 of the best:

  1. Access their breadth of experience

An experienced consultant can easily recognize the situation you’re in. Why? Because they’ve probably seen it before. They can suggest solutions based on what they’ve seen work before, and their experience that comes from working across a broad spectrum of sectors can bring new ideas to the table.

  1. Get a customized, impartial solution to your problem

While you may attend workshops, conferences or webinars, there are times when you need more individualized attention. Improving an organization’s effectiveness often requires a multi-pronged approach. Challenging problems, controversial issues and HR challenges can be difficult to address without getting wrapped up in emotions or politics. An unbiased look can provide the support or confirmation that an organization’s leadership may need.

  1. Reduce the burden on your staff

Sometimes the solution you’re looking for is clear, but your organization doesn’t have the manpower to focus on it. You may have a single project that can increase your organization’s effectiveness, but not the capacity to implement it. A consultant can help find solutions and get the job done, without pulling employees away from their day-to-day job duties.