August brings the end of the fiscal year for not for profits, the beginning of the academic year for higher education and a feeling of “newness” for us all. With summer vacations coming to a close, children heading back to school, and the weather becoming cooler, I have typically considered August as a time well suited for New Year’s resolutions of a professional type. Where can I make strides to change my behavior as a leader, a strategic planner and as a scholar of my practice? How can I find renewed energy when the difficulties of senior leadership may weigh heavy? Where can mentorship and tutelage bring to me the needed support and scaffolding that I require?
Annually, I advise to put a plan of action into play to go into effect the week of Labor Day, which will help hold me individually responsible to myself and my own work, and which will consequently help the full team. Think of it as an adult version of going to your favorite office supply store, and loading up on new binders, pens and organizers – there is nothing that some of us find as exciting as new school supplies. But rather than limiting your scope to new paper and pens, consider your time, and how you are spending it not only on yourself, but on your team. How much time is being dedicated to project management, reflection and assessment and competency building?
Once the hustle of the close of the fiscal has ended or the start of the academic year has commenced be intentional about identifying:
- One outcome to measure
- One action to take
- One moment to hold
In detail, when considering an outcome to measure – think about an effort that you are considering either changing or maintaining, but the decision will benefit from being data informed. Think about services you provide or actions you take. By identifying an outcome that relates directly to that service or action, and measuring it, you will be able to move forward in an informed way.
When choosing an action to take, think about how you want to be considered as a leader. Is your reputation as a leader one that builds capacity, or are you regarded as someone who could let go a bit? Be honest with yourself and take action to move your leadership to a more aspirational level.
There are weeks that go by without an opportunity to reflect. Please be deliberate and find 15 minutes in your week that are yours to reflect. Block it out at a time that is unlikely to be interrupted or rescheduled and make it your time to reflect on the week that has just passed. Take notes, maintain a journal or consider some other ways to keep track of your reflections.
With that, have a “Happy New Year.”