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A Six Month Review of Leadership Goals

One commonality in approach of the two leadership programs I am a part of is around goal setting and intentionality. For the year-long program, their portal has a structure that allows goals to be set and shared with the other people in the program. Those goals are then further solidified with actions or behaviors that can be set as single (deadline-based) or multi (consistency-based) use. One of the takeaways from a recent in-person workshop in Iowa was to review those goals and actions to evaluate the following:

  • Are the goals still valuable to this current point in your leadership journey?
  • Are there any that are no longer valid?
  • Can you mark any as complete?

As goals go, complete is a misnomer since they should define a journey not a destination, but the idea is to reassess the goals you set at the outset six months ago and reaffirm, abandon, or mark them as complete/closed.

I worked on the reassessment yesterday. I felt I had personally made progress in a number of key areas to the point that I marked two goals and their associated actions as complete/closed. I have been building my competencies and behaviors in delegation and strategic thinking and it was time to move my focus onto other areas that I now know I need work, like influence and networking. As with delegation and strategy, I noted in myself an intentionality brought about by goal setting more than the actions associated with those goals. Even if only symbolic in nature, the goal setting itself helped me to be more aware of the things I needed to pursue to be a better leader.

My intent to refocus on influence and network expansion came to me through an interview experience I had recently. I know that the team I work with provides best-in-class technology support to all the groups with which we interface, but the pool is relatively small given our focus on library staff and patrons. My vision for the unit is to make that name for ourselves more broadly (perhaps even beyond campus), providing support and expertise to the larger campus community through partnership (active and intentional) and reputation (passive but with a natural feedback loop that we are doing our jobs well).

In the interview, I was interacting with people I had never met, but we all shared a common vision (and passion) for DEI work and education. It struck me that while I have tried to expand my network and visibility through committee work at the campus level and I am trying to create those relationships across divisional boundaries, the work I do day-to-day is still very insulated. So when I was asked to map my professional network, this paradigm came into sharp contrast. My network is focused on very specific communities and there are very few campus connections outside of the IT community.

Even the largest of campus communities isn't excessively large, however, so when you find common ground with other people, even in different units, that should be an indication that you should be working together. In any case, reassessing my leadership goals was a valuable exercise given the progress I feel I have made during this last six months; it makes me think that another behavior I should put into action is a periodic and consistent review of my professional goals and vision to adapt to current contexts and new information.