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Recognizing Accomplishments and Discussing Strengths

The annual performance process for Drexel's professional staff is shifting from a traditional annual review toward a more developmental process. This shift will allow for more collaboration between professional staff members and their managers and will create space for a more engaging experience for everyone involved.

Describing professional staff members' accomplishments and the strengths that contributed to them are essential to development conversations, and in turn, development plans that result in engagement and excellence.

A strength is "the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity."
–Gallup, "How Employees' Strengths Makes Your Company Stronger"

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Tips for describing accomplishments and strengths

  • Review the goals you set earlier in the year. If you were able to accomplish them, use them as a jumping-off point. Share how you accomplished the goal, and what you do well that allowed you to do so.

  • Identify something you accomplished that wasn't an established goal or objective. Maybe you learned something new and put it into practice, or helped your team work through an unforeseen challenge. Remember to share what you do well that helped you with the accomplishment.

  • Consider using the STAR method for describing accomplishments:

  • Situation / Task Describe the project, problem, or challenge that you were presented with in detail
    Action Describe the actions you took to move the project forward, solve the problem, or address the challenge
    Result Describe the outcome of your actions and how it impacted your work or your team's ability to succeed

Managers can also use these tips to describe a direct report's accomplishments and strengths.

Examples of recognizing accomplishments and discussing strengths

Professional Staff Member: "I'm a fast learner and comfortable with technology. Because most of our interactions used to be in-person, and COVID-19 made in-person interactions impossible, I quickly became the team's resident virtual meeting expert. This allowed me to create a more engaging virtual environment for our team interactions, and I also taught my teammates some of the finer points of the Zoom platform, so they were also able to hold more successful virtual meetings."

Manager: "I agree that your ability to quickly learn an unfamiliar tool and implement it on behalf of our team was incredibly valuable during this challenging time. I would add that your ability to patiently and effectively share your new learning with your colleagues was an equally important accomplishment — one that created far-reaching success among your colleagues. This also shows how adaptable you are."

The list of strengths below are examples Professional Staff Members may use to detail accomplishments within the Performance Development Process.

Builds strong relationships / is empathic / seeks diverse perspectives / includes others in decision-making / creates a strong professional network / is collaborative / lifts others up
Shares information / helps others learn and develop / attends to own learning / puts learning to use / uses resources
Embraces change / leads change / is adaptable
Inspires others / shares vision
Thinks critically / makes good decisions / supports reasonable risks / learns from mistakes / thinks strategically / effectively analyzes situations and data
Communicates clearly / shares ideas and solutions / listens actively
Is accountable / encourages accountability in others / is responsible

Video — One Thing You Need to Know: Strengths and Performance Reviews