This post is the first of a six part series of Notes from the Field where Holly, an analyst in an HR department at a major university, talks about her experience using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step. Holly will share a small part of her overall exploration, for a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or the online leadership development program for either emerging leaders or leaders.
I have always been a driven person, striving to reach goals and interested in progressing. Although my passion for improvement has continuously pushed me forward, I had never attempted to define my personal vision. The steps outlined in the Innovative Leadership Workbook forced me to fast-forward through my life and imagine looking back at I accomplished. I had to hypothetically examine what I would have been most proud of, what others would have said about me, who would have helped me along the way, and more. This process helped me to put my personal values into perspective in order to ensure I am doing all that I can to successfully create my personal vision.
Personally, I found this exercise gratifying and, to an extent, emotional. It is usually only in hindsight that we consider changes or make an effort do things differently in the future, but this process really helped me evaluate my values and align them my expectations, and gave me the insight about what I need to do differently to more accurately align my values with my personal vision as I move forward.
Throughout the exercise my vision continued to be refined as I put forth more thought in exploring what is most important to me. It was also important for me to realize that my vision will continue to evolve over time, but will provide me with some navigation tools to keep me on track.
After writing a story about my life and identifying my top personal values, I was able to form a personal vision.
Holly’s Overall Life Vision: To always see the goodness in people and support their life goals.
Additional thoughts supporting my life vision are that I will be understanding of the needs of others and do my best to help provide support through listening, opening my heart, volunteering, mentoring, and treating others with compassion. I hope to lead by example.
I was able to determine an overall vision, but I found that there was a slight overlap as well as a void when combining my professional vision with my individual vision and my family. The earlier steps in the process of defining my personal vision helped craft an overall vision and, also, to further evaluate it based on what is most important to me.
My family is the most important feature of my life. The relationships are strong and have helped shape me into the person I am today. Many of my successes are a result of the guidance—and qualities of the influence—from family members and close friends. I continue to embrace my family and hope to carry on their values.
Personal Values: My top three personal values are family, compassion, and helping other people and animals. There are several other close categories that are important to me not reflected in the top three. To meet my overall vision while also succeeding with my family and work, I will have to strive to maintain a work-life balance my family’s needs and practice taking the time to reflect on my individual needs. Currently, much of my time is devoted to my education, work, and family. In the future, I plan to find dedicated time to volunteer and mentor others. I find helping others and influencing others to be closely intertwined and critically important. If those who are passionate about this cannot find the time, how can we continue to pass it forward?
After evaluating my top three values, I believe I have chosen the correct career path. I was fortunate throughout my education to have had strong mentors who helped guide me toward a career in Human Resources. I cannot say that it has always been “easy-breezy,” but, ultimately, I think they helped me identify my values and strengths early on. I have been able to use my compassion to succeed and desire to help others mitigate difficult situations. In many cases, I have brought a “reality-check” that views both sides of a situation: the business side and personal side.
As part of the workbook, I also answered several reflection questions. These helped me clarify my initial vision and values, and how they play out in my life. I expect to revisit and refine my vision during this process as I learn more about myself and what is realistic.
Next week I will share my personal analysis of my strengths and opportunities for growth based on my vision.
To learn more about becoming a more effective leader using Innovative Leadership we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com BLMOregon