Step 1: Define a Career SMART Goal

As MBA students, you are career-directed professionals constantly striving to strike a practical work-life balance. You may not always have the time or resources to manage your career effectively. The following resources will serve as basis to develop your career goal or goals:

For this step, think about one long-term career goal. Where would you like to be in your career in three to five years? How will you get there? What resources do you need? What short-term skills do you need to enhance your chances of achieving your career goal? To help you achieve your career goal, complete the following tasks using a leadership development plan (LDP):

  • First, download the LDP Template and save it in local storage using the following file-naming protocol: lastname_firstname_preliminary_LDP.docx
  • Second, identify and describe in writing one long-term career goal using the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) format. Read SMART goals for specific guidelines.
  • Third, place this goal in the LDP template section entitled Long-Term Career Goal.
  • Fourth, identify and list five to six short-term development skills that you will need to acquire in order to make progress toward your long-term career goal. Place these skills in the Short-Term Skills Development section of the LDP.
  • Finally, submit your LDP after reviewing the instructions in the last step of this project.

Career and leadership development is an ongoing process that will continue well beyond receipt of your MBA. This submission of your leadership development plan is preliminary, as you will have the opportunity to update your LDP in Step 5 of this project. Having two submissions gives you the opportunity to assess and reflect on knowledge you have acquired throughout the term.

When you have submitted your preliminary LDP, proceed to Step 2, where you will work on a preliminary skills gap analysis.

Project 1: Assessing Your Strategic Leadership Capacity and Potential

Step 2: Complete A Skills Gap Analysis

The preliminary leadership development plan allowed you to identify and develop a plan to help you achieve one long-term career goal. Step 2 will introduce you to a skills gap analysis, which will assess your specific skills as they pertain to each of the four course projects and help you identify the skill areas you want to enhance. You will revisit the skills gap analysis at the end of the term in order to measure the progress you made as a result of completing the four course projects.

Complete your preliminary skills gap analysis and related skills gap table by the end of Week 1. Carefully follow the instructions below:

  • The preliminary skills gap analysis has four parts that parallel each of the four course projects. After you complete the preliminary skills gap analysis, select one skill area from each of its four parts where a meaningful gap exists. These should be skill gaps you want to reduce during this term to enhance your leadership skills, bolster your current career, and ultimately achieve your career goals.
  • Place each of the four skill area gaps you identified from the skills gap analysis in the skills gap table. The table has a separate space for each of your four gap goals.
  • In the skills gap table, list the developmental activities, completion date, resources and costs, and expected outcomes associated with each of the four skills gap goals you identified. The table serves as an action plan that leads to the accomplishment of each of the four skills gap goals. It details the activities you will undertake to reduce each of your four selected skill gaps during the remaining weeks of this term.
  • Consider all appropriate activities and resources that would help reduce each of the four skill gaps. These resources might include conferences, books, free online classes, mentorship, coaching, observation, professional associations and groups, networking, volunteering, journaling, and so forth. Select the appropriate activities related to each of your four skill gaps and list them in the skills gap table. Follow the instructions in Step 5 to submit your preliminary skills gap analysis and the skills gap table to the Assignments folder.
  • You will update your preliminary skills gap analysis during the last week of the term to assess the progress you have made on the skill gaps you identified and to determine the impact of this course on your leadership and career goals.

After you submit your preliminary skills gap analysis and skills gap table, continue to Step 3.

Project 1: Assessing Your Strategic Leadership Capacity and Potential
Step 3: Reflect on Your Leadership Development

Developing your career, managing others, and becoming a leader begins with self-examination. An individual must first develop an accurate view of his or her own interests, values, skills, limitations, and preferences in order to make career choices and advance their career. A research-based relationship between personal effectiveness, career, and leadership development quickly emerges.

This step will provide the necessary knowledge to initiate a personal effectiveness and career development plan. The process will enhance your development plan by providing you with the opportunity to use a personality assessment tool as a resource to gain a better understanding of yourself. Finally, you will be able to incorporate these insights in your Week 11 LDP Reflections Summary.

The following readings and the assessment tool will allow you to achieve several objectives:

  • Personal Effectiveness—This resource will increase your knowledge of self-awareness as a driver of personal effectiveness and the relationship between personal effectiveness and leadership.
  • Personality Assessments—This resource will help you understand the utility of personality assessments.

Proceed to the discussion CliftonStrengths Overview and Instructions for taking the CliftonStrengths assessment.

The CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsQuest) assessment has been under continuous development for more than three decades. The major construct underpinning the assessment is that each individual has a set of core strengths that correlate to career growth, personal effectiveness, job satisfaction, and personal fulfillment.

Aside from the benefits that accrue to individuals who are conversant with their strengths and how to best use them, CliftonStrengths is useful to teams by indicating the strengths each team member can contribute to facilitate the achievement of team goals and projects.

During this week, participate in the Class Discussion on CliftonStrengths so that you can share your results and gain a deeper and fuller understanding of your unique strengths, as identified by the CliftonStrengths assessment. Moreover, as part of the project plan required for Project 4 later in the term, a CliftonStrengths team members grid must be completed. The team members grid is used to identify the strengths each team member can contribute.

In Week 11, you will submit an LDP reflections summary and gap reflections summary. As you conclude Project 1, think about what you learned during the course of this project. In your reflections, you will be asked to consider the impact of self-awareness on your career goals and leadership development, as well as the influence of taking an assessment, reading about other assessments, and participating in a week-long personal assessment discussion.

When you have finished the readings and the Class Discussion on CliftonStrengths, proceed to Step 4, where you will complete your final skills gap analysis.

Project 1: Assessing Your Strategic Leadership Capacity and Potential

Step 4: Complete Final Gap Analysis/Gap Reflection

In this project, you have had the opportunity to create two different, yet complementary, development plans. The first was the leadership development plan, which focused primarily on those behavioral competencies that would enable you to develop skills to achieve your career goals and assume leadership responsibilities as a professional in your field. The second was the skills gap analysis, which focused primarily on specific task-driven skills that you could improve with the intention to meet predetermined goals. These skills were especially relevant to the four course projects, future MBA projects, and the achievement of your career and leadership aspirations.

To measure your progress on the skill gaps you identified earlier in the course as being integral to your personal leadership effectiveness, you are encouraged to reflect on your progress in developing those skills. With this in mind, complete the following steps:

  • Complete your final MBA 610 skills gap analysis using the same instrument you completed in Week 1. In other words, you are updating the preliminary skills gap analysis.
  • Students, not required to submit a corrected preliminary Gap Table, can submit an updated preliminary Gap Table. Changes made to the preliminary Gap Table should be highlighted in bold print and the updated GAP Table submitted in the project’s dropbox.
  • In the dropbox located in the last step of this project, post a copy of your final MBA 610 skills gap analysis, including a reflection summary of between 500 and 750 words on the lessons you learned and the progress you made toward reducing the gaps identified in your preliminary skills gap analysis. The reflection summary should identify and briefly discuss the skill gaps that require further development and how that development would occur in the MBA program and throughout your career. Students are expected to use and properly cite the project’s course readings that support the major points in their Gap Reflection.

Remember, career and leadership development is an ongoing process that will continue well beyond receipt of your MBA. You are encouraged to assume responsibility for this process.

When you have submitted your final skills gap analysis and reflection summary, continue to Step 5, where you will complete your final LDP.

Project 1: Assessing Your Strategic Leadership Capacity and Potential
Step 5: Complete Final LDP/LDP Reflection

This project step has considerable significance. It provides you with a unique opportunity to evaluate the impact of the course, your personality assessment, and the individual readings on your long-term career and leadership goals.

In this step, complete the following requirements:

  • Include a reflection summary of between 500 and 750 words detailing the insights you gained from the assessments, discussions, feedback, group activities, and course readings that will facilitate the achievement of your SMART goal, career aspirations, and short-term developmental skills progress. Also explain what actions you intend to take based on these insights. Students are expected to use and properly cite the project’s course readings that support the major points in their LDP Reflection.
  • After you write your reflection summary, make any modifications needed for your final LDP submission. Place in bold print on the final LDP any areas that changed between your preliminary LDP submission and your final LDP submission.
  • Use the dropbox in the last step of this project to submit a copy of your final LDP and reflection summary to the appropriate assignment folder.

We trust that the development of an LDP and the acknowledgement of your short term skills development needs will result in the achievement of your long-term career goal.

Proceed to the next step to submit your work.

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