Palak’s Self Assessment as a Strategic Leader
A few months back, I was in the chaos of my own thoughts; courageous to face any challenge but confused about the results I wanted to bring. As I am learning, I become wiser each day; I understand the value of having a clear vision and a mission to support that vision. As explained by an analogy, life is a game of football, where we cannot go far if we don’t know where the goal posts are. So, before diving into developing strategies, I decided to make my vision and mission clear.
I instantly switch to my “shadow behavior” (from PRINT survey, printsurvey.com) when things do not work out the way I want them to. Lack of patience is my biggest drawback and I am working towards improving my way of handling the stressors. In essence, I am learning to handle my stressors. I aim at targeting the root of the problem. For example, now, I devote enough time towards learning entire dental procedure and not just “my part as an assistant”. this helps me have a clearer idea of the “why” it is done and not just the “what” is to be done, which avoids mistakes to a great extent.
To make sure I don’t mess up, I…
1) Always begin by knowing where you want to end.
It is like driving a car- if you do not know the destination, you just keep on driving. The simplest example would be
2) Set priorities
In a dental clinic, a dentist always asks about the tooth in pain. There are several other areas in the mouth needing treatment, but the area of the complaint must be treated first.
3) Set smaller and achievable goals
I cannot complete reading an entire book in just a day. Such unrealistic goals would lower my morale; instead, I would aim at reading 2 or 3 chapters a day.
4) Set deadlines to achieve those goals
Deadlines take us closer to the goal each day, little by little. It teaches us the art of planning (Buehler, Griffin, & Ross, 1994).
5) Draw out measurable to make sure I am working in the right direction
Taking note of the “learning outcomes” and writing a personal journal, I would set landmarks to avoid getting off track.
6) Reflect and repeat
“Self-reflection allows for you to gain clarity on issues, both personal and professional because you have taken the time to think more deeply about them” (Kraemer, 2011, p.13).
Strengths and Weaknesses
Weakness: As I read the fate of two companies- International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and International Business Machines Corporation (DEC), from the book, Becoming a Strategic Leader (2014) I know the importance of being flexible and instinctive. The case study of IBM and DEC showed me my weakness. Rarely do I opt for an “outside the box thought” and stick to the books. I came across a very commonly used term “open mindedness” in the last semester; flexibility as its simplest meaning. I always knew I was not open minded but never knew its effects. For example, I never read about what I did not believe in or what was against my opinion. And it was all on me that I had incomplete of only half-knowledge.
I may consider consistency as my weakness, but it is my strength as well. It is not just about doing things the same way each time but, about giving the same efforts in whatever sort of work I am doing.
Lack of patience has always taken me down. For me to practice as a dentist in Canada, I have to clear three license exams which takes at least a year and a half and for an impatient someone like me, it seems like forever. However, I consider knowing one’s weakness as his/her biggest strength. Once you know your mistakes and shortcomings means you know what areas to work on and it becomes a lot easier to improve. Moreover, you can analyze the pattern and frequency of your mistakes and the probability of repeating the same mistakes reduces (Boyd, 1989).
Personal/Professional mission, vision and values
|Vision||15 years from now, I see myself settled back, with my family and spending the rest of my life back in my country.||Having spent the majority of my life in a joint family with almost 12 people in the house, I felt a sudden vacancy when I came to Canada. Even after a year, I long for that “family time” and wish to go back to them after a few years.|
|Mission||I wish to own a house in Vancouver for the time I am in Canada.||On every license plate of the vehicles in Canada, it says “Beautiful British Columbia,” which excites me every time I read it. I want to explore this province as much as I can and wish to live to the fullest as long as I am in Canada.|
|Consider family as one of my values and I am extremely grateful to them. I am where I am, solely because of their support.|
|Vision||To be a licensed dental practitioner in Canada||I see myself treating patients and making myself useful to the community. As a student in this country, I have so much to learn from this country; people here have accepted me as one of them, provided me with a job and living, and pushed me towards setting bigger goals. The confidence people here gave me to believe in my capabilities led me to set the bar higher.|
|Mission||To clear NDEB (National Dental Examination Board) exams in no more than 3 years||To fulfill my vision, I set short-term goals which I consider my mission.|
|When I was in my dental school back in India, through the journey of 5 years I developed these values. Then, they were just a bunch of words but their real importance can only be known by practicing these values.|
Values and virtues are one’s conscience. Moreover, they serve as a framework for decision making. Often, we might fall into dilemmas, might get off the track or might feel the need for assistance; this is where our values will help us out.
Key Strategic Drivers
- Areas I would abandon for future development
Getting stuck in the plans and not planning anything (O’Donovan, Rimland Flower, 2013) do worse than it helps. Jotting down the “to dos” and not setting the time frame or strategy to complete those tasks will only overwhelm you. As mentioned in the article, the world is moving at a faster pace (para 3) and so we need to as well. Setting the final goal and creating a blueprint to sort attainable tasks would guide me and prevent sticking in the web of plans and indecisiveness.
2. Areas I will excel in
I believe my dedication and desire to learn will make me a lifelong student; I will make the fullest of opportunities life has given me and continue to learn something new from each experience. I consider this my biggest asset contributing to my success.
Servant leadership values collaborative work. I always get reminded of an analogy of several eggs lined up in a row that can bear the weight of an average human versus a single egg that does not require much force to break. The same is with collaborative working; it creates a balance as the work load is divided equally and contributions are made by everyone. As for instance, a dentist is not the only person behind a patient’s smile; there are lab technicians and auxiliary staff for assisting the doctor. From the knowledge I got so far about leadership, I wish to incorporate most of the components into my personal as well as professional life. I can not only be a better person myself, but also bring change in other people around me.
Old Economy Thinking…
In the initial days of the start of the course, when we were introduced to the concept of servant leadership, one of the students from the cohort pointed out that the principles servant leadership is based on weak leadership according to his culture. From then onwards, I started relating each element to the situation in my country and found that most of them might not work in my country.
Basically, I agreed on the universality of the concepts and thought they might help to bring a better change in my country. However, people’s comprehension has a vast difference across the globe; just as in my friend’s country, servant leadership is a weak leadership model unlike here.
In the book, Becoming a Strategic Leader (2014), the authors explained strategic leadership is an ongoing process (p.21), executed in different ways at every level in an organization. For me, as an employee at a dental clinic, which is considered a smaller organization. In this book, the authors provide an excerpt describing a meeting with Dennie, who had a “not so significant” role in IBM (p. 29); however, he created a vision for the company, he knew what customers needed and therefore proved to be an asset for the company.
As a dental assistant here, and a dentist in India, I have experienced interaction with patients from two different levels. I understand patients better than I did before and I consider this as one of my plus points which will help me in my future practice as a dentist. I believe the strategy is not something that can be taught, it can only be explained ned in certain way. “Crafting strategy is more of a discovery process than it is a determination process” (Hughes, Beatty & Dinwoodie, 2014, p.28). There is no definite list of strategies to look at, they have to be tailored according to the situation and modified from time to time. And as an ongoing process, I have still a lot to learn.
Strengths I Discovered
As I point out this “strength”, I represent every international student going to a different country in search for a better future.
- From severe cultural changes to extreme climatic changes, transformations have taught us only to be stronger and more resilient. This trains us to fight and adapt to any difficult situation we might face as a leader.
- As we meet and make friends with people all across the globe, we learn their language; not only to speak but to talk, learn to put our thoughts the way they won’t misunderstand, and accept their beliefs without losing our roots. This trains us to make us comfortable and competent to work with a diverse group of people.
Boyd, R. (1989). Mistakes allow evolutionary stability in the repeated prisoner’s dilemma game. Journal of theoretical Biology, 136(1), 47-56.
Buehler, R., Griffin, D., & Ross, M. (1994). Exploring the” planning fallacy”: Why people underestimate their task completion times. Journal of personality and social psychology. 67(3). 366. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=70ef3a4d-2da1-41c8-b46e-69465bab9543%40sessionmgr101
Hughes R., Colarelli-Beatty K. & Dinwoodie D. (2014) Becoming a strategic leader. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Second Edition ISBN 978-1-118-56723-4. Kindle version.
Kraemer, H. (2011). From values to actions: the four principles of values-based leadership. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
O’Donovan, D., & Flower, N. R. (2013). The strategic plan is dead. Long live strategy. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_strategic_plan_is_dead._long_live_strategy
Print survey. (2018) The Paul Hertz Group: Miami. Retrieved from https://www.printsurvey.com/surveyml/default.cfm?r=93261118021800&lang=english&CFID=712800&CFTOKEN=90e9e6b0129efedf-2E92CB38-155D-F311-4C45F30C09373923