The A Months: Stress Time or Invest Time?

Posted by on April 20, 2023

When I worked on campus, I started referring to April and August as the “A months.” These months can be exciting, challenging, and inspiring all at the same time. 

Months that begin with the letter A are always a little more challenging than typical campus life.

For the purposes of this blog, I will focus on APRIL! The weather is changing, things are growing, and those on campuses are often celebrating acceptance, accomplishments, and the end of the academic year.

The A months can also mean stressful, long days filled with heavy workloads and celebrations at night. (Some refer to it as the “same menu month,” where every event serves the usual appetizers, rubber chicken entrees, punch, and cookies).

As we approach the end of this frantic A month, it’s time to move our focus beyond simple survival.

As we move into May, this is a great time to double down on planning to celebrate and invest in your team. For those hiring, it’s a great time to consider the dynamic you want before new members join later in the summer and invest in developing the team you want for the next academic year.

Here are a few ways to build upon your team dynamic – 

  • Invest in your personal development- join an Executive Coaching or a Mastermind Group to learn and connect with leaders from other organizations. This can help you see that you are not alone in your emotions and challenge your professional growth, too.
  • Invest in coaching for mid and senior-level leaders- how do you need them to be better leaders in your organization? Invest in time for reflection, debriefing, and airing challenges of the past year. Invest, too, in creating the relationships and collaboration opportunities for successful work over the summer and the launch of a new way of being in the academic year. 
  • Invest in team development- how do you grow capacity among your senior leaders and your team members to be the best that they can be? Participating in that conversation rather than leading it yourself can be a way to gain momentum with your team. An external voice can see things differently and give you perspective on where their strengths and opportunities are among your team members. 

Summer is short, and we always put more into it than realistically possible. Take time now, between the A months, to set you and your team up for success for the next year. 

How will you use the time between the A months to double down on investing in the humans in your organization? 

If you’re looking for assistance, email me, and we can talk about what this looks like for you, whether it’s joining one of my upcoming leadership programs or putting together a professional development day for your team.

We engaged with Kate at a time early this year when I realized we needed to invest in our leadership team and build them up for the rest of the year ahead. Kate’s ability to provide valuable content, help us reflect on our current state, and imagine how we want to be as a leadership team was instrumental in propelling us forward.

— Richard Sobaram, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Housing Strategic Initiatives; Division of Student Affairs; University of Miami