So you’ve set a Goal. Now what? The next step is to find and complete activities that will help you achieve your Goal.If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for Activities, don’t worry - we put together this guide to help you get started.
What’s an Activity?
An Activity is any experience, interaction, project, or a work product you do that contributes to your professional growth.
As an example, let’s say you set a Goal to do four Activities to improve at Project Management in the next four weeks, and you are working on a project/initiative at work. Here are some Activities you may track in Nodabl:
- Created project plan for project <project name>: This is a tangible work product that you produced. (It’s also an Activity that may touch on other competencies such as Goals / Objectives Management and Metrics and Measurement.)
- Reviewed project plan during team meeting: This an experience you had. (It’s also an Activity that may touch on other competencies such as Public Speaking, Leading Meetings, and Persuasion.)
- Followed up with <team member> on late deliverable: This is an interaction you had. (It’s also an Activity that may touch on other competencies such as Feedback & Coaching, and Conflict Resolution.)
- Finished project <Project Name> and analyzed impact: This is a project you did. (It’s also an Activity that may touch on other competencies such as Metrics and Measurement.)
- Presented Impact of <Project Name> to team: This is an experience/interaction. (It’s also an Activity that may touch on other competencies such as Public Speaking, and Presentation Writing / Creation.)
As you track these in Nodabl, take some time reflecting on the Activity. Reflect on what went well, what surprised you, and what you want to practice next time. You can use the Activity Notes to document your reflections. Even if you don’t document your thoughts, the act of reflecting will help you synthesize and internalize your learning, accelerating your growth and increasing the impact of your Activities.
Activities in your day to day
Think hard about what you do on a regular basis; you may already be working toward your Goals without realizing it.
This is often the case with Goals that relate to:
- Functional competencies directly relevant to your role (e.g., Marketing competencies, Software Engineering competencies)
- Communication & Collaborations competencies
- Leadership & Management competencies
- Self-Management competencies
If you ever do any of the following, you are engaging in a form of Public Speaking / Presenting:
- Present a roadmap, product demo, project plan, analysis, research findings, budget, marketing campaign, etc. to someone else
- Give/participate in sales pitches, demos, and/or presentations
- Extemporaneously stand up in front of a group of people and talk about something
If you’re doing anything that involves getting one or more other people to agree on something, you’re engaging in some combination of Negotiation, Persuasion, Effective Listening, Effective Communication, and Goals / Objectives Management.
If you’re working on a project/initiative with one or more people, you’re likely engaging in some combination of Teamwork, Project Management, Leading Meetings, and Organization Skills, as well as several of the competencies mentioned immediately above.
If you’re not aware that you are practicing these competencies in your regular workday, you’re missing out on opportunities to grow. The next time you do one of these Activities, be mindful that you are actively working toward your Goals, be deliberate with your approach and engagement with the activity, and then take the time to reflect on the Activity when you enter it into Nodabl.
Creating opportunities for Activities
If you find that your regular day to day isn’t giving you the opportunities you need to hit your Goals, then go out and create those opportunities yourself. Here is a starter list of ideas to help you create opportunities:
Take advantage of your existing relationships
Your manager: Part of your manager’s job description is helping you grow. Tell your manager that you’re looking for opportunities that will expose you to a particular experience, skill, etc. This type of focused ask should make it much easier for your manager to help you. Ask them if they have anything on their to-do list that they can offload to you. They probably have things they hate to do (e.g., budgeting, reporting, and anything they consider to be bureaucratic drudgery) that could be excellent learning opportunities for you if you’ve never been exposed to them at that level.
Other leaders: Seek out other leaders in the organization and ask for their advice, their help, what’s top of mind for them, and how you can get involved. It’s part of their job to groom the next generation of leaders. Also, people generally enjoy being helpful.
Your peers: Someone in your organization is likely an expert at what you want to learn. Find them, and ask them for help. Set up a peer mentoring relationship. Ask them if you can help on some of their work. When you do, be explicit about what you want to learn (otherwise they are likely to think about their to-do list from the perspective of what they think you are best at versus where your interests are). Shadow them in meetings and calls, and then ask questions about what they did after. Take them to lunch, buy them coffee, and get them talking about their area of expertise.
Take the initiative
Raise your hand: When an opportunity comes up that will let you make progress against your Goals, jump on it! Don’t let it pass you by - it’s up to you to push yourself. Not only will you have an opportunity to grow, but you’ll also develop a reputation as a go-getter, which will be helpful at review time.
Organize a group: Find other people who are interested in the same growth areas and form a “study” group. For example, if one of your Goals involves Public Speaking / Presenting, find some other people who want to work on the same thing, meet once a week for lunch, and practice speaking in front of each other.
Corporate learning: Look into your company’s Learning and Development (“L&D”) programs. They may provide on-site education, partner with a third party for off-site/virtual education, or, at the least, have a per-person budget allocation that you can spend on classes, conferences, books, or other educational opportunities.
Classes: Take a class! Local universities, community colleges, and extended education programs usually have classes oriented toward professional development. Digital providers such as Coursera and Codecademy have a wide variety of offerings, and some of the highest-ranked universities in the world provide “Open Courseware” (open-sourced classes).
Clubs, professional organizations, or meetup groups: Professional associations often offer continuing education that’s highly relevant for your specific industry and/or role (and, again, the cost may be subsidized by your company). Organizations like Toastmasters or even local meetup groups can be other ways to find opportunities to learn, practice, and grow.
Go make it happen
As you can see, if you don’t already have the opportunity to work toward your Goals, there are a myriad of ways to create opportunities to do so. Don’t get discouraged if one opportunity doesn’t pan out. Be proud of the effort you made, reflect on why it didn’t work, and use that info to come up with a new plan.
Here are some next steps to get you going:
- Take fifteen to thirty minutes (or schedule a block of time) for yourself to think about your growth.
- Use that time to:
- Think what you have on your to-do list for the next few weeks. Does your regular workload give you the opportunities you need to hit your Goals? If yes, great! You’re all set.
- If not, then come up with a plan for creating opportunities, using the above list as a starting-off point for ideas. Set dates to do these things and check up on yourself.
- We’ll send you regular emails to check in with Nodabl and to help you keep yourself accountable on your Goals.
Ultimately, it falls on you to drive your own career forward. So make your professional growth a priority, and achieve your Goals.