Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Blog: Committing to the Values Survey

A Guest Blog by Katy Rees.

The FAS Values Survey is near and dear to my heart. When we first launched it several years ago, we weren’t sure how it would affect our culture. It’s been amazing to watch our response rates grow, to know that we entrust VP Hawk with our honest comments, and to invest in making the FAS culture better each year. It has also been interesting for me to be a proponent of the Values Survey – championing the improvement of our workplace climate, to now being a manager who is directly responsible for nurturing that in my departments. I am fortunate enough to lead the great folks from the VP’s Office as well as Risk Management & Safety. These teams are composed of dedicated, talented and wonderful individuals who make my job a labor of love. They deserve a leader who walks the talk and who is accountable for her actions. It was easy to develop my three commitments, because they are actions that I wanted to take for many months; this simply gave me the excuse to publicly commit to achieving them.

The three commitments I made at our division meeting are:
  • I will become more purposeful with my time by setting a proactive schedule
  • I will schedule quarterly informal meetings and conversations with each staff member
  • I will communicate a clear vision, and set long-term and short-term plans for my units
The first one is easier said than done. It seems simple to just stick to my schedule and to plan out my week with more purpose. Unfortunately, I had fallen prey to a hectic calendar full of meetings, and didn’t spend enough time preparing for a well-thought-out week. I analyzed the frequency, duration and topics of my meetings to ensure that I was the correct person to attend each committee meeting, to make time for 1:1 meetings, and to ensure I had prep time before and after crucial meetings so I could follow up on action items. My goal is to set a proactive and purposeful schedule that honors my colleagues’ time, and to conduct useful meetings. I am still working on getting this goal just right, but I now plan out my week instead of merely having my week happen to me.

My second commitment was to spend more informal time with each staff member. The work day gets busy and it’s too easy to assume that each person feels heard, and has access to time with me. I scheduled a coffee meeting and a lunch with each staff member. This has proved to be invaluable to me, and it’s something I plan on continuing. I had the opportunity to get to know each person personally and professionally. We talked about professional development plans, career goals, brainstormed ideas for how to improve our work practices, and I was able to learn about each person’s unique strengths and aspirations. I asked for input on how I could improve as a leader and how I could better support them or their department. Most importantly, I feel that I’ve become more accessible to each staff member and that I’m better in touch with how I could improve as a leader. Once again – I still have a lot to learn and many improvements to make, but this has proven to be a great use of time and a wonderful initiative.

Finally, I committed to communicating a clear vision, and setting long-term and short-term plans for my units. This third commitment greatly depends on doing the first two commitments well. I needed to be purposeful with my time, make time for the important things, and to leverage that knowledge into setting a compelling vision with supporting plans. I’m now at that juncture with my team to have those conversations, to plan our next steps, and to paint a picture for where we want to be. I’ll let you know how it goes. Stay tuned!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are doing a great job!
I have never felt so heard, so undeniably supported and so genuinely appreciated. Today, I would say you are definitely on the right track to fulfilling your commitments. - Regina Frasca