In this post I focus on career planning. If you work as an employee this is definitely for you. If you’re self employed does this have any relevance? Well yes, as you still want to develop yourself and continue to grow the business and take it to the next stage.
So do you really need to plan your career?
As a salaried worker if you don’t plan your career who will? Will your manager take as much time, effort and energy in working out career moves for you as well as you could for yourself? Probably not! What about if you are self employed – perhaps it is even more important to plan your development, to have a mentor and take some external frame of reference to be proactive about your business and skills. Will your competition be doing this?
Benefits to you
By planning your career you can:
- increase your sense of control and become less reliant on others to achieve your career goals
- enhance your self awareness about what is possible and how your unique mix of skills and strengths changes over time.
- provide clarity so that when opportunities emerge you are able to make informed decisions and so avoid taking high risks
- monitor progress against a realistic and achievable plan, leaving scope for change
If you are a business owner you can also maximise potential by succession planning.
Timing: When to do the Career Plan
Imagine a ski slope and at the bottom of the slope is the equivalent of the place where most people begin to look for another job. At the bottom of that ski slope you run out of steam and have enjoyed the thrill and buzz of getting there! Similarly, looking for another job when you are at the bottom of the slope, is when you are most likely to be bored, unchallenged and unexcited. This is hard work and a slight feeling of desperation can creep in. Imagine though looking for that role when you are at the top of the peak, you are confident, motivated and energetic. How do you hide those feelings in either situation to a potential employer? They will seep out and help or hinder you. The time to job search is when you are at the peak not the bottom! If you are self employed the time to review your role, skills and development is annually as part of your business review.
What makes up an effective Career Plan
The plan has 3 parts to it:
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- What options do I have?
Who am I?
By understanding who you are and what has shaped you so far and what is important to you in the present you can begin the process of planning and decision making for the future.
- Work out your satisfiers and dis-satisfiers at work. (You may want to add in outside work too).
- Be honest and identify what you really want to do. Go for the most likes and fewest dislikes.
- What are your strongest skills? Develop any skills gaps but do please recognise your talents!
“Unfortunately most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead guided by our teachers, parents and managers we become experts at our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, whilst our strengths lie dormant and neglected.” writes author Marcus Buckingham in his books “First break all the rules” and “Now discover your strengths”.
- How to identify your talents
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you most appreciate about yourself?
- What do people repeatedly seek you out for?
- Where do you feel you contribute most?
- What legacy do you want to leave?
- What values were you satisfying in jobs in the past that have been a real “high”?
- What existed in the “highs” that were missing in the “lows”?
- Think about settings where you flourish? Where do you feel most energised? Why? When you were growing up what activities, experiences and people were you most drawn to? When you feel most creative what are you doing?
- Consider your commitments, duties and obligations.
- Draw your life line in 5 year intervals and identify the achievements and any issues. Ask are there any themes? What has triggered moves in the past? What have been your successes and failures?
- Factor in your values which give you motivation. Sometimes these are known as career drivers.
- List your skill set, both technical and managerial as well as capabilities. Are there any underdeveloped talents? Define your reputation i.e. how others see you? How can you check this out? Who will give you honest feedback?
What do I want?
- Draw a mind map of your future options. Where do you see yourself in 2, 5 and 10 years? What are the likely barriers and how can you overcome them?
- If you want to move into senior management positions in addition to a track record and conventional intelligence do you have the following attributes:
- Emotional Intelligence
- Learning Competence
- Strategic Thinking
- High Motivation?
- Write your life stage predictor – predict the future likely stages of your life – what you want to do with any large purchases and their funding, factor in pensions and other commitments.
- Write your retirement tribute to crystallise what you will have achieved.
Next time, I’ll talk about your Career planning options – or, if you can’t wait, get in touch!