External Standards vs. External Control
Do you want a doctor who “thinks” she has learned enough to do your surgery?
Writing from a coffee shop in Spokane, Washington, this morning. Margaret and I are on our way to Missoula, Montana, to see our son, Jordan, graduate from law school. More on Jordan and law school this weekend.
Tim Mitchell and Jim Weller brought up great questions regarding the process of evaluation and specifically, self-evaluation, and today, Bob Hoglund, senior faculty at William Glasser, Inc., and the chairperson of the Glasser board in the U.S., adds to our understanding in the following article –
External Expectations and Standards vs. External Control
Bob Hoglund, Senior Faculty, WGI
With Dr. Glasser’s emphasis on External Control Psychology vs. Choice Theory®, it seems necessary to distinguish between reasonable external expectations (standards) and external control. Consider the following:
- Do you want a pilot who self-evaluated that he is able to fly a passenger jet?
- Do you want a farmer to self-evaluate that his meat is acceptable for consumers?
- Do you want a manager who NEVER gives you feedback or direction?
- Do you want an auto company to decide on its own that the problem with the brakes isn’t that bad?
- Do you want a doctor that “thinks” she’s learned enough to do your surgery?
- Do you want a dentist that has “decided” he’s ready to do your root canal?
- The flaw of self-evaluation is… If all you do is self-evaluate, how do you know what you don’t know?
Given the above questions and expected answers, it would seem that there is a place for external standards and evaluations. For example,
- Teachers provide needed instruction and feedback to their students. Without this, students may not learn properly or may practice incorrect methods.
- Coaches correct actions to improve skills the players have not yet mastered.
- Parents provide instruction and limits to teach their children the values and behaviors that they expect.
Many professions require external certifications in order to ensure standards of safety are met; however, unless an individual finds some worth in the external expectations and evaluations, there is little likelihood that he will produce quality work. The key to external evaluation is involving the individual in finding value in expectations and evaluations.
Additionally, it is important for the workers to be taught exactly what is expected of them, prior to any self or external evaluation. Dr. Deming said, “It is not enough to do your best. You must first know what to do and then do your best.” When there are set processes, procedures or policies, rubrics, checklists and other quality tools are helpful to the teaching/learning process and to enhance the quality or self and external evaluations.
When external evaluations are required, there are three factors that increase the likelihood that external evaluation will produce the desired result. External evaluation and information is crucial to our learning and growth. The external evaluation doesn’t “make” us do, think or feel anything. We take the external information and use the “self-evaluation” process to determine if we will use the information we are getting.
The term learner is used from this point forward to represent anyone receiving feedback or evaluation information because successful external evaluation results in learning.
There are three factors that determine the effectiveness of external evaluation?
1. Does it benefit the learner?
a. How will the evaluation be used?
b. Does the learner have a chance to improve the rating/grade or score?
2. Is it wanted / asked for?
a. Does the learner “respect” the source of the evaluation?
b. Does the rating / grade / score mean anything to the learner?
3. Does the evaluation give the learner the information needed to make the necessary improvements?
“Does the evaluation give the learner the information needed to make the necessary improvements” is the crux of the Glasser Quality School Model. Reteach and retest.
Dr. Glasser’s emphasis on self-evaluation and co-verification can coexist with the expectations of external evaluation that are expected in many workplaces and schools. This coexistence can become positive by involving others in the evaluation process.
A suggestion for increasing meaningful methods of external evaluation is to survey the individual(s) who will be evaluated. Questions, such as the following, provide a base from which to build useful, meaningful evaluations.
1. What does your ideal performance review look or sound like?
a. What would you like it to say?
b. What knowledge and skills would be recognized?
c. What accomplishments would be included?
2. In what type of environment do you work best?
a. How do you get along with others?
b. How do you treat others?
c. How do others get along with you?
d. On a scale of 1 to 10, how autonomous would you prefer your job to be?
i. How often do you think you should report your progress?
ii. How would you like to report your progress?
3. What expectations do you have of yourself?
a. What expectations do you think that the company has of you?
b. What expectations seem reasonable to you?
c. What expectations don’t seem reasonable to you?
d. How do you reconcile any differences between the two?
4. What type of evaluation is most helpful for you?
a. When do you want to receive it?
b. How do you want to receive it?
In conclusion, The Three E’s (Hoglund, 2000) provide the framework for optimal benefit:
The expectations and evaluations occur within a positive, supportive, trusting learning and working environment.
The expectations, even when external, have benefits for the learner or worker.
The evaluation is helpful because it meets the above criteria.