As a grant writer for a number of years, I had the chance to work with numerous organizations. When preparing a grant one needs a great deal of information. One vital part of a successful grant proposal is a well-defined evaluation process. No foundation will spend a dollar on an organization that has no way of evaluating whether it has successfully reached its stated objectives.
However, when I met with various organizational directors, and asked about their evaluation process, I was usually met with blank stares and puzzled looks. Eventually I was forced to develop a few training materials to help leadership set up quarterly and yearly evaluation models and methods. This helped them obtain the funding they needed while providing the means to decide whether they were successful in their endeavors.
When it comes to establishing and maintaining success in any area of life, I believe it is imperative to have a process in which we evaluate our actions and ourselves. The act of evaluating our life is not something we want to put off year after year. Many times our procrastination is our greatest hindrance. This is why we desperately need to develop a process in which we can effectively check our past actions to decide if we are on the right track.
Eighth commandment of success: Set up the right Evaluation Process
One of the key factors is developing the ability to set realistic benchmarks, and then set up specific dates and times to look over our progress or lack there of.
An easy example would be the goal of loosing 5 pounds in two months. If we wait until the two months are over and then weigh ourselves, we give ourselves no chance to make the proper adjustments to our diets and exercise routines. However if we keep an exercise and eating journal, and weigh ourselves at the end of each week, we can chart our progress and make the appropriate changes. The more specific we are at goal setting, the easier it is for us to evaluate.
It’s hard to evaluate our weight loss if we set no significant time or amount of loss. When it comes to setting up a process in which we evaluate our success, we will first have to set goals that can be easily measured i.e time, date, number, measurement, size etc.
Remember we can’t evaluate what we can’t measure.
Just remember to take into account your strong and weak points. If you are an optimist you will generally focus on your strengths. If you are a pessimist you will focus on your weaknesses. When you set up your system for evaluating the things you do, keep these things in mind:
Eighth Commandment of Success: Effective Evaluation Suggestions
* Check your progress against what you have accomplished not what you want to accomplish
* Perform your evaluation at your peak effectiveness (if you are a morning person don’t do it at night)
* Start early in the process to give you time to adjust
* Set realistic time-tables, don’t expect too much of yourself (it takes time to establish discipline)
* Work with other people who know you well and ask for advice and suggestions
* Put together a spread-sheet, journal or word document and write your progress and problems
* Set aside a large chunk of time every quarter or so to check your overall progress
* If you are not advancing or progressing properly experiment with different ways of doing things
* Try to focus on the positive areas and not so much on the negative ones, this will help you keep a positive mental and emotional attitude during the process
* Assign different awards for yourself when you reach milestones or make significant advancement towards your goals
Eighth Commandment of Success: Conclusion
Finally be careful not to give up too early, or fall back into old habits. Our times of evaluation are not meant to be a way to beat yourself up for missing a deadline or objective. The purpose of evaluation is to determine if we are going in the right direction and to keep us on track.