Last week I was trying to finish my part of my annual evaluation. My boss said a lot of nice things about me, and one true not-nice thing that I have to work on, and my part should be easy, right? Wrong.I need to come up with goals for next year, a minimum of 3, and I've only got 2: (a) become more involved with a statewide academic library/librarian professional organization; (b) complete and start to execute our new assessment and outreach & marketing plans.— Jessica Dammit (@olinj) November 14, 2018
Like most bosses, my provost wants me to set goals that will:
- help the institution;
- help my department; and
- demonstrate growth and self-awareness.
I want those things as well, but I also want goals that will be manageable and, if I'm honest, be part of something I'm already doing anyway. It's like writing something on your to do list after you've finished it, just so you can cross it off. Then there's the fact that I'm still on an annual review cycle I'm faculty here, but faculty get annual reviews for the first 4 years before getting something called "continuing appointment" that is good for 4 years and includes biennial reviews. This means my goals need to be accomplish-able within one year.
So, since I was stumped, I turned to Twitter. And I got some great advice.
- separate the assessment plan and the outreach marketing plan;
- list the conferences I plan to attend and/or present at - I didn't include this because it's too similar to one I had for the year that just passed;
- include a topic I plan to explore this year that relates to my job performance; and
- a goal related to scholarship - another I didn't include because I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate long form writing and need to stop torturing myself with it, but it's a good idea for others.
I got so many good suggestions that I knew I had to share. The truth is, setting goals is a careful balancing act. You need to figure out what will bring the greatest benefit with - honesty moment - the least extra effort on your part. Or, to put it another, nicer way, you've got your day to day work to do, so you need to set goals that respect you are not an endless font of energy.
Anyway, here's what I put in the goals section of my evaluation:
- Become more involved with either SUNYLA or SUNY Library Council.
- Complete and start to execute our new assessment plan.
- Complete and start to execute our new outreach & marketing plan.
- Learn more about change management in academic settings.
- Work to further collaboration between the Alfred C. O’Connell Library and other departments and organizations both at GCC and in Genesee County.
I'm semi-obligated to participate in SUNY Library Council as a SUNY library administrator. We did a Functional Area Review (like a program review, but for administrative college units) last year and our findings included the need for an assessment plan and an outreach & marketing plan. I can always stand to learn more about change management. Finally, it's kind of - meaning "really really important to" - my job to find collaboration opportunities. In other words, these are all things I was going to do anyway, so I might as well get credit for them. Smart, right?
One last important thing to consider is how will your supervisor and/or your institution react to unfinished goals? I know that for me, as a supervisor, as long as we can figure out why you couldn't and/or didn't finish something, I'm fine. But not everyone is going to have that reaction. Think about that long and hard before you set ambitious goals.
So how about you? How do you set goals?