Published since 1946
Tools to Accelerate Development of Reasoning and Judgment Available
Tools that can be used to accelerate development of reasoning and judgment by conservation professionals are now available on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) website. The tools are based on an in-depth assessment of the habits and practices of high-performing professionals. As previously reported by the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), the 30 habits and practices relate to five broad themes: being critically inquisitive and continuously learning; applying multi-level, integrated systems thinking; exercising self-discipline; taking a balanced approach; and being conscious of interactions with others.
The tools include an Individual Self-Assessment that allows an individual to determine how closely their habits and practices align with those of their high-performing peers. There is also a Multi-Perspective Assessment tool that can be used to gather insight from others, such as co-workers, supervisors, or subordinates. A Context-Specific Assessment tool can be used to take a “deeper dive” into the role certain habits and practices played in a particular setting, enhancing or hindering the outcome. Results of these assessments can be used to inform creation of Individual Professional Development Plans that focus on either specific tasks within a job description or select habits and practices in need of improvement. In addition to being useful for individuals, versions of these tools are also available for assessment and improvement of team performance. Along with the tools, the project compiled a comprehensive catalog of literature related to all 30 habits and practices to provide users a base of information for crafting their professional development plan.
The tools were developed by Dan Decker, Bill Siemer, and Meghan Baumer of Cornell University; Ann Forstchen with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Pat Lederle and Emily Pomeranz with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Shawn Riley of Michigan State University; Mike Schiavone with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation; and Chris Smith with WMI. Smith said, “The whole team shared a commitment to addressing the need to speed up developing sound reasoning and good judgment among early and mid-career professionals in the face of more and more retirements of experienced staff. We conducted research into what makes high-performing professionals so effective and then built practical tools others can use to emulate those habits and practices. We’re thrilled that AFWA’s Management Assistance Team (MAT) has agreed to champion and support use of the tools.”
Kelly Reynolds, Program Manager for the MAT, is excited about the addition of these new tools to MAT’s training resources. She said, “This suite of tools falls right in line with the Management Assistance Team’s mission to further the conservation goals of state fish and wildlife agencies through organizational and leadership development of agency staff at all levels.” Bettina Fiery, who manages MAT’s leadership development training said, “The MAT looks forward to the opportunity to not only assist individuals, but also agency teams in developing skills to become high performers and achieve greater effectiveness.”
The MAT has scheduled a webinar for 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on February 25 to spread the word about the tools and address users’ questions. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the AFWA website for later viewing.