After you have clear goals, assess what could get in your way so you can be proactive in addressing them. Also, learn to identify things that might work in your favor that can accelerate momentum.
- Imagine you're planning a long hike. You can have a destination in mind and a map of how you'll get there but it's also important to think about things like the weather, your fitness level and even the equipment you may need. Your career is no different. Think of your career vision as a destination and your career goals as directions to get there. You can follow these directions but before you start down the road, it's helpful to evaluate the circumstances of the overall journey. Essentially, you'll be identifying your accelerators and potential roadblocks.
Let's start with your accelerators. Identifying accelerators means answering the question, what will work in your favor as you strive to achieve your goals? You can use part seven of the Career Map worksheet in your Exercise Files to record your responses. Think about the assets you have at your disposal that'll help you achieve your goals. For example, do you have access to capital to fund a new business idea? Do you have any unique skills that are highly valued? Do you work for a company that supports internal career moves? Do you have a very positive reputation in your industry? Now, for the next step and often the more challenging one, you'll be identifying potential roadblocks.
Roadblocks are things that can get in your way of achieving career goals. They can be big or small but if not addressed can derail you. Here are some examples of career roadblocks. Your manager isn't supportive of your goals. Your company isn't large enough to provide growth opportunities. Your personal responsibilities restrict the amount of time you have for learning new things. You may not have the financial means to fund the first phase of a new business idea.
You may have valuable skills but maybe no one outside of your peer group is aware of them. The most common and dangerous roadblock is a blind spot. A blind spot is something about yourself that you're unaware of. Research tells us that about 90% of us have at least one blind spot. We can easily see them in others but often can't see them in ourselves. The problem is compounded as most managers aren't skilled or comfortable delivering developmental feedback.
Therefore, it's possible to go through years of your career and have no one tell you about a potentially glaring blind spot that may be holding you back. Gathering feedback from others helps you identify blind spots and gives you information to develop your personal brand which is needed to achieve your career vision. You can do this in a couple of ways. You can ask others a question like if I were to improve one or two things that would make me even more effective, what would they be? However, be aware that you run the risk of people not being straightforward with you.
Another great way is to complete a 360 degree feedback survey. This will allow you to invite others to provide feedback about your strengths and development opportunities anonymously which increases the probability that the feedback is candid. There are many great tools out there to do this. I recommend aligning the tool you select with the type of feedback you're seeking. I've included some examples of tools you can use in the Resource Guide in the Exercise Files.
Regardless of your method, the goal is to gather feedback from others to determine how you're perceived. Once you have this information, you can leverage natural strength and make immediate adjustments to improve blind spots. With this step complete, you can accelerate yourself on your career path and identify opportunities you can take advantage of sooner than later.
- How the workplace has changed
- Creating a career vision
- Creating short- and long-term goals
- Mobilizing: Identifying resources, mentors, and your online brand