Hello SOTGC community,
Corporate America is no longer prescribing career paths. This has been difficult for most employees to accept because they expect their company to provide career insights and guidance. According to the Corporate Leadership Council’s research, in the past decade, the responsibility of creating career development goals has increasingly shifted from the employer to the employee. Research has also found that managers are less willing and able to invest in employee career development, which means that now more than ever employees need to take responsibility for their careers.
So what are the Best in Class companies doing about this shift? The focus is away from career and more toward learning and personal development. Companies can’t promise a career path because the world is changing at a rapid rate. The career path of today may not be the career path needed for the future. Basically, managers aren’t making promises they cannot keep. What companies are doing is providing resources to employees in ways that fit individual needs and talents. This includes: development planning, a variety of learning solutions that map to key skills and competencies, and mentoring. Even though companies provide these opportunities, it isn’t always easy for employees to know what to do with this newly acquired knowledge.
Here are three tips for getting started down a career path that’s right for you:
1. First commit to your own development. No one knows better than you what you want to do in the next year, three years, and beyond. Many employees feel that their manager should own their career development, but let’s be realistic — managers are not trained to help you in this area. Think of others as resources to provide you with input and ideas for career development. Do not rely on them to do any of this work for you. Empower yourself to be the captain of your own destiny, for if you put it in the hands of others — they can lead you in a direction you truly have no desire to move toward.
2. Identify your career interests. Most employers provide employees with a “Career Interest Inventory” or survey that helps you discover a career that is right for you. If your company doesn’t provide one, you can easily Google a variety of them on the Internet. Basically, a Career Interest Inventory takes you through a series of questions whose answers are scored across categories of interests. The higher the score, the more interest you have in that career area. If you don’t have time to self-assess, ask yourself the following question: “What work would I do, if I did it without getting paid?” This simple question identifies your passion(s). Now you can start to build your roadmap for where you want to take your career. For those of you further down the path, you would ask yourself: “Who would I like to be?” The first question focuses on what you want to do; the second question focuses on the person you want to be. Both are key questions to a lifetime of happiness and eventually you will also ask: “Who am I and what do I stand for?”
It’s important to identify a career that is right for you because, let’s face it, we all spend most of our time working — why not do it by our terms.
3. Build your individual development plan in partnership with your manager. Now that you have surfaced your career interest(s), the next step is to put actions against them. Most companies provide development planning, templates, and worksheets for employees. Use them! The key to a successful development plan is to make your action steps simple and actionable. In fact, they should be so simple you’re almost embarrassed by them because they look like baby steps. Here’s the psychology behind that — employers know how busy your job keeps you, yet skill, knowledge, and leadership development is important and often gets put on the back burner. Don’t let that happen! Keep your goals simple, choose one or two to work on at any given time, and embed them as part of your weekly work day until they become part of your routine. Any venue during the day is a great opportunity to learn, whether it’s a meeting, a conversation with your boss, or presenting information to your key customers and stakeholders.
Don’t forget to share your development goals with your manager who can provide additional ideas, resources, and alignment to your day-to-day work. Your manager will appreciate that you’re focused on self-improvement because this is an additional contribution that you bring to your role and the company; it will pay off!
The fact is, we’re learning every day. It’s a matter of acknowledging that and being more mindful and strategic in your pursuit of personal and career development.
Trust these building blocks of development because they will add up to long-term impactful achievements, and when career opportunities come knocking, you’ll be ready, and that is when your career will go to the next level. You don’t want to miss out on that!
What are some self-motivating career tips that have worked for you? Tweet those ideas and share them with me at https://twitter.com/findyouraim. I’d love to hear from you!
Here’s to your success!