In the articles I have been reading at year-end, most organizations have been setting their 2016 goals, which usually include increasing revenues, improving efficiencies and reducing costs. As you evaluate your organization’s strategy, how does this impact your 2016 career goals and resolutions? The organization’s plans could bring about promotional opportunities for you or a number of other outcomes, some of which may not align with your overall direction.
Developing a career plan and assessing it regularly can provide you with important criteria regarding how you will respond to change and what you will consider, either with your current employer or externally. One important lesson is that we do not have to wait for change to affect us, but we can take control. This mindset shift can make all the difference in the world. Nobody knows you better than you! You are the person with responsibility for your own livelihood and what happens in your career. Owning and driving your career leads to career resiliency.
Whether you are working to be the best you can be in a job you love or taking steps to move into a new direction, getting started in crafting your career plan is not as difficult or daunting as people may think. If you are interested and serious, commit to the exercises below and set goals along with dates for completion of the following steps:
STEP ONE: Determine your career objectives
— What are you good at?
— What skills or work activities provide you with the most satisfaction?
— Have you ever taken assessments that point you towards other careers?
— Is there anything you’d do differently if you could start your career over?
— If you make a change, what is your timeline? Is it feasible/realistic? Do you have the appropriate level of support (family, friends, financial, etc.)?
— Have you considered working with a career coach to help guide you through this process?
STEP TWO: It’s all about YOU
Begin by thinking and answering the question, “Who are YOU?” Think about your story, including:
— Early background, education and choice of schools; employment history with details about industry and functional experiences; responsibilities; and reporting relationships.
— Describe the businesses you have worked for and what you liked about them, such as culture/environment, organization structure, relationships, mission/product/service, etc.
— Make note of accomplishments as well as successes that give you an emotional reaction. What were the skills you used most? What gave you the most satisfaction? — What was the financial value to you and the organization?
— Are you starting to see any themes? Can you begin to describe a position that best matches your requirements and skills?
— As you go through this process, give thought to adjectives that describe your skills, values, interests, style and the things that make you unique and interesting.
STEP THREE: What’s the market for what you want to do?
— What is the value of your skills?
— Why would an organization or a hiring manager be interested in you?
— What do they need you to do?
— What will success in the position lead to?
— What will you do after this position?
STEP FOUR: Who do you know that will give you input and validation?
— Identify the people you have worked for and learned from as well as those you have worked with. Also think about professional associations and memberships you have where you can get a sense of what’s going on around you. Some of the people you talk to may turn up as advocates in other ways.
— Ask several people who know your work experience to offer their valuable comments and insights. Through dialogue from trusted sources, you can begin developing your story. This is excellent preparation for questions that you may be asked or want to ask others along the way.
Working through this framework will help you develop significant information about yourself and start to identify the elements of success and preference for best use of your talents in order to develop a career strategy and plan. I have been doing this work for over 35 years and it’s the people that I meet who drive my passion and give me validation for my beliefs.
Just a few days ago, I was pleased to receive a message from a former executive that I worked with who shared the following thoughts with me:
“Bill, I just wanted to send you a quick note of appreciation from me and my colleague who was also your client. I can speak for both of us and say that thanks to you we are in a much better position that suits our (very different) requirements and skillsets. In fact, the most important lesson I learned from you is that I no longer wait for change to affect me, but I take control and change my environment. This mindset has unlocked a potential I never thought I had in me. Clearly a far more rewarding work life than I ever had previously.”
On behalf of all of us at Torchiana, wishing you much success in 2016 as you create your own pathway to Career Resilience.
— Bill Torchiana