“I am here and so are you. And we matter. We can change things.” – Ella Baker
Hey, everybody, let’s play Outcome Buzzword Bingo!
Score 1 point for each term you’ve read or heard in the last week:
- We need to innovate.
- We just need to do more with less!
- We provide exceptional results and value-added services.
- We’re outcomes-based here.
- Let’s go after the low-hanging fruit on this one.
- ______ (fill in the blank!)
Score = __________
Did you win?
The truth behind the buzzwords
While you may roll your eyes at all the overused lingo, the driving need to produce results in the non-profit and government sphere is real.
And ultimately, you are doing what you do to make real and tangible change, however that’s measured in your particular field.
Producing results is why you got into this work: to make a difference. It’s why you come to work every day.
And yet, for most of us, seeing tangible outcomes in our work comes few and far between. Policies, prevalence rates, or statutes don’t change easily or quickly.
So, for our sanity, if nothing else, we have to be able to find satisfaction between the big wins that don’t always come so often.
Measuring your success
So, how can you tell if you’re actually making a difference?
- Define success differently. Since waiting for program evaluation results takes too long for most of us, be sure you notice the small wins you’re having – personally, on your team, and for the whole organization.
- Take note of success stories and anecdotes from your clients or stakeholders. Policymakers of all types really love a good story, examples that paint a clearer picture of your work. Find ways to gather and share how your work is making an impact.
- Acknowledge concrete behaviors you see in yourself or in your staff that support the outcomes you are headed for, not just to “boost” people up, but so that you and others can see how their work and actions contribute to the larger whole.
- Accept that progress, instead of perfection, is actually the goal. For most of us, there is no “done” anyway: there will always be another goal to achieve, another horizon to move towards. Acknowledging this reality, and being compassionate towards yourself and with your team, especially when the results take longer than you want, can help stay the course.
- Celebrate your progress along the way to remind yourself that small steps lead to big leaps.
In the Comments below, tell me: how do you measure your success and feel confident that you’re making a difference?
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for content and relevancy.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Great advice! Thank you.
Hanna Cooper says
Glad if it was useful to you, Claude!