Reflecting on how things are going
How have things gone over the last year?
This can be a difficult question to answer if everything seems to have been alright but without any headlines. It’s important to acknowledge our successes even if they seem ordinary. Some questions to ask....
What has gone well?
This section can help you complete Section A 'Review of the previous year'. In particular it may inform your answer to the question about areas of achievement and progress not included in the objectives and comments about objectives that have been achieved.
Did you achieve your objectives or something else?
If you achieved the objectives that you set last year, this bit is easy. You may well have achieved other things instead (or as well.) There are many good reasons why we don’t meet objectives. Priorities, circumstances and people all change. You may have done something far more important than your original objectives last year.
What work have you done that you are proud of?
It might be something that nobody else is aware of but you feel good when you think about it. Have there been occasions when you know you made a difference to someone or something?
Any personal achievements?
Personal achievements come in many forms. It might be an obvious thing like completing a course or learning something new. Or it might be less noticeable, like keeping cool in the face of adversity or persevering when the odds were against you. Sometimes our greatest achievements are in our own minds and are difficult for others to observe.
Do you have good relationships with others?
The way we relate to others has a profound impact on the work that gets done. Perhaps you are successful in dealing with someone that others find difficult. Or you always know who to call to get something done. Or you take time for others and people say it’s a better place when you’re around. This is a significant contribution even though it’s difficult to quantify.
What has not gone well?
This section can help you complete Section A 'Review of the previous year'. In particular it may inform your answer to questions about difficulties and constraints experienced and comments about objectives that have not been achieved.
Work that you were not pleased with?
You might be disappointed with the outcome of some work that you did, or think that you went about it the wrong way. There is much to learn from identifying what we would do differently.
Have you experienced challenging relationships with others?
Working with people that are different from us can be tricky at times. If you have experienced conflict or tension with someone, can you identify why? Was it a disagreement about what should be done or how to go about it? A clash of values or personalities? How did you react in the situation? Are you pleased with the way that you handled things? Does a challenging relationship present an ongoing barrier to you in your work? Do you want to identify this as a reason why things haven’t gone to plan?
Do you have a difficult working environment?
A positive working environment means pleasant surroundings, good relationships with colleagues and the resources you need to do your work. A poor working environment can prevent you from doing your best work. Raising this as part of your review can inform changes in your department/service.
Any other barriers to success?
Simple things like having too much to do in too little time. Not having enough say in the way that you work. Confusion about whose job something is. Not all our challenges can be taken away, but it can be helpful to discuss them.