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On the Sunday night before spring quarter, the Principia College house boards and Student Activity Board attended the quarterly Leadershop. While previous leadership workshops have focused on an inspirational theme for the quarter, this Leadershop taught students how to set goals. In their first quarter as student body presidents, juniors Laura Buchanan and Esteban Xifre chose to focus on goal setting because many of the recently elected boards will be working together for the next year.
Said Xifre, “Our goal for the goal-setting Leadershop was that house boards could walk out with something in hand that they could apply in their own house meetings.”
Buchanan and Xifre wanted to help student leaders recognize that each of them was “there for a reason, and not just to fill a position – that they actually had ideas, had the drive to do things and wanted to set goals to accomplish these priorities,” said Xifre.
After choosing their topic, Buchanan and Xifre presented it to Dean of Students Dorsie Glen, who recommended a speaker for the Leadershop. The group decided to invite David Wold, a marketing and management consultant and former resident counselor to help with the meeting.
Wold’s presentation included ideas such as setting “SMART” goals – goals that are S-specific, M-measurable, A-achievable, R-rewarding, and T-time-based. A “SMART” goal is not vague and hopeful, but instead includes parameters that make it possible to reach. Wold also mentioned a few recommendations for success in goal-setting: write down your goals in the most positive form, share them widely, act immediately, expect the need to follow up, and recognize and reward success.
Xifre said, “We thought it would be a great idea to start on the right foot and [have the boards] think of the priorities they wanted to set and the things that they wanted to accomplish.” He described the Leadershop as “the right combination of theory and practice,” reporting that the feedback thus far has been favorable.
He added, “Many houses have expressed how they have used goal setting on their house boards.”
Junior Doug Wallace, Lowrey’s house president, said he could already “see evidence of the Leadershop working for the campus.”
Lowrey House set goals for the quarter as a board. Some of the priorities underlying their goals include “encouraging spirituality in the house, working on [Lowrey’s] reputation on the campus, and reclaiming unity in the house,” according to Wallace.
“Without the Leadershop, we would have had good ideas, but we wouldn’t have come up with a serious list of goals to work on,” said Wallace.
According to freshman Makaela Thompson, Rackham’s secretary and treasurer, one broad goal the Rackham house board had was to find a way to keep house unity despite the fact that the Rackham men live in Anderson this quarter. They made this goal “SMART” by discussing how many house events they would encourage the men to attend.
Said Thompson, “More important than aiming for high attendance at house meetings is setting those goals that are hard to achieve ¬– those that support Principia and the general Christian Science community.” Thompson reported that Rackham’s goals now include hosting a hymn sing and a Bible Lesson reading at some point during the quarter.
Said Thompson, “I’m not the best at following through on my goals.” Thompson appreciated Wold’s suggestions for success, saying, “Making a goal, writing it down, and telling people about it would give me more motivation to follow through on it.”
Thompson’s personal “SMART” goal is to “get the Potty Notes up by nine o’clock every Wednesday night.” This goal fulfills Wold’s criteria of being specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding, and time-based.
Sophomore Mallory Lee, one of Howard House’s social heads, also appreciated the ideas offered at the Leadershop. Said Lee, “I’m not really ‘gung-ho Leadershop’ in general, but this one was interactive, memorable, and helpful.”
Lee explained that many of Howard’s goals were too broad to be measured, but the Leadershop experience encouraged the board to include the “how” and “when” of the goals. Lee said, “Each individual on the board took her goals and made them more plausible and achievable.”
Of the Leadershop overall, Xifre said, “Laura and I are really happy with how it turned out.”
The effects of this Leadershop will undoubtedly go beyond the next year. Said Xifre, goal setting “is useful for life” and is something “you can do for yourself forever.”