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Start 2021 on the Right Foot and put your Goals into Action

It is safe to say that 2020 was not what any of us expected. Many of us have overcome great things this year, but before 2020 leaves us, it is time to plan our success and what we will achieve in 2021!

The best way to get where you are going is to actively plan the way…. Failure to set goals may result in not achieving things that are most important to you. Goal setting can include personal and professional goals to help provide you with focus and direction. Creating goals you are passionate about and working towards goal achievement provides you with things to look forward to each day when you wake up and start working.

As you start thinking about your goals, it is necessary to take a step back and figure out why something is important to you, why might this goal motivate you?  If you can’t articulate why a goal is important, then you are not likely to achieve your goals.  It is important that you know what you want and if the work needed to achieve the goal is worth your commitment.

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be.  Put your future in good hands – your own.” 

Mark Victor Hansen

When setting goals, work to make short and long term goals that are reasonable, measurable, and time specific.  Make sure to write these goals down and keep them visible be it in your planner or computer screen to allow you to reflect and track your progress through the year.  You may want to allow for 15-20 minutes each week on Sunday evening to evaluate your success and any adaptations that are needed.  Reflecting on the past week can display your achievements and work done to help you visualize success is achievable.

After setting your goals make sure that you put your well thought plan into action.  Setting goals is the easy part, action becomes the hardest part.  Trust in yourself and put in the work necessary to achieve goal success.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” 

Henry Ford

Time is your most important asset, be cautious what you say yes to and make sure that your time aligns with your goals!  Stay focused on what matters and persist on until you achieve your goals.

Make 2021 a great year!

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Investing in developing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

As an organization, Women Accelerators aims to help advance women and promote gender equity though creating a centralized network and community where women can access resources to help achieve their career goals.

Women Accelerators welcomed Dr. Alexis Stokes in February to meet their community to discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Dr. Stokes serves as the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the Harvard School of Engineering where she creates systematic changes to support the success of unrepresented minorities, nontraditional students, and education programs.

Below is a summary of Dr. Stokes presentation with information and tips that can be discussed and utilized in your workplace.

Why are diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations essential?

The world demographics are changing which impacts all environments.  This creates a need to change and innovate the way that organizations have always done things.  Organizations can empower their communities to get involved and create an environment where the culture values diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Inclusive practices benefit everyone within an organization, not just diverse employees.

How can organizations help create diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces?

It is much more than just hiring an individual for a diversity position.  It is about influencing the organizational culture to move beyond simply working in an inclusive environment to contributing to an inclusive environment.  Understanding the culture (beliefs, customs, acts) of a group helps develop a strategy to invite and encourages individuals into a conversation and create connections to what is valued.  The process should allow individuals in a group to use their privilege and powers to help others.  Organizations need to prioritize this as important work that they do as individuals as well as teams.

It is essential that organizations are clear and transparent with employees as to where they currently stand in the journey to become diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments.  Sharing a process and timeline can be helpful to allow individuals to visualize how getting involved can impact this work.  Being open and honest around data and decisions can allow people to feel more included in work that is going on and to start conversations and help make connections.

For an organization to work on diversity, inclusion, and equity, what resources are necessary?

Organizational culture is a shared responsibility where everyone needs to contribute.  Creating diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment requires ongoing commitment and resources to make the initiative successful.  Necessary resources include: budget, staffing, a communication plan to internal and external groups, connection to those who hold influential positions in the organization, visibility within the organization, access to data and resources, and training that enhances knowledge and action.

What steps should an organization take to create action around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

An organization needs to include these values as part of their mission. All departments and groups should be held responsible for reporting on their progress and success. Creating accountability as individuals, teams, and organizations helps to develop a culture where expectations, commitment, and reporting become the norm.  Additionally, organizations need to share data with people as this knowledge helps to influence actions.

What are some suggestions around how reporting can be done to understand the impact on efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

There are several ways that impact can be evaluated.  They include:

  • Develop initiative into an organizations strategic plan and create a congruent diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan that supplements the larger plan.
  • Develop/implement a community standard or code of conduct.
  • Goal setting on measurable activities or tasks.
  • Include in employee evaluations a way for each induvial to share what they have done to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Track progress on initiatives implemented and shared findings with the organization.

What can individuals do to support the creation or further development of diversity, equity, and inclusion through their work?

Individuals have the power to influence and create change in many ways:

  • Provide micro affirmations of positive things you see and experience. These can be very effective and help others create a culture that respects diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Give credit to others when appropriate and try to use “we” more than “I” to create a group culture.
  • Ask others for opinions and feedback, especially if you notice that they have not had an opportunity to speak.
  • Use the preferred pronouns for individuals and work to use inclusive language and images.
  • Make eye contact with those you are working and speaking with to create a connection.
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