This paper presents reflections on the gap analysis activity that was completed using the Gap Analysis Instrument, identifying the areas of weakness and setting up goals on bridging them in the process. In the foregoing, the activities that were to be undertaken to bridge the identified gaps were noted down, with an extended effort of contemplating on how the activities augment with long term career goals and the specific gaps. The entire process was encompassing, featuring areas of personal growth, awareness of others and organizational aspects such as human resources and technology. The current paper focuses on SMART goals, career aspirations and priorities with respect to the completed tasks.
Formation of SMART goals is the initial stage of personal leadership development. One cannot become a leader or achieve their potential without a good mastery of goal-setting. The SMART framework defines goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound (Cottrell, 2015). In that respect, I realized that there were several weaknesses that I needed to address more so in the formulation of my long term career plan. Two competing choices had morphed into one, bringing the weight on whether it was realistic and time bound to have a cocktail of the two as my long term career goal. The latter included becoming a business leader in the corporate world while also excelling in academia. An academic career calls for lots of time and resources focused at a single task such as completing my doctorate, teaching in the university and supervising students for graduate programs while corporate business has its own demands too. As such, pursuing the two at once would not qualify as a SMART goal when looked at from a practical standpoint. Even with the flexibility that comes with the DBA program, it is still difficult to have both worlds, one can either be in industry or academia. I have thus had to revise my long term career plan into becoming a business leader in order to fit within the SMART criteria.
My career aspirations are to rise within the ranks of a leading organization and become part of top management/leadership. This is a path that calls for a lot of perseverance, different professional and personal skills and most of all, patience. This is because of the bureaucracy that exists in most organizations making career development a slow and painful process. It is noteworthy that most company CEOs and Presidents have served for at least 15 years in their capacities, demonstrating the immense amount of experience required for such positions (Gould, 2017). One must be ready to undergo systematic professional and leadership growth to attain such heights. From the Gap Analysis, it was apparent that there were a number of things that I needed to improve on. Notable are stress management skills. Leadership involves taking responsibility over everything that happens under one’s watch and may come with lots of stressors. Without good stress management skills, one may even suffer health problems due to the intensity of the pressures that come with work (Grainger, 2014). This is one area that I have to work on. More important is the element of accepting criticism without being defensive. This is a major content of leadership given that criticism is bound to come and lots of it being unmerited. It is thus important that I learn to accept it without launching any defense to inspire confidence as a leader.
The final area of interest is setting priorities right. The idea of prioritizing stems from having a lengthy to do list, all relevant to long term career goals and aspirations. Without setting priorities, things may not end up as expected as the most important things may be delayed and the less important ones pursued with more zeal (Megginson & Whitaker, 2017). At the moment, my priority is to complete my studies in order to get the necessary skills and experience to kick start my managerial career. It is impossible to pursue any other goal without attaining the baseline education level required for the future. Noteworthy, most positions require a good educational background coupled with experience and good personal management. A leader, more than anything, is required to be well rounded and capable of offering both business and intellectual leadership in their respective capacity (Roberts, 2014). Such high demands on the individual suggest that I will need to prioritize education, get some experience in industry and slowly pursue personal development in that order. As such, education shall serve as my priority at least for the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, the reflective activity undertaken offered a self contained tool for reaching the heights of excellence as a leader. By looking at the various gaps in skills, I am able to get more clarity on my goals and interests in the long term. Already, I feel that my career goals are clear and hence ready for pursuit with confidence. I understand who I shall be in the long term, what I need to do to get there and the necessary skills and experience along the way.
Cottrell, S. (2015). Skills for success: Personal development and employability. Palgrave Macmillan.
Gould, J. (2017). career Development: A plan for action. Nature, 548(7668), 489-490.
Grainger, A. (2014). Your personal development plan. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 8(1), 6-6.
Megginson, D., & Whitaker, V. (2017). Continuing professional development. Kogan Page Publishers.
Roberts, J. (2014). Landing the job: A guide to successful transition: Julia Roberts describes how she used a personal development plan to make the leap to a senior executive role in health care. Nursing Management, 21(5), 18-21.
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