Winter is my favorite time to prepare for the year ahead. Regardless of when the fiscal year ends, the end of the calendar year is a natural point in time for us to take stock of the year that’s passed and prepare for the next twelve months. This is an opportune time to review goals for the year ahead and what it will take to get there.
Much like we do in our personal lives with New Year’s resolutions, I advocate we should identify professional benchmarks to achieve in 2019 and the activities that need to be undertaken along the way.
Creating Master Plan Goals
Not sure where to start? Pull out your employee performance plan and the museum’s strategic plan.
1. Performance Plan:
- What projects have been listed for you to tackle?
- What areas are you trying to improve upon?
- What activities do you need to engage in?
Take each of the requirements listed in your performance plan and break them into actionable steps that will help you achieve a satisfactory outcome. Pinpoint when in the calendar year you will execute each step and how long each step might take. Figure out what outside help or expertise you might need and make plans to get it.
2. Strategic Plan:
- Where and what is the department’s and your personal role within the strategic plan?
- What activities do you lead or support that contribute to the strategic plan’s stated goals for the museum?
While the museum’s strategic plan can sometimes be an exasperating practice in bureaucracy, if done right, the plan will intentionally guide the museum’s path toward healthy growth. As a museum employee and member of a department, it’s critical to your employment to understand where you fit within the strategic plan. If you (and your department) aren’t reflected in or support aspects of the strategic plan, then your employment is at risk when museum budget cuts come around. Identify the activities you’re in charge of—or contribute to—that directly support the strategic plan. Don’t have any? Then it’s time to create some in 2019. Form goals, list the steps it takes to get there, when those steps should occur, and the resources you might need.
Creating a Master Plan to Reach Your Goals
After reviewing your performance plan and the museum’s strategic plan you should have a list of 2019 goals, activities that aid in goal achievement, a rough schedule of when to engage with each step of your plan, and the expertise or resources you might need to achieve each task.
Now it’s time to take your list to next-level success and create a 2019 Master Plan. I prefer to use colored paper and Post-its for this part, and encourage you to employ whatever it takes to help you stay engaged with this process throughout the year. Here’s how I do it:
- Select 12 different colored pieces of paper – one for each month
- Carve out 3 sections on each sheet of paper and label the months at the top
- Label the sections: Events, Due, and To Do
Events: Go through the museum’s and your calendar to identify every event, conference, vacation, closure, or other unique event that will impact your work that month.
Due: According to the 2019 list of goals, steps, and schedule, when are things due? Include conference proposal or publishing deadlines, project and report due dates, and any additional items that have a due date whether a hard deadline from an external entity or a soft deadline to keep internal projects moving along.
To Do: View each month and the stated deadlines. What to-do items will emerge as a necessary component to completing goals on time? When should these activities (ideally) take place?
Keep these monthly pages in a place where you can view them daily to stay on track. Put events and deadlines in your calendar and carve out time in your schedule (and protect it!) to work on 2019 Master Plan activities. Master Plan activities are hardly ever your day to day activities—so it’s important to embed into your calendar a balance of daily activities with yearly goal activities. Otherwise, when will you find time to work on them?
Set Yourself Up for Success
If you need resources, work to get them. Communicate your 2019 Master Plan to appropriate parties (boss and coworkers) and be transparent on how you intend to implement it—especially if the plan may impact them or be a departure from your usual work routine. Get buy-in from your boss and coworkers so that your 2019 Master Plan is supported and understood. There may be adjustments that need to be made, and making them up front will be easier. Also, keep in mind that the Master Plan is just that, a plan. Plans will change, and that’s OK. Just be sure to adjust your goals, approach, external expectations, and work load accordingly.
Cheers! Here’s to you and your 2019 Master Plan!