How did I do?

I am sometimes challenged, usually by experienced consulting arborists, about the relevance of taking qualifications in subjects for which they may have decades of experience.  The Lantra Professional Tree Inspector qualification is typical of those whose merits are challenged by the experienced individual.

Having been subject, myself, to this particular appraisal, and also to peer review for a BS5837:2012 report, I have asked myself, with each piece of work, ‘how did I do?’  I am appreciating that, for me, far from being able to rest in the credibility of my years of experience, I am actually only as good as my last success.

There is an accountancy practice near to me which seeks feedback from clients for each and every commission.  The firm’s performance is then rated on a scale of 1-10, and regularly reviewed.  They strive to do better.  When I last heard, the customer satisfaction was at more than 8 out of 10.  They were aiming to get to 9.

Asking a client for their honest feedback can seem daunting.  Subjecting a report to peer review can shatter illusions.  However, I am only as good as my last success.  My aim is to know what I got right, and how I achieved this, so I can work to repeat it.  And if something didn’t work, I want to explore why, so I can avoid this next time.

Sir Bruce Forsythe had the catch phrase ‘didn’t they do well’, for contestants on the Generation Game.  It was used regardless of how the contestants had actually performed.  It may be challenging, but I think knowing that something was good, but not to the usual standard, is better than flattery.

Mark Chester is a practising tree consultant at Cedarwood Tree Care, director of the Consulting Arborist Society and a former Tree Officer. A graduate in Amenity Horticulture, he holds the AA Technician?s Certificate. He is a Chartered Environmentalist and Professional Member of the Arboricultural Association and the Institute of Horticulture. As a professional arborist, Mark prepares tree reports for clients from is Herefordshire consultancy.