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What's Your Plan for Leadership Development?

A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.

- William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894) 2014 is almost here.  Just a few more days and you'll be back in the thick of work -- meetings, programming, planning -- back in the safe harbor of organizational routine.  But wait a minute: Is that the most beneficial or strategic place for you or your institution to be?   If you want to learn or hone skills, develop meaningful mentoring relationships, or move to a new level of leadership capacity, then there's no time like the start of a bright, shiny new year to set sail and begin your journey. In order to do any of those things, you've got to have a plan -- a plan based not only on needs, but also on wants that help make your vision for your work a reality.  Perhaps you're one of the very few who've developed a professional development plan based on your most recent performance evaluation.  (If so, we hope you hit the ground running in 2014!)  In reality, we know that neither personal development plans nor regular conversations about performance and professional growth are standard for the vast majority of nonprofit cultural organizations, so this post is for the the rest of us. Before the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" fade away, make some time to reflect on your professional accomplishments and disappointments of 2013, the skills and talents you developed, and the ones that need work.  This worksheet will help structure your self-assessment.  Now, you've got some context with which to think about you in the future. Knowing what's on your plate for 2014, what skills and attributes are critical to advancing your leadership capacity as well as your institution's mission?  What opportunities already exist for leadership of a project or team, or addressing an organizational gap?  How might you rearrange what's ahead to accommodate your leadership development?  Are there places where training, honing, mentoring, experimentation and/or coaching fit in?  And how would your professional capacity-building pay off for your institution?  Imbedded in your answers will be your goals, strategies and tasks -- in other words, a plan of action that you can take to your boss or your board.  This worksheet talks about goal setting. Don't waste another minute.  The wind is ready to fill your sails.

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