Assessment is important because it resolves two universal truths:
- The best way to end up right back where you were is to move before truly understanding your current situation.
- The best way to end up lost is to move before deciding upon your destination.
The first step in moving forward should always be assessing where you are and establishing where you wish to be. While this might sound like it only applies to the Fraternity, assessment is an important part of personal planning and growth too!
Interested in finding out more about your household's carbon footprint or your water footprint? You should be! A couple of years ago my roommate and I participated in carbon and water footprint assessments and were downright shocked by the amount of water and energy we were wasting! First, we teamed up with an organization who builds wells in developing countries in Africa. With all of the water we had been wasting, it only made sense to us to help others have clean water as well. Also, we began an outdoor compost for our food scraps and yard waste and unplugged everything in the house that we didn't use regularly.
In addition to these day-to-day living assessments, there are many more formalized products out there to help you discover a deeper understanding of yourself like The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC, and True Colors, are among the most popular personality assessments. If you're interested in questions that will challenge you to identify your personal truths and how they are manifested in your life, assessments like the Life Values Inventory and the Values in Action Institute Survey of Character are great FREE options. These kinds of assessments are often times thought of as silly, unhelpful or a waste of time. But these assessments here are not your typical personality quiz you might find on Facebook. Truly, you can learn an INCREDIBLE amount about yourself by answering a few simple questions! And when you understand more about yourself and what makes you essentially you, the better you can understand your role in the world around you.
The amount of leadership or organizational development assessments on the market is overwhelming, but with a little research you can find the right tool for your use. Instruments like the Leadership Practices Inventory, The Leadership Circle or StrengthsQuest offer incredible insight to individual members, as well as entire teams as they learn more about their own leadership strengths and how they interact with the strengths of others in the organization.
The Fraternity is working towards its own organizational development the just way Benjamin Franklin suggests: through assessment! Recently we have asked each of our chapters to start assessing programs that are a part of The Alpha Gamma Delta Experience and Living a Lifetime of Purpose. We will use this feedback you provide as the programs are revisited and revised, which is why it is so important for your chapters to complete the assessments with honest and rich feedback!
In addition to the individual program assessments, the Fraternity is also looking to evaluate YOUR member experience. Through the use of UniLOA (University Learning Outcomes Assessment) we, like many colleges, universities and other fraternities and sororities, will evaluate what students gain from fraternal membership. This assessment asks students questions surrounding seven learning domains- Critical Thinking, Self-Awareness, Communication, Diversity, Citizenship, Membership & Leadership and Relationships- seven ways you can and should experience growth while in college. Think about those areas of learning. Have you grown in your critical thinking or self-awareness since becoming an Alpha Gam? To our alumnae, when you reflect on your time as a member, which of these learning domains has been improved the most? Tell us in the comment box!!
How are you using assessment in your life, personally, organizationally or professionally? What is your organization's plan for the upcoming year and how will you assess its success? Are you, as Benjamin Franklin put it, finding improvement, achievement and success through continual growth and progress?
Let us know how you're planning for progress by commenting to the right of this blog!