I‘m at a crossroads at the close of twenty-twelve – ready to welcome the new year with pronouncement of intentions for making good in 2013 but, ever the evaluator, pressured also to assess promises past. As I consider options for reflection or resolution, it occurs to me that we have an array of alternatives for framing the latter.

Are you ready to make your ’13 proclamations? Here we go: You can… make resolutions, set goals, objectives, or aims, express intentions or aspirations, announce expected outcomes or impacts, identify key performance indicators or key result areas, espouse your visions, or begin with the end in mind. 

Once you decide how to frame your…well, whatever you choose to do, you may then navigate the wonderful world of acronyms. Will your goals be BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely), or SMARTER (see SMART and add Evaluate and Re-evaluate)? Will your objectives GROW (Goals, Reality, Options, Will)? Will your indicators meet CREAM (Clear, Relevant, Economic, Adequate and Monitorable) criteria or will they be SPICED (Subjective, Participatory, Interpreted, Cross-checked, Empowering and Diverse)? Will you use CSFs (Critical Success Factors) for your KPIs?

Disclaimer! Of course I recognize that all these terms are NOT necessarily synonymous and come with a range of varied definitions dependent upon the context in which they’re used, along with certain theoretical underpinnings, assumptions, or values held by those in different fields. I’ve long decried the lack of consensus in the evaluation community on definitions of terms used in our field, while at the same time reveling in the abundance of rich discussion on the topic. I’m fascinated by the intersections of evaluation and business, psychology, sociology, communication, design and a host of other fields.

By the way, if you google the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” + succeed, you’ll find over 6.7 million hits. Do the same with the word “fail” and that figure jumps to over 14.7 million. The good news is: according to a number of articles on the former, evaluating your resolutions and your progress toward them is one key to potential success.

Last questions: how will you frame your {fill in the blank here} and how will you evaluate them?

Sheila & Larry pirate face

Having fun in 2012

As for me, however I choose to frame my intentions, I’m going to lose weight, exercise more, read more books, keep learning, have more fun, and spend some time away from the compu