YACC performance reviews: Thoughts on learning

November 27, 2009

Despite the joking that goes on in the office, no one up and quit after our most recent set of internal performance evaluations. Good news! And it IS truly good news as I believe we have one of the best teams a growing charity could ask for. I guess that’s why we stick around! That, and of course the immense sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with helping others and feeling like you’re truly making a difference.

This is why I wanted to write a blog on my experience around this year’s annual review process. I’ve now been a part of this wonderful project for two and a half years, so preparation for this round of performance reviews brought forth not only thoughts about the last year, but also more broad thoughts about the organization as a whole and what role I’ve had to play in it since I’ve been here.

A lot has happened! When I arrived, I was number four in the family. We are now a fulltime office of six, plus one parttime support employee. Two of us have moved on to new positions, four brand new people have joined the cause, and I feel we are settling into ourselves more and more each day. That’s not to say that every day isn’t also an opportunity for growth and learning! We are constantly thinking and re-thinking ideas, changing strategies, and adding new initiatives, all to improve upon our value as a support organization and ultimately to provide the best possible experience for our survivor family, which, sadly, is also growing every day.

My personal experience with my own review this time around was unique.  Somehow I was looking at the questions differently that I had in previous reviews. I was answering them differently, too. You know how you typically have a pretty set list of what you know you’re good at and what you know you need to work on? Well, mine changed for the first time. Not drastically, but enough for me to ask myself why. And I think the explanation is as simple as to say that I’m learning! Which is perhaps an obvious and expected result, but refreshing nonetheless. I have always taken pride in the fact that I seek out personal growth wherever I can, and this being my first long-term job after university, it’s nice to know my brain is still being challenged. Just in a different way. A good way. A way that puts less emphasis on getting that 98 per cent on a test, and more emphasis on a bigger, much more selfless goal.

I’ve also been given a different title and additional tasks over the last number of months. For better or for worse, I soak up responsibility and try to challenge myself, so I have experienced some personal fulfillment in this as well.

The method which YACC uses to conduct its performance reviews is very peer-oriented and non-threatening. We are matched up individually with either Geoff, the Executive Director, or Lesley, the Managing Director, and we actually review one another. In this case, I answered the same questions for Lesley as I did for myself. This is good communication practice and a perfect opportunity for sharing! I do feel that performance reviews should be about being aware of your environment, and those working with you inside of it, and then adapting to these things to better benefit the team.  Of course it is necessary and valuable to discuss and improve upon individual tasks and qualities, but the bigger picture should always be a shared goal as well.

I am proud to work for YACC and want to do right by the organization and all my fabulous co-workers who put just as much of themselves into their respective positions. It feels good to do good.

Thanks YACC for another great year, for the two and half that I’ve been here, and for whatever lies ahead because I’m sure whatever that is, it will be purposeful and rewarding. Let’s do it!

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