Personal Strategic Development Assessment

Being strategic is not always easy

Being strategic is not always easy.  Strategies require carefully crafted approaches. According to Ungerer, Ungerer & Herholdt (2016):

Strategic success is not based on a single cause, but is the result of various variables interacting in a virtuous way. Two strategic variables contributing hugely to strategic success are (1) the ability of leaders to choose the winners from amongst the many available strategic options and (2) the ability to consistently execute these strategic choices in an excellent way. (p. 2).  The world we live in today is characterised by experts as a so-called VUCA environment, which represents features of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. (p. 3).

The world is large and I chose  to study in Canada and specifically at Trinity Western University because of values and ethics.   Are there challenges in doing so? Certainly. Will I navigate these challenges? Certainly. I have  not come this far to fail. With my faith grounded in God, I constantly seek his guidance. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16: 9, New International Version).   Settling in a new country as a family comes with challenges.  Some of the challenges we encounter as a family were unforeseen and are tedious. However, Peck states “Life is Difficult – One of the greatest truths. Once we truly see this truth we transcend it” (Peck, 1978, p. 12).  We embrace  our challenges knowing they are making us stronger and providing lessons to share with others.  Taking this leadership course means much to me and I could not  do so without the great sacrifices of my husband to whom I am forever  grateful.   As a strategic leader I need to analyse my environment and make decisions to positively and effectively impact my personal and professional development.

Handling personal and professional stressors is not one of my strengths. However, I am developing in this area.  In the past, besides reliance on God through prayer, I sought solitude. My Birkman Assessment review indicates the need for me to be among closely knit people and involve myself  in activities  I enjoy. This practice provides great benefit for me since in Canada.  I spend a lot of time with my immediate family, keep in touch with other families and friends and get involved in external fun games.  As a family we entertain a lot of people in our home, which helps in building new friendships.  I learnt the power of community and the need to deepen community in Sustainable Leadership course, be it work, home, school, church or otherwise (Born 2014).  Also, coming from a country with a culture where it is uncommon for persons to not know their neighbours, our family along with another organized a barbecue and invited all the persons living on our street and adjoining streets.  It was an amazing time – lots of people (including the children), food, fun and people getting to know each other, including those who  lived on the same street for years.

Similar to my personal life, I did not resolve conflicts well  during my professional years. I usually seek to leave the organization when  conflicts occurred or existence of misaligned personal and organization values.  Again, I learnt to accommodate others without comprise in Sustainable Leadership course.  As a leader I need to foster change through adaptability without compromising my values.  Snyder (2013) described adaptive energy as “The force propelling you to reach your dreams” (p. 34).  I am learning to embrace challenges and differences as opportunities to advance my professional growth.

To be a great leader I need    to demonstrate a level of resilience in adversities. As a mother I have  to demonstrate to my son how to manage difficult situations in life. As a fellow Jamaican once told me, a wife needs  to be strong when her husband needs someone to hold his hands up.   I need   to be an inspiration for my family and friends who need someone to inspire them.  Secondly, I have to persevere through adversities to accomplish my professional dream of leading youths and providing inspirations for adults to pursue their God given passions. Being determined requires me to be resolute, persistent, imaginative and inspired (Hargreaves, Boyle and Harris 2014).

My Personal Vision, Mission and Values:

My personal vision is to live an exemplary life worthy of emulation. My mission is to inspire others to do the same, by striving continually to achieve my goals.   My values are to conduct my daily activities with honesty and integrity and to value and respect others.

My Professional Vision, Mission and Values

My professional vision is to provide holistic guidance to youths in the development and implementation of their God given passions and also to inspire adults to pursue their God given passions.  My professional mission is to complete my leadership programme, and through collaborative efforts provide support and guidance for youths to identify and develop their passions.  I will also provide inspiration to adults who need courage and motivation to pursue their dreams. My vision and mission are grounded in the beliefs of honesty and integrity and the need to value and respect people.  My dream coupled with the thoughts of Hargreaves, et al. (2014) provides the strategic insight to seek collaboration with organizations who share my vision and whose values align with mine.  According to Hargreaves, Boyle & Harris (2014):

Dreams are most powerful when they are held collectively by a community, rather than pursued for individual self-interest. The most inspiring dreams are therefore fundamentally connected to improving an entire organization, whole communities – even entire countries. (p. 18).

As stated by Hughes, Colarelli-Beatty and Dinwoodie (2014) “There are many drivers however, organizations cannot choose all and are required to choose 3-5 known as the levers” (p. 27).  The three key drivers I choose to apply to my personal and professional development are 1. Collaboration, 2. Value and Ethics and 3. Results.

Collaboration – According to Born (2014) “It takes a community to make a quilt, the more beautiful the quilt, the more beautiful the community” (p. 93). This referenced to the beautiful quilts made by community members who were united in purpose of auctioning quilts to raise funds to support other community members.  It demonstrates the power of collaboration where there is unity of purpose.

Values and Ethics – “To lead in a virtuous way is challenging and is not a guarantee for success or good results. Neither is it sustainable, competitive or profitable to ignore virtues and ethical business practices” (Ungerer, et al., 2016, p. 51). I agree with these views.

Results – I generally strive for results. In my professional life I strive to achieve results. Based on my values achieving results also mean adhering to the guided principles for achieving such. I thrive in environments where results meet integrity.

“Success is very shallow if it does not have emotional meaning”, Schultz, H. according to (Ungerer, et al., 2016, p. 53).  The personal and professional culture I wish to develop are derived from my passion of self-actualization and to help others achieve the same.  Wanting to live my purpose of developing my self spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.  Professionally I also want to lead an organization and collaborate with others who generally desire to help others fulfill their God given passions.  It took courage, integrity and passion for me to be where I am at today.  The same attributes are required in my future endeavours.

Ungerer, et al. (2016) describes strategic leadership as a learning process and requires endurance. Strategic leadership cannot be confined.  Its impact occurs over time spans and involves significant changes.  My learning and development requires expansion of my knowledge, humility to accept my weaknesses, identify my strengths and seek collaborative partners. Understanding the internal and external environment is critical.  It is also important to seek collective views to eliminate biases according to my perspective (Ungerer, 2016, p. 23).  Other factors to consider according to Ungerer, et al. (2016) are the demographic trends, the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, is there capacity to meet the demand and how effective and sustainable is the organization or proposal.

As previously stated by Ungerer, et al. (2016), we are operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. As a strategic leader I need to develop and improve on new economical practices. I need to develop the necessary skills to transform the lives of people through empowerment. Continuous improvement of my skills and competencies is also necessary. I need to seek new and emerging strategies through partnerships to remain relevant and effective in the environment which I operate.

Having worked with an international organization provided me with valuable experiences which focused on achieving results and doing so with the application of values and ethics. I need to learn how to better develop strategies for collaboration as well as how to help others to achieve results through personal development.

References

Born, P. (2014) Deepening community: Finding joy together in chaotic times. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.student.twu.ca:2956/eds/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzY0MjU2NV9fQU41?sid=18591a81-de15-4b83-b1f8-f14f944bad86@sessionmgr102&vid=1&format=EB

Hargreaves, A., Boyle, A., Harris, A. (2014). Uplifting leadership: How organizations, teams and communities raise performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Peck. S. (1978). The road less travelled. Retrieved from https://www.apnamba.com/Ebooks-pdf/The%20Road%20Less%20Traveled.pdf

Snyder, S. (2013). Leadership and the art of struggle. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc

Ungerer, M., Ungerer, G., & Herholdt, J. (2016). Navigating strategic possibilities: Strategy formulation and execution practices to flourish . Randburg: KR Publishing.