We make goals for our projects – key performance indicators – and we measure our performance by those goals. They may be quantitative or qualitative. However, projects aren’t the only type of work that have goals; meetings also have goals. Questions to ask yourself when you go into a meeting, whether or not you are the person running the meeting, and whether or not it is a group gathering or one-on-one:
- What is this meeting meant to achieve?
- What are my personal objectives for this meeting?
- What actions will I take in this meeting to meet my objectives?
It’s coming up on that time of year when I assess my activities as an employee. By the time a year has passed, I find that I must redefine my job description. Needs have come up that have required me to step beyond what I was originally hired to do, for example. And I have a bigger vision of what I could be doing to be a more effective member of my team.
My mentor suggested going through the following steps:
- Write down everything you currently do – how do you spend your time at work?
- List all the elements of your job description – the one that someone would find in your personnel file.
- What else would you like to do? List things that are absent from both lists that you want to do as part of your job that you currently don’t do and aren’t in your job description.
- Determine the percentage of time you spend on each current activity. Write these values next to each item in your first list.
- Determine the percentage of time you want to spend on each item on all three lists.
What have you learned from this exercise? How different are your actual activities from your job description? How different is your vision of your job from what you actually do?
My mentor followed up with me on my vision:
Respectful and Respected • Balanced and Effective • Enabling and Vulnerable • Boundless with Knowledge, yet Succinct • Relaxed, with Harnessed Passion
I mentioned that I struggled most with balance this past month. I usually work too hard, don’t get out for lunch, and experience anxiety over every detail, relationship, project, and collaboration. My mentor then drew for me a wheel. I think some people call it a “wheel of life” or a “life balance wheel”. He didn’t draw the typical wheel (where each section represents one of family, career, health, education, spirituality, etc.), but rather my mentor created one out of the parts of the vision I have for myself (respectful and respected, enabling and vulnerable, etc.).
I marked where I felt I was with each part of my vision. Balanced and effective are the characteristics where I marked myself lowest. My goal in the next two weeks is to work on this part of who I am and who I want to be. My balance affects my effectiveness, which I feel affects the other parts of the wheel.
Each section of the wheel requires a certain “value”. I expressed to my mentor that I feel I only have a certain aggregate value and if I spend more value (time, effort, energy) on one part of the wheel, something else will fall short. However, he assured me that the wheel doesn’t necessarily work that way. I realize that the wheel itself reflects balance between all these sections – balance itself is needed for the entire vision to work.