Cristina de Vizcarrondo and I attended and ISACS sponsored workshop in Chicago on December 8, 2008. Our goal was to organize a plan as we enter into the World Languages Department's Super Review scheduled to begin in the fall of 2009. Leading the workshop was Barbara Braham Ph.D., an Executive Leadership coach. Her objectives were to help us build skills in four leadership competencies: setting goals, setting priorities, running meetings and delegating work.
Dr. Braham worked through each competency in a very methodical manner. She emphasized how important it is to have a clear and creative vision. Orienting the department around that vision is vital. The challenge is to recognize where we are at currently and identifying how to reduce the gap between the current reality and the vision.
Having SMART Goals means making sure they are Specific, Measurable, Aligned/Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Dr. Braham points to the work of Steven Covey from his book, First Things First as a good resource for establishing priorities. Charting goals on a scale of urgency and importance will help us decide what to do first. Managing our competing priorities requires respectful and on-going discussions.
Our meetings during the Super Review year will benefit from well run meetings. Key components of effective meetings fall under the acronym: SOLVE (Side conversations distract; Over-talk prevents total communication; Listening is active; Voices are heard; Everyone respects the floor). It is a good idea to have an agenda with a time line for meetings as well as a way to make sure everyone's voice is heard. Finally, we need to define the goal/s of every meeting and be able to evaluate our success at the end of the meeting.
When delegating work, the more specific the better. Who is doing the work? How is the work to be done? By when? Quick and frequent surveys to check on progress are good ways to keep everyone on task and focused. This also helps to identify roadblocks along the way.
Learn more about Barbara Braham at: bbraham.com