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Moving to Fulfill My Life’s Mission January 25, 2009

Filed under: Goals — Carla Bobka @ 8:36 pm

During summer semester one of the classes at Villanova EMBA was Performance Measurement.  Class was designed around establishing systematic strategies for setting, monitoring and attaining goals.  Our professor was Tim Monahan, a perpetual overachiever and natural leader.  He commanded attention whenever he was around.  Whatever he talked about was designed to accomplish a specific mission and he had a strategy and goals for driving toward that mission.  He was clearly an obvious choice to teach this class.  He took us through a variety of tools for moving strategies forward and driving the understanding of strategies throughout the organization and measuring and rewarding success through compensation systems.  One of our projects was development of Balanced Scorecards.  Prof. Monahan is a great believer in work/life balance.  Therefore our assignment was not business role specific, but was to reflect and support both our career and personal goals.

The outset of the project seemed straightforward enough:  come up with some career goals and personal goals.  How about find a new job and graduate.  Maybe lose 5 pounds as a bonus personal goal, too?  Buhhhhp-Wrong answer.  Too simplistic.

In classic Monahan fashion, we couldn’t just lay out a strategy and a couple of goals for success.  Tim argued that strategies are worthless if they do not further progress toward your overall mission.  To that end, we each needed to explore our mission in life, articulate it and then develop the strategy and goals which support the mission.  That is alot of self reflection and introspection.  Especially during a summer when the financial markets were beginning to collapse, my kids wanted to go to the pool during every free moment, I needed to study and Greg’s company was beginning to implode as a result of the failing economy.  I was just trying to survive, not find inner peace.  Inner peace could wait until after I had a diploma.

My rational brain took over.  One of my summer strategies was to front load my GPA so I could survive fall semester and still have enough GPA to graduate in May.  Villanova requires a 3.0 or better for graduation.  Ahead of me was fall.  Fall’s  module was Derivatives, Valuation, Enterprise Risk and Crisis Management.  GPA killers if you ask me.  Alumni had been warning us about Module 4:  hard, intense, heavily financial in both execution and analysis.  Not exactly my strengths.  I could not afford to slough off on the Balanced Scorecard assignment.

The result of effort on the assignment has been valuable.  Yes, I got a good grade from Monahan.  And the exercise has helped be focus on what is truly important to me, not others.  It actually allowed me to maintain perspective throughout Fall as I crawled through the intensity of Module 4.  It was wicked.

Both the Professional and Personal Balanced Scorecards point to achieving goals that support larger strategies.  And the strategies support what is most important in my life.  They don’t need to make sense to other people, because someone else has a different life’s mission.

I just updated both scorecards, iteration 2.  Summer’s version was outdated.  Both are below.  This seems to be a good place to leave them as a sort of digital memory of how they evolve.





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