In ESADE’s hopes of turning us MBA students into great leaders, we have all found ourselves in the midst of a “Leadership Assessment and Development Program." As described by the school, “The Leadership Assessment and Development Programme (LEAD) is personalized and provides each students with the tools he needs to improve his leadership abilities and to incorporate new competencies during his career. The programme detects those skills that individual students particularly need to enhance. After completing the training and evaluating the results through group activities, coaching sessions, and teamwork, participants are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, helping them develop the skills that will be vital in their chosen careers.”
One of the first assignments, amongst a number of evaluations, questionnaires and presentations in the past few weeks- was to write a “Personal Vision” statement of around 10 pages. The first draft was due a week ago (final draft to be handed in by the end of the month) and from what I observed, the deadline created more anxiety amongst students than any one of our four-hour finals.
Ah, the irony!
Either way, in this “Personal Vision” statement, we were meant to define where we see ourselves in the future- taking into account all we have encountered in the course thus far- our learning styles, values, and so on and so forth.
My written response, of course, danced around the question with shapes and figures rarely present in the context of an MBA- it was a waltz- an unintentional waltz, but a waltz nonetheless. If my “coach” manages to extract anything of use from the ten pages of adjectives and metaphors I finally handed in, she’s a certifiable genius.
I wish her luck.
On the other hand, one of my closest friends in the program sent me her first line and I absolutely had to blog about it…seeing as though it would be wrong to plagiarize. She revealed that she is writing her personal vision, “In the hope that I can sort out some of the noise that fills my head and organize the brilliant yet sporadic moments of truth that come and go often too soon and sometimes too late.”
Now this is truth. This- I love. This is where I am coming from.
She is so right, not just in the context of the MBA- but in life. There exist these moments of truth- of recognition…and if we are lucky enough, they don’t pass us by. Because as she mentions, “they” come too quickly and oftentimes, a bit too late.
Furthermore, these points of reference are fleeting. Whether it be sitting in class and finally understanding a new concept before it evades me once again- or like last Friday night, on a private boat- sailing at 1:00 a.m. in the eye of a storm leaving from Sorrento to Capri, amongst some of the people that make me happiest in the world- there is truth. It lies in these moments- we see it, and feel it- for a split second, and then it is gone. And with these momentary sparks that dart in and out of our lives, we are meant to decipher our hopes and aspirations- our “personal visions.”
Now, can someone tell me how to do that?
Because these moments are rare- and disorganized- and in dire need of not only order and regulation, but of longevity. If only we could take one of these instances- and make it permanent- prolong its existence for enough time to understand it. If only I could bottle these moments- and keep them on a shelf- just to know that they are there- that I had them once. Then again, maybe doing just that that would kill them.
When I was little, in summertime, the yard would be full of fireflies- the enchanting nocturnal bugs that intermittently light up and shine just for half of a second to let you know that they are there. I tried to catch fireflies once and put them in a jar- because I wanted them to shine in my room as I slept…and by the time I woke up in the morning, I had killed them.
Maybe that was a lesson, not only as a lesson then in losing something you love, or being kind to nature- but a lesson for later in life. In that- sometimes things will exist and then they are gone- and that’s just the nature of what they are- that’s what makes them special.
So now its up to me, and people like me in this MBA- to take the shadows and echoes of these moments- once the light has already flickered and died- and turn them into something concrete…a future, a plan, a vision.
Now as for my "personal vision," after ten pages of words and theories and disjointed thoughts of potential goals, I concluded with;
“I hope to be challenged everyday- to find myself on a career path where I am confident in my skills. I never want to question my capacity to do my job and to lead others. I hope to make a difference. I hope to leave a mark. I hope to be surrounded by people who both stimulate me and appreciate the stimulation I provide them.
I must be passionate about what I am doing. I want to use my creativity but at the same time, I want to know that whatever it is I do daily- is actually making an impact.
I want enough time to pursue my passions but at the same time, I want my job to include my passions. I want to fuse that which I love and that which is lucrative. Again, if I knew what that was- I wouldn’t be here now…I’d be doing it. I don’t need all the money in the world, but I want enough to allow for comfort. I never want to worry. I don’t plan on a family at the moment, but if and when I do have one, I never want my children to be in want of anything.
I hope to travel- and most likely, to live internationally. I hope to work with many people from many cultures- and spend significant amounts of time in different parts of the world. I hope to constantly be learning- not only a propos the subject matter of my job, but exterior things as well. I hope to have people around me that can constantly teach me- teach me about themselves, about the world, and ultimately- about myself. I don’t want to be forever shifting, but I don’t want to ever feel stuck- maybe I will be in a few places long enough to call them home.
I hope to be a leader. I hope to be adept enough- at whatever it is I am doing- to be in a position of leadership. I hope to not only direct, but also to guide. I hope that people who work for, or under me, will gain something- will be inspired by me. I don’t expect to change people’s lives, but I intend to make an impact. I hope to one day impart some of the wisdom that I have gained through my many experiences in friendships, jobs, and in life.
I hope for enough freedom so that I never feel trapped, but enough security so that I never feel unsafe or unsure. I like the unknown. I never want to find myself in a career where I am 100% sure that I will be in the same seat, doing the same thing years down the road. I want to always be challenged, and it is not important to me if I don’t exactly know what is around the corner- as long as I know there is something awaiting me there.
I want to work hard, but I don’t want it to be for naught. I want to see results- changes. I never want to race against those I work with- only with competitors. If I work in a team, I will do my best to make it cohesive. I hope that everyone will seek the greater good of the group- and not the individuals.
I hope to learn something everyday- but I also hope to teach someone something everyday. I hope to be respected- I hope to interact with others, to understand them and to help them understand me.
I don’t have any strong desire to change- but there are a few qualities in myself that I would like to tone down or build up. I hope that after this MBA, I will be more patient- with everything- with myself and with others. I hope I can learn to be a bit more selfless- a bit less judgmental. I see the good in others- but I have to learn how to better extract that good and apply it to my own growth. I hope that I can learn to be a bit more diplomatic- less candid- less aggressive. I hope that one day, I will be more organized, more direct. I hope to learn to prioritize in order of importance- as opposed to prioritizing in order of desires. I have many flaws- but I also know that these flaws can sometimes be assets- so in a way, part of my “ideal vision” is to find a career where the things that have held me back, can actually push me forward.
And maybe, one day, I will learn to not speak so generally. About everything. But for now- it works.”
I suppose we will soon find out what kind of leader they will make out of me.