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Take a Year-End Achievement Inventory
Monday, December 2, 2013
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Don’t start making those New Year’s resolutions just yet. Before deciding what you should do next year, it’s critical to step back, take a breath, and do your own year-end review.  

It’s true. As T&D professionals, we’re all good at setting our own learning goals and then noticing which ones we didn’t accomplish. So, we immediately begin identifying ways to improve. While that’s great for continually focusing on improvement, it doesn’t give us much of a chance to reflect on what we’ve done really well. 

So, here’s a suggestion to “balance the books” before the year ends—why not focus on your strengths, as well as the areas you want to improve. Call it a “Celebrating My Strengths” assignment, a “Year-End Achievement Inventory,” or anything else that fits for you. Just be sure to identify what you did well this year so you can build on these successes in 2014. 

Consider these ideas to get you started. 

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Step 1: Gather together the following items:

  • your 2013 calendar, showing meetings, conferences, project deadlines, and so forth
  • any notes from initiatives you’ve worked on over the past year
  • a description of any products or services you helped develop or create
  • performance reviews, other forms of feedback, and notes of appreciation
  • a review of association events or meetings you took part in
  • any notes or other items that reflect how you spent your professional time this past year, including conferences, regional meetings, local events, continuing education programs, and so on
  • any presentation(s) you made. 

Step 2: Set aside time to review all this material.  Recall each event or activity in detail. 

Step 3: Jot down a few words that summarize what you learned from each event or experience. 

  • What did you learn that you didn’t know before? 
  • Which activities deepened skills or strengths you already possess? 
  • What accomplishments are you proudest of? 
  • Which skills, strengths or competencies do you want to use more of in 2014? 

We can all become so focused on ways we need to improve that we may forget the skills and value we already bring to our work. Before launching into what you could do better, why not take the time to celebrate yourself as 2013 comes to a close?
 

About the Author
Caitlin Williams, PhD, is an expert in navigating the workplace with grit and grace and co-author of Career Moves: Be Strategic About Your Future (ASTD Press 2013). An atypical career development professional, through her consulting, speaking, and writing, she evangelizes the opportunities for experienced professionals to continue to pursue meaningful work that keeps their performance high, their anxiety low, and their lives moving in the direction that works for them. Witnessing the disheartening effects of the “working worried,” she offers these committed workers specific tools and strategies for flourishing in a always uncertain workplace. Whether experienced professionals are exploring new career paths or pursuing excellence in already chosen careers, she acts as their chief supporter and sounding board. Caitlin is also an organization’s key advisor, guiding leadership in identifying and leveraging employee strengths and critical skill sets and helping them build healthy, productive and innovative workplaces. In her work, Caitlin uses the leading-edge tools of personal branding, appreciative inquiry, personal story, and preferred futuring. These techniques powerfully shift her clients and audiences’ perspective from one that is limited to a history-focused and static view of themselves to one that leverages current strengths and focuses on future possibilities.
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