Five Perspectives To Evaluate Your Experiences: #3-Reward

Our lives are filled with rituals. There are things that we do on a daily basis that take on a ritualistic feel – the way we care for ourselves, the meals we eat, the daily commutes we make, etc.

Evaluating one’s experiences can be a type of ritual, a traditional exercise that marks the conclusion of an experience. For me personally, an experience doesn’t have a sense of closure until I’ve taken a moment to reflect and evaluate what took place.

Closure helps people to move forward, to take the energy that is being exerted toward one experience and move on to something else. A lack of closure can leave a group of people hanging. It makes one feel like things are unresolved or unfinished. A lack of closure can wear a person out.

Evaluation Exercises

There’s a lot of snow on the ground today. I’ve included a pic I took with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. While this post isn’t about that app…I highly recommend it!

The snow shows us that we have clearly made the transition from Fall to Winter. Sometimes the change from one season to another isn’t as pronounced. The next season just creeps up on us.

I’ve identified six seasons within the student leader year. At this point in the semester, we’re moving from the fluctuation season into the evaluation season. In my attempt to stay a step ahead of each season, I’ve begun to look again at developing tools to help our students get the most out of their evaluation efforts.

The new tool will focus around five keys to reviewing and reflecting on an experience once it is over: redo, revoke, reward, revise, and recruit.

· redo

What went right? List out the successful elements of your experience. You want to do these things again. These activities deserve repeating. Consider the elements that were at the heart of making this experience worthwhile. Think about the parts of your experience that could easily (or should easily) become a tradition.

This is the part of the evaluation where you focus on what worked. You want to make sure and do this again.

· revoke

Not everything will go smoothly or happen just as you plan it. Sometimes we don’t know until we try. But now that you’ve tried it, you know there are things that you need to toss.

What are those elements from your experience that failed? What should you get rid of? What steps were ineffective and need to be cut out? Is there a traditional part of this experience that has run its course and no longer works…but no one has officially killed it yet? Your evaluation of what to revoke is crucial to creating successful events in the future. The goal of successful evaluation is to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

· reward

An event is not over until everyone is thanked. Expressing thanks is a reward to those who helped you pull off a successful event or activity. You may also want to express a reward by celebrating with those who took part in the success of your experience.

Reward is a crucial part of follow-up. Often, people only hear about the negative or only receive feedback when they’ve failed. When you reward others (or yourself) for work well done, you create momentum toward the success of your next event. Rewards come in many forms. It may be words of appreciation, small mementos of the experience, or tangible gifts. Think about what and who needs to be rewarded from each experience.

· revise

Sometimes an element of your experience doesn’t need to be thrown out, only tweaked. Your experience has taught you that you were on the right track, you just need to change your strategy or approach it a bit differently. It’s an important distinction between revise and revoke. You may simply need a little more time or add one more person to the team or spend your money a little differently. Rather than begin all over again, revising let’s you use your experience to improve.

You’ll notice that professionals in any environment aren’t quick to throw out the basics when they make a mistake, but rather will simply revise their approach and make small changes in order to be more effective in the future.

· recruit

This part of the evaluation is focused on people. Consider all of the people involved: participants, spectators, workers, vendors, volunteers, etc. Think about the different strengths and weaknesses that were represented. Was someone missing that would be more helpful in the future? Was there someone that shouldn’t be a part of this experience in the future? Who were the people that were most helpful in the process – you would ask for their help again next time?

We never really know how people will do in various circumstances until we actually see them in action. Now that you’ve had firsthand experience with these different groups of people, what are your recommendations and criticisms?


Peter Drucker states, “The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question.” My hope is that each of these areas will provide a good context to ask the right questions about what works and what doesn’t.

Book Review: Acting Up Brings Everyone Down

I first heard of Nick McCormick when he sent me a copy of his first book, Lead Well and Prosper. It was a fairly quick read (short chapters with great summary statements at the end) chocked full of helpful leadership advice.

So you might have guessed I was (very) pleasantly surprised to know that Nick had written another book. He provided me with a preview copy to take a look. This one is entitled, Acting Up Brings Everyone Down.

The premise of Nick’s latest work is a comparison of the quirky and often immature behaviors of children that have somehow found their way into, what we hope would be, the mature adult workplace. It appears that some of us haven’t grown up all the way just quite yet.

One of the tools that Nick uses throughout his books is an illustrative dialogue between fictional workplace characters. This simple technique draws you in to each scenario. Then Nick goes to work on helping the reader see how simple childish behaviors aren’t really helpful at all in our work environments.

Topics range from lying, whining, shirking responsibility, selfishness, pushing the rules, procrastination…and many more. Each chapter ends with a list of solid “do’s and don’ts.” Perhaps the best part of the whole book is that Nick takes these summary statements from each chapter and lists them all out in a couple of appendices in the back. You’ve got all the good stuff in understandable statements to refer back to later.

This book will serve as a great wake-up call to anyone who goes to work each day. There’s a big difference between an adult who approaches the world with childlike wonder and the one who still lives each day with childish behavior. The only caution I would offer is to the person who is contemplating having children of their own. Nick does a great job of identifying a lot of negative behaviors that children are prone to exhibit. Having raised four kids of my own I can see these tendencies at different times in all of them. But kids will also surprise you and sometimes act more mature than the adults in the room.

You can purchase the book by visiting the Be Good Ventures site. Nick also offers a sample of the book. I recommend you take a look and buy a few copies for your workplace. Sharing the book with your co-workers would probably be more productive than simply reading the book on your own and writing their names next to the childish behaviors.