Our 2017 CLA Resolutions
The USAID LEARN team was inspired by Feedback Labs to document and share our 2017 Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) resolutions! What’s yours? Please add it in the comments below!
Need more ideas? Take a look at the results of the Practical Adaptation Network’s first 100-day sprint, an initiative that explored how small experiments can propel the practice of adaptive management forward.
Melissa resolves to take time to organize
I resolve to pay more attention to my own knowledge management processes. When I start to feel busy, I tend to resort to saving documents to my desktop or just one folder, poor version control, and a general lack of discretion about what should be kept or tossed, etc. In the long run, this makes me less efficient because of the time I spend looking for improperly organized files or sending things to colleagues who can't find my items. I resolve to be more mindful of this from the start and to set aside time each day to ensure things are where they should be.
-Melissa Bevins, Events and Networking Specialist
Monalisa resolves to pause and reflect as a team
I resolve to foster greater reflection and strategic thinking among our growing team of MERL specialists by organizing a semiannual mini-retreat for our team.
-Monalisa Salib, Manager, Organizational Learning and Research
Pictured: The LEARN Team posing with white elephant gifts during a holiday party. We resolve to continue to live our favorite team value: work hard, play hard. Photo credit: Megan Alt.
Eric resolves to apply CLA processes
I resolve to ensure we are “walking the talk” on the operations side of the LEARN contract. While much of our focus on CLA is outward-facing, it is important that we are also intentional about how we incorporate this into our operations so we can be nimble and adaptive as we respond to our ever-changing technical needs. My method of achieving this will be to formalize the buy-in process (to include templates, key meetings/reflection points, etc.). While this will move towards standardization, it will also be iterative and flexible to adapt to the diverse clients we serve and scopes we implement.
-Eric Friesth, Senior Operations Manager
Amy resolves to request feedback on progress toward learning goals
I resolve to ask for feedback on performance related to my learning goals on a weekly basis. We’re always trying new things on the LEARN team, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to step out of my comfort zone. I recognize, though, that only a small fraction of learning comes from my own experience; I must look through others’ eyes to see the full picture of what I can do to improve.
-Amy Leo, Communications Associate
Angelina resolves to reflect and blog more often
I resolve to do a better job of reflecting on my experiences and capturing lessons learned in our internal knowledge drop - at least monthly. There is so much knowledge that is extremely useful for how we approach future activities and a blog is an effective forum to capture it, but only if we all contribute!
-Angelina McIntire, Senior Knowledge Management and Learning Advisor
Kristin resolves to reflect every Friday
Evidence shows that intentionally setting aside time to reflect on your work (both the good and the bad) leads to increased productivity. My resolution this year is to set aside 15-30 minutes each Friday to reflect on what went well, what didn't, and what I can do moving forward.
-Kristin Lindell, Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Research Specialist
Sarah S. resolves to read more and share her reflections in written form
My intention is always to read more academic articles and journals, but time escapes me. One easy way I plan to read more is through our mini book club - so I resolve to participate more. I’m also good at reflecting out loud and at being *brilliant* in a group setting, but often fail to capture it in written form and therefore miss opportunities to contribute to our collective learning and institutional memory. Hence, I resolve to contribute more to our internal Knowledge Drop and USAID Learning Lab blogs.
-Sarah Schmidt, Deputy Chief of Party
Jen resolves to grow her network
Being new, I'd like to focus on growing a network beyond my immediate colleagues and project teams this year. There are so many capacity building efforts going on around USAID, it would be helpful to grow an informal network to share information about other courses and effective practices. It would also help me build a broader situational awareness to identify connections and opportunities for our work.
-Jen Page, Capacity Building Manager
Samantha resolves to take the time to keep learning
I am always so glad when I buckle down and read an article or chapter, or watch a Ted Talk, that helps me deepen or broaden my knowledge. I just about always take something away that I can apply at once, either in my thinking or in my doing. I resolve to take time to read or watch something from beginning to end once a week and continue to enhance my contribution to CLA and the LEARN team.
-Samantha Levine-Finley, Senior Learning Specialist
Matt resolves to journal more
Documenting both tasks and experiences research suggests is key to enhancing your own productivity and creativity and so I plan on journaling more to both structure work and learn from my own work experiences.
-Matthew Baker, Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Research Specialist
Kat resolves to demonstrate the ability to pivot
I resolve to undertake changes in the way I carry out my work as a result of evidence, formal, or informal feedback. This will involve a commitment to requesting frequent feedback from my colleagues and a commitment to positively engaging with failure.
-Kat Haugh, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Associate
Sarah G. resolves to learn more about LEARN
I resolve to gain a deeper understanding of the CLA Framework and its components so that I can better integrate these concepts into my daily work. As part of this, I'd like to focus on the enabling conditions, specifically those related to "processes," in order to gain more insight on how I can support the intentional and systematic application of these concepts across the different workstreams.
-Sarah Ghoneim, Knowledge and Information Specialist
Piers resolves to blog about leading LEARN
I resolve to contribute a new blog post per month that reflects on the LEARN team’s formation, growth, challenges and opportunities, and the mistakes, successes, and ongoing efforts of the team through the lens of the six components of the USAID Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Framework, a tool we co-created with the agency to help them reflect on how they can be more intentional and systematic about CLA.
-Piers Bocock, Chief of Party
Gene resolves to keep asking “why?”
I resolve to keep wearing a beginner's mind and not hold back on asking “what’s this... why are we doing this …. and how do we know this?” I also resolve to add value through leveraging new networks.
-Gene Kendall, Senior Learning Specialist