The key to identifying success criteria will be to specify the things we might look for that indicate to us that we are successfully achieving our goal. Sometimes, it will be appropriate to specify every exact detail in advance, as the margin for error will be far too tight to allow for significant deviation from expectation. Other times, there will be more freedom for us to move, to improvise, and to create as we go along.
We will also need to work out how we are going to gather evidence that can point to the completion of these criteria. These processes should be established from the start and should involve, as best as possible under the circumstances, the involvement of an objective third party who can give you an honest and clear answer as to what you are looking for. It is too easy for us either to see everything as rosy or everything a back, depending on our mood and personality. In the same way, we need to find a way to allow ourselves to step back from the immediate everyday pressures of getting the work done and look at the whole picture of what is being done and how well it is being done. This requires both mental preparation and sometimes physical distance from the site of the work to allow the necessary distance to form a solid judgment.
In the same way, we also need to work out what our processes will be to make decision about what we are seeing. Too often, our progress on The Pathway to Excellence can be hampered by the way in which we are too casual or unintentional about the steps we will take to make a decision. What evidence will we need? Who will we involve? When will the decision be made? By whom? And why will we adopt these approaches? How and when might we review our decisions and what would we need to see to change our minds?
How we develop the habits of evaluation and assessment in our personal and professional lives is a significant measure of our growth and development, just as much as it can also lead to improvements in our growth and development. These habits go hand in hand with those of reflection and planning. We need to be very deliberate at first about how we go about this so as to form the habit and then over time we might also seek deliberately to disrupt habits that are becoming automatic. That way we can always retain a sharp focus on what are our goals and the extent to which we are really achieving them.
We can contemplate our Evaluation and Assessment Skills through considering the following questions:
- Am I constantly reflecting on my goal-setting processes to ensure that I am on the right path and using the right tools to get there?
- Do I bring good evaluative reasoning to decisions and actions, assessing whether conclusions and judgments are evidence-informed, soundly determined and appropriate to the circumstances?
- Am I good at assessing my personal and interpersonal skills, finding out what I need to learn and to be better in my work and career development?
- Do I identify and work on the transferrable skills that would enhance my position and help me expand my repertoire of competencies for my career development?
- Do I bravely welcome feedback of various sorts in order to improve my performance?