How do you measure success?

Measuring Success

Measuring Tape

With all of the usual talk that goes on at this time of year about resolutions, losing weight, getting fit etc., I have been pondering the simple phrase of “measuring success.” As evaluators, we spend a LOT of time talking, thinking, and writing about measurement. We certainly want to measure the success of the programs and interventions we evaluate.

But how do we measure our own success? Is it by how many “likes” we have on our Facebook page? Or do we judge ourselves by how many twitter followers we have? Do we judge our professional success by the number of clients we have? Do we judge our success by the yearly revenue our business generated or by the size of our biggest contract?

I would posit that we can’t ultimately judge our success by any of these factors. Well, certainly not in isolation anyway.

So every year, I try to think about the past year and then ask myself some guiding questions.

  • Have I learned something new?
  • Have I stretched (just a little) out of my comfort zone?
  • Have I mentored anyone?
  • Have I connected people to each other?

Then I do a little self-evaluation:

  • Are my clients happy with my work?
  • Did we design attractive reports- but more importantly, were they meaningful?
  • Did we create reports that encourage use?

And finally………………………

  • Have I contributed to my profession in some way?

Then I set some goals – not resolutions. They are usually pretty broad. For example, one year I set the goal to become more involved in AEA; now I am the Community Psychology TIG chair. Over that few years I set the goal to work even harder to make reports and presentations more visually appealing and meaningful. So this year I want to tackle and master Tableau.

But here is the one question that underlies all of the above – Did I make a difference? At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

So I am curious, other than losing weight and eating more healthily- what are your professional goals for 2015?