My personal, one-word theme for 2019 is "growth." As an open leader looking to improve her leadership skills in the coming year, I'm sharing my "19 for 2019" list—19 leadership goals I want to achieve before 2020. Periodically throughout the year, I'll share my progress toward these items.
1. Share objectives and key results I've identified for my team. Report on progress monthly.
I first used Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) when working at Red Hat a few years ago. After reading John Doerr's Measure What Matters in 2018, I decided to write objectives and key results with and for my current team.
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2. Write quarterly reflections and quarterly goals. Transparently share when I've made mistakes and what I've learned from the missteps.
As a leader for a large team with people located in various time zones, I want to have a written record of what we're doing and why. I also want to be open about what I've learned since sharing previous updates. A monthly update seems like it might be too frequent, so I'm starting with a 90-day period for this type of update.
3. Plan work in two-week sprints.
I'm a fan of working in two-week sprints with engineering teams. After feeling like my work days were becoming busy without being productive, I'm going back to this structure.
4. Write proposals down so I can share them transparently for feedback.
I've had many good discussions about strategy and implementation with coworkers. I think documenting ideas and sharing them for feedback will accelerate our ability to deliver results.
5. Travel to Israel to meet team members who work in the country.
It's easy to let days pass without planning a trip to see team members in another location. This trip is important and requires time to plan, so I'm putting it on my list.
6. Regularly unsubscribe to email lists or other notifications that might distract.
I often put off unsubscribing from email lists because I feel I can just "tune out the noise." But noise, no matter its volume, is a distraction—so it's time to unsubscribe.
7. Co-lead a leadership development program.
In my immediate work area, there's a gap with regard to leadership development programs. I'm lucky enough to work with someone who has experience in this area, and he asked me to work with him on it. Yes!
8. Delegate transparently.
I have taken on more work and will continue to delegate to develop the skills of others. I want to delegate transparently so everyone knows who is responsible for what.
9. Hold weekly one-on-one and weekly team meetings.
Weekly one-on-one meetings are the way I ensure I build trust with my direct reports and ensure they have what they need to get things done, so these meetings are non-negotiable. Team meetings are the way we stay aligned, openly discuss questions and concerns, and more. Yes, making this time meaningful every week is tough—and completely worth the effort.
10. Continue to work with my mentors.
I have several mentors who help me develop my skills and abilities as a leader. I look forward to continuing to work with them in 2019.
11. Continue to serve as a mentor to others.
Making time to mentor others is important, so I'm calling it out here as an area of focus. I cannot mentor everyone who asks, so I won't be growing my current group of mentees in 2019. As someone decides to no longer work with me, I'll have room for a new mentoring relationship to develop.
12. Support my partner's career.
My partner also has a career that he loves. Supporting him in his endeavors is important to me, so it makes the list.
13. Work with my youngest son on a coding project.
This item is something I have tried and failed to do before. We start with the best of intentions and then other things distract us. We have our editor of choice (Visual Studio Code) downloaded, and we've identified a problem to solve. Now we're going to learn Python to see if we can write a program to help us solve our problem.
14. Become a better team member for my peers while also building and developing my team.
2018 was a year spent building my team. In 2019, I want to leverage my peers and their teams to be a better collective team for my manager.
15. Take a meaningful vacation. No checking of email.
I'm someone who loves routine. Taking a vacation, however, means a break from routine, and it can be challenging. That said, I always return from some time away rested and eager to take on new challenges.
16. Read 12 books that relate to improving my leadership and management skills (audiobooks count).
Reading is one way I recharge. With so many good books being published, I look forward to completing this item in 2019.
17. Write one article a month for Opensource.com.
Writing for this community keeps me accountable as an open leader. Putting this goal on the list ensures I keep writing and growing.
18. Visit 6 colleges with my older son and learn about their CS programs.
As my oldest son enters his junior year of high school in the Fall of 2019, I want to ensure we make time throughout this year to visit prospective post-secondary institutions. He's interested in computer science, and I want to learn more about how colleges are reaching out to students interested in the field.
19. Continue to meditate regularly.
I've been meditating for several years. I've gone through periods where I've let go of the habit—only to return to it because I miss its benefits. I don't want my daily meditation practice to be something I let go of this year, so it's one of the 19 for 2019.
I look forward to sharing my progress with you. What are your goals for the year ahead?
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