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Measuring capacity and identifying opportunities for continuous organizational improvement.

LINC’s Pre-Investment Capacity and Knowledge Scorecards (PICKS) is part of a continuous improvement and strategic decision-making cycle to support organizational strengthening. The PICKS assessment process allows organizations to better understand their greatest strengths and most significant opportunities for improvement, including what functional skills and management processes might be valued by their donors and partners.

Based on the results of the assessment process, LINC facilitates organizations to identify high priority activities for an improvement plan. The plan is created by and for the organization, for their execution with technical support from LINC. Progress against the plan is monitored and measured, and changes in organizational strength will be recorded in a follow-up PICKS assessment.

PICKS is highly accessible and integrates smoothly with emerging systems-based thought and research in business process effectiveness, social capital and network analysis. The instrument scores each client organization on a number of indicators and attributes. The results provide valuable information on strengths, opportunities for growth and partnership, comparison to peer organizations, operating environment needs, and can even provide a “predictor value” for success in passing USAID’s Non-US Pre-Award Assessment (NUPAS), a standard indicative of other international donor requirements

How PICKS is Different

The familiar, traditional approach to organizational development has tended to emphasize a normative pathway, emphasizing organizations’ internal capacity relative to an “ideal organization.” While this traditional process has helped many organizations improve, it is not accurate for all contexts nor is it able to evaluate the operating environment – the system – within which organizations operate. Organizational improvement is not a one-time effort to complete and move beyond; it is a culture that needs to be integrated into the whole organization. It requires top leadership’s endorsement and participation, but must also engage other members of the organization who play crucial roles in operation.

The PICKS methodology is a next generation tool for organizational development, building on the best practices of the traditional approach and integrated with a whole of organization approach and a systems perspective to continuous improvement. PICKS still inventories the presence or absence of important processes and documentation, but also moves beyond that to assess many frequently underestimated attributes that we know are vital for organizational health and long-term growth.


Organizational learning is an ongoing process, not a one-time exercise

PICKS in Action

PICKS - Workshop Closing