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50 Questions to Help You Improve – A Self Assessment Tool

publication date: Mar 14, 2012
author/source: Enda Larkin, Guest Columnist @ HospitalityEducators.com

50 Questions to Help You Improve  

New Year, New You - A Self Assessment Tool

 By Enda Larkin

New Year, New You - A Self Assessment Tool By Enda Larkin

The end of one year and the early stages of another are always times for self-reflection. Maybe over the recent holidays you spent some time thinking about your life - be that personal or work-related.

No, I don't mean the kind of late-at-night analysis, having downed too much wine, or whatever your favourite tipple is; that's more correctly known as 'The Fear' and is probably best avoided, I find.

Funnily enough, on The Fear issue, years ago when I was not long out of college, there was one guy who was part of our crowd, a real nice chap too - slightly odd it has to be said - but a genuine sort all the same.

Anyway, one night in the pub, after a fair few it has to be said, he told us that every time he arrived home drunk, he would start talking to his dog: about life and stuff.

Yes, attempting to work through his issues with the family pet.

I did say 'slightly odd'.

What's more, he said that he was convinced that the dog sort of understood him too.

Needless to say, we laughed a lot when he told us that.

Apparently, if he was a bit unhappy about something - the guy, I mean, not the dog - then he could spend hours off-loading on the poor animal.

After that night, it became a sort of running joke between us all when we would meet him, and we would always ask whether the dog had any good advice for us.

You know, one bark yes, two barks no, kind of thing.

Then, one time when we raised the matter about his late night tête-à-têtes, he said he had stopped doing it.

Naturally, we were more than a little intrigued by this, but he wouldn't tell us why. For ages, we kept at him to let us know the reason, until eventually - yes after a few drinks - he told us.

And why had he stopped off-loading on the family pet?

Because the poor old dog had suddenly started to run away all the time.

I kid you not.

Now, I would be lying if I said that we didn't fall around the place laughing when we heard that, but, truth be known, we were a bit unnerved by it too - what the hell must he have been saying on those drunken nights.

Anyway, when I say New Year, New You, I am not talking about The Fear.

What I am referring to, though, is that personal reflection is a normal activity at this time of year; to a greater or lesser degree.

Whatever the extent of your desire to tread a new path in the months ahead, it is important to recognize that a desire to change and the ability to actually follow through on that are two different things entirely.

Think back to last year, for example.

How many resolutions did you make and keep?

Can you even remember what they were?

I know I can't.

So this year, why not try a new approach.

Rather than just vague navel-gazing, I have developed a set of 50 questions which might help you think about how you can improve in the year ahead. These questions address aspects of who you are, how you think or what you do in a work context.

Sure, this is a form of self-assessment which clearly has limitations, but if you are totally honest with yourself (and not blinkered to your own shortcomings), then it's of value.

To strengthen the impact, why not ask colleagues whom you know and trust for their feedback on some or all of these areas:

Anyway, have a coffee and really think about each of the following questions:

Performance and Results Focus

1. Do you set personal goals and work hard to achieve them?

2. Do you consistently produce high quality results within agreed deadlines?

3. Do you show real commitment to your organization's mission? How?

4. Do you cooperate well with your colleagues to achieve results?

5. Do you constantly exceed performance expectations?

Values and Integrity

6. If asked, would people who know you at work say that you were renowned for telling the truth and having high levels of personal integrity?

7. Would your colleagues say that you have strong personal values and ethics?

8. Do you treat everyone equally, fairly and with respect?

9. Do you maintain the highest standards of personal, professional and organizational behaviour?

10. Would people who know you at work consider you to serve as a role model for others in terms of values and integrity?

Relationship and Team Orientation

11. Do you believe strongly in the importance of teamwork and work hard to build team spirit amongst your people?

12. Are you good at making others feel at ease by being warm and welcoming when approached?

13. Do you show a genuine concern for people and make a real effort to help others?

14. Are you known for communicating openly and honestly with others, even if you have tough things to say?

15. Are you able to really empathize with the needs and feelings of other people?

Self - Motivated & Determined

16. Do you constantly seek to improve personally and take proactive steps to learn new skills?

17. Are you good at not letting personal or family problems affect your work performance?

18. Do you use your initiative and not always wait to be told what to do?

19. Do you make a conscious effort to keep up-to-date on matters relating to your job?

20. Are you the type of person who never gives up, but instead confronts challenges and copes well with setbacks and failures?

Self - Awareness and Control

21. Are you consistently seeking out opportunities to increase your self-awareness?

22. Do you know, and then make a conscious effort, to minimize the effects of your personal weaknesses? Do you know what those weaknesses are?

23. Would people who know you at work say you are good at demonstrating consistency and stability in responding to different people and situations?

24. Are you confident and assertive without being arrogant or aggressive?

25. Do you allow yourself to be intimidated by difficult situations or people?

Flexible & Open to Change

26. Do you have the ability to be flexible in how you respond to different situations or problems?

27. Would people around you say that you are good at adopting varied leadership styles which meet the needs of others?

28. Are you good at coping well with uncertainty?

29. Are you open-minded and willing to change?

30. Do you view change as an opportunity or a threat?

Analytical and Insightful

31. Are you good at recognising personal knowledge gaps and then making a genuine effort to keep up-to-date about work-related trends and developments?

32. How strong are you at analyzing and understanding complex data and then making sound decisions?

33. Would people who know you at work say that they believed you were well able to make rational decisions quickly or when under pressure?

34. Do you regularly attend courses and other learning events, even outside of work hours?

35. Are you good at thinking ahead and developing effective plans?

Creative and Innovative

36. Would your colleagues say that you constantly challenge the status quo and look for better ways of working?

37. Have people told you in the past that you are good at not just accepting things 'because we have always done them this way'?

38. Do you frequently propose new methods of working, or ideas that have never been tried before?

39. Would people who know you at work say that they admire you because you are good at finding creative solutions to problems that arise at work?

40. Do you make an effort to encourage others to make suggestions or propose new ideas?

Energetic and Enthusiastic

41. Do you maintain your personal health and well-being to a high level?

42. Are you good at coping well with a heavy workload and long hours, when required? Do you get stressed?

43. If asked, would your family and friends say that they considered you to be a happy, positive person most of the time?

44. Would your colleagues/employees at work say that they believed you had strong ability to excite and inspire others?

45. Do you get a real sense of personal satisfaction from your work?

Structured and Organized

46. Are you good at planning and organizing the workload effectively?

47. Do you manage the available resources well, in order to achieve objectives?

48. Would people who know you at work say you were good at providing clear direction and guidance to others?

49. Are you good at ensuring that the work is consistently carried out to a high standard?

50. Do you constantly strive to improve overall quality and promote continuous improvement?

Hopefully, these questions will give you some food for thought as you plan your personal development for 2012.

What you do with any insights that might arise is, of course, entirely up to you, but standing still should never be the preferred choice.

Is it possible to change or improve your performance?

Absolutely, it is.

Is that likely to be easy?

Well, you already know that absolutely it is not. Even more so if it relates to intangibles such as increasing self-awareness, changing mindsets or building personal characteristics.

Whatever you decide to do in terms of change this year, take small steps, take them consistently every day and that, over time, will lead to big changes for the better.

Plus, if you have a dog...well, take the relevant lesson from the article on board too.

I wish you a belated Happy New Year!

CONTACTEnda Larkin
HTC Consulting
Phone: +41 (0) 22 700 8675
Email: info@htc-consult.com

Hospitality NetHTC Consulting
Geneva, 1207
Phone: +41 (0) 22 700 8675
Fax: +41 (0) 22 731 3067
Email: info@htc-consult.com
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