Activity: Mark Your Calendars!
This activity helps students examine the alignment of the values they claim and the way they spend their time. It’s an alignment “reality check”. This activity can be repeated often and can be positioned as a good resource for personal reflection. We recommend using this as a follow up to an activity like 3.1 where students identify their values.
Students will be able to:
- Account for the time they have spent that aligns with their values.
- Identify gaps in the alignment of their values and their actions.
- Define ways to close those gaps.
Time Required: initially 30 minutes (subsequent sessions may be significantly shorter if they are done as a “check in”)
Materials: Provide some sort of calendar for a set amount of time (2 days, 1 week, etc.)
- Give students the calendar and direct them to track everything they do for the amount of time you define.Remind them to include ALL activities, especially those we tend to overlook like playing games on their favorite device, time watching movies or TV, time on Facebook, all of it.
- The next part of the activity begins after the students have had a chance to track their activities for the time period you determined.
- Ask students to get their top 3 values index cards in front of them (from Activity3.1).
- Direct them to review their activity calendars and think about how well their actions aligned with the values they say they hold?
- Ask them to identify one thing they did that aligned well with one of their values.
- Ask them to identify one thing they believe was not in alignment with their values.
- Invite students to talk with a partner
about what they found and how they could change one thing to be more in
line with their values. Make sure they understand that they should actively listen to what their partner has to say. We often get insight from others when we share our thinking and listen to the response.
Give them an example to stay positive. For example, if they chose
“communication” as one of their top values and they’ve just had a clear
and constructive conversation with a roommate about doing the dishes. Or
if “inclusiveness” is one of their values, did they plan an activity
that mindfully included other?
Variation: You can also do this exercise as a planning exercise:
*Adapted from Activity 3.2 in: J.M. Kouzes, B.Z. Posner, B. High, and G.M. Morgan The Student Leadership Challenge: Facilitation and Activity Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013. © 2013 by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. All rights reserved.
- Ask students to get their top 3 values index cards in front of them (see Activity 3.1 in The Student Leadership Challenge: Facilitation and Activity Guide, Jossey-Bass, 2013)
- Ask them to identify one thing they can do in a timeframe you provide that will align well with one of their values. For example, if “health” is one of their values, they can put regular exercise into their planned time.
- Invite students to talk with a partner about what they are planning and ask them to be sure to share their reasoning. Make sure they understand that they should also actively listen to what their partner has to say. We often get insight from others when we share our thinking and listen to the response.
Jim Kouzes is the Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. Barry Posner is the Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at SCU's Leavey School of Business, where he served as Dean for 12 years. Together they are authors of the best-selling classic The Leadership Challenge, The Student Leadership Challenge, and over thirty other books and workbooks on leadership and leadership development. They also developed the highly acclaimed Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and Student Leadership Practices Inventory (Student LPI), both assessment tools based on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®.
Beth High is President of HighRoad Consulting, a leadership development company, where she focuses on the challenges of leading effectively in the virtual environment. She also is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge Workshop® and can be reached at email@example.com.
Gary Morgan, Certified in The Student Leadership Challenge and a Certified Master Candidate of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, has created and taught in leadership development programs for students for more than 25 years. Founder of Orlando-based Student Leadership Excellence Academy, LLC and the Leadership Excellence Academy, he is a leadership development trainer, speaker, and consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.