Reflection in Year 2013 and Goal Setting for 2014

At the end of every year, people think back at the past 12 months as a form of reflection. The new year marks the start of a new beginning, at least emotionally wise. People set new year resolutions as a form of moving forward and some break them almost immediately. But the exercise still holds merits as those who stick to their plans diligently would be rewarded in the future.

As a means of follow up, these are the resolutions I had at the end of 2012:

1) Read 1 book a month – I was not diligent enough
2) Pass my PCT exam – Yes! I did it!
3) 23 points for IPPT – Sadly to say I had not done this
4) Improve at work until I am at least pleased with my performance – I am satisfied but I know I could have done better
5) Write more regularly on this blog – Which I did not
6) Get started on my investments – Yes I did, but the many events that happened this year made it hard to keep up

At the end of 2012, I was officially posted into my workplace. Hence 2013 is the first actual year where I am not on-the-job training, although I had been in the workplace since May 12. 2013 was the year where I grew to be more effective at work, learning more about the various aspects and becoming more decisive as a person. I learnt to take the responsibility of my decisions and effect changes in areas that I believed in.

I made some changes in my workplace as I oversaw the shift in office for one part of my team. Renovations were completed and I was free to institute any concepts that I had. We came up with a task list board that was based on the David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. We divided tasks into different bins sorted by its status and reflected through colour coded magnets. It was a place where we could have a good overview of what was supposed to be done. The challenge lies in having dedicated review timelines and getting personnel to follow the board diligently to ensure that all tasks are completed on time. It is easy to institute a process but hard to get people to follow.

I have also tried to set up a small wooden board where people can write dedications on the help received from members in the same department. That isn’t well received though as I was the only one who spent effort putting up acknowledgements. It would have been better if we all started to acknowledge each other’s efforts. One possible idea from other “Workplace Happiness” books is about having a symbol (like a figurine) where we could put on employee’s desks to symbolise as the employee of the month. However in a change-resistant workplace, how can we institute something for others to follow? Personally that is where I thought my leadership needs some development.

In the April-May 13 period, I created a feedback box and I wanted to generate anonymous and frank feedback for every member of the flight. However procrastination kicked in when I couldn’t find a good opportunity where most of my team is around for me to make such an announcement. In the end, I decided to push ahead with whoever is available and emailed the rest of them with instructions on how the entire feedback mechanism will work. It was only implemented in Dec 13. I started the feedback box with myself as a trial, but I have yet to get the feedback forms from every person in the team. It is my wish to complete for every member of the team before we restructure and split up.

I made changes to the Start-of-day-briefs and tried to make things more efficient. However I find it hard to get people to update the excel monitoring sheets properly given their huge workload. It does seem like there is an issue with getting on top of their workloads and on prioritisation.

I was featured on the Brightminds magazine as an Air Force Engineer who had taken the mid term MDEC study award. It allowed me to do something which I wanted to do, which is to spread my thoughts to a wider group of people and to help tell other people what being an Air Force Engineer entails.

I also wrote an article for the RSAF safety magazine. My boss had recommended me for the assignment, and I took the opportunity to further a concept which I had jointly developed with my colleagues at work. We wanted to have a C.A.R.E.S concept at work, which stands for Committed, Appreciative, Responsible, Empowering, Supportive. Through linking the C.A.R.E.S concept with enforcing safety, I hoped to spread the idea so that other people could take it up to improve on their workplace. I had also deliberately chosen to write the article in the eyes of a newly minted Senior Military Expert and took steps to emphasise how important it is for the juniors to know the higher intent and to carry out the intent in the area of safety enforcement. I hoped that eventually I would be able to touch the hearts of a few people. The article was slated to be published in Oct 13, but the organisation decided that it fit the subsequent month’s theme better and so I am still waiting for the article to be printed.

Out of work, I wanted to do self-development. From reading of past posts, I had started the 1 book a month resolution at the end of 2012. At that point, I had started on a few e-books and other physical books. However I realised that I did not fulfil the 1 book a month requirement. At some point in time, I had slacked off. However I still managed to read a few books in the year. One of the more important books was about workplace happiness. I had gained a better insight on what makes high performance teams (read: happiness) and the steps to take to make people happy. I had also read books on taking minutes in meetings and also on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In Dec 13, I purchased two books, (1) The First Time Manager in Asia by BH Tan and (2) 5 Levels of Leadership by John C Maxwell. I am in the middle of reading the first book and I have learnt more about managing teams. It is an entry level book which everyone should read. I am looking forward to reading the second book in order to get people to follow my concepts and ideologies.

I didn’t manage to keep up with my goals. Simply because they weren’t S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound. I had set goals for fitness but failed to keep to them. I had set goals but I didn’t display them prominently enough to remind myself of them. In the new year, I set more realistic goals for my fitness. I will run two times a week and at the earliest opportunity to so that reasons such as meetings, weather etc will not prevent me from achieving my goals. I will also be recording them down to monitor my performance. The Wiki article on SMART introduces another addition, which is SMARTER, for evaluate and reevaluate. I guess having a form of record for me to review my goals would help make my goals SMARTER.

In the year 2013, I got engaged. The previous post was about my engagement on 21/12/13. In 2014 I would probably be busy trying to plan for the wedding in 2015.

In 2013, I started reading The Edge which I had paid money to subscribe to. I have read many good articles from The Edge, but sadly I have yet to internalise and beef up my financial knowledge. I would probably need to work on it more.

This year, I also purchased my very first car and home. Buying big ticket items requires much thinking through and planning for. However, I learnt the most through the actual purchase. I had gained a better insight in particular of what I want out of a car. Luckily the car I had purchased had a good price tag and the performance of the car had pleased me. Buying a house, on the other hand, seems more straightforward when I am buying a house from the government. The paperwork required were processed properly and efficiently and there were no problems. I guess I will be learning more lessons if I choose to upgrade to a private property in the future.

Having reflected on my entire year, it is time to make some goals while keeping in mind to the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. principle!

My goals for the new year will be:

  1. [Workplace] To read one Logistic Orders daily (knowledge gaining)
  2. [Fitness] To run twice a week at the earliest opportunity
  3. [Fitness] To regain my Silver in IPPT by May 14
  4. [Personal Development] To read one book a month and mindmap them
  5. [Workplace] To do the Individual Development Action Plan with my team members (One every two weeks)
  6. [Invesment] To research on and analyse 1 company per month. Evaluate the best price to enter into the stock market.

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