Career Management Plan
With the employment market improving – especially in our region – many are getting off the sidelines and looking at making changes in their career to find what they want to do and what they are happy doing. In order to advance and find the next “right fit” career, a career management plan is essential. A nationally-published article I recently wrote generated a number of responses and the question What Exactly is a Career Management Plan.
You may have heard this quote in the past:
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure”
Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton,
From their book: Strategy-focused Organization
In the most basic of terms, a career management plan is very similar to a financial plan and focuses on your assets (skills, strengths, experience, qualifications et al), your liabilities (weaknesses, threats to industry, et al), goals (life, career, financial, family) and strategy (timetables, strategic actions, tactics et al). It is a tool that becomes your guideline to working through this unsettled and often changing environment. Most important, it puts you in control of your career – and is proactive versus reactive.
Every professional should have some level of career management plan – especially those on the professional & executive level where this is an absolute must-have (I have developed the Next-Act Executive Management Plan (ECM) © specifically for this group). The need for a plan is heightened by the exposure and risk you take in your career or job. For example, a fifth grade teacher who has taught for 30 years who has contributed greatly to the lives of students may not need this; an educator who has developed leading-edge programs and initiatives and is seeking that next level in their educational career would be a candidate. The business owner ready to cash out, sell their business and pursue other options is clearly a candidate; many skilled craftspeople likely would not have a need as their plan is largely dictated by the profession.
The Process of Career Management Planning
Defining the process of engaging and developing a career management plan can be summarized in three distinct elements: Discover, Plan & Act.
Discover -Accomplished through 1-on-1 discussion, assessments, situation analysis and market studies, the initial focus is discovering skills, core competencies and future opportunities aligned with personal and professional goals.
Plan -The process then moves to developing the plan inclusive of goals with specific timelines (Position – Role – Responsibility – Compensation – Culture) and planned actions to achieve the goals.
Act – It is then time to act. Working again 1-on-1, short term goals and actions are planned with measurable accountability reviewed through coaching & mentoring executive sessions normally scheduled on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis, depending upon needs.
Each need is unique and therefore, the process utilized is planned to align with goals and needs.
The Elements of a Career Management Plan
Like a financial plan, a career management plan is inclusive of:
Inventory of Assets, Skills and Core Competencies
Defined and measurable career goals & metrics: 1, 3, 5 & 10 years (for some)
Identification of career direction & opportunities
Current & Projected career market analysis
Strategic career management plan: Strategy, actions, timetables
Marketing strategy: Branding, networks, resources, tools (resumes, letters, strategic career statements, et al).
Some elect to do this one their own. Others will work with an expert who will help craft the plan. Then it is measurement and accountability – being sure you are hitting your stated goals and actions.
With a clearly defined career management plan you will have the clarity, courage and confidence to take your career and life to a level you never expected. You will never have to worry about the “what if” – you will have a plan to address each and every change and turn that can be presented to you.