Whether you determine you need a mentor, additional training, or even informational interviews in a different industry, selecting the right resources serves as a primary support to your plan.
- Pablo Picasso once said, "Action is the foundational key to all success." This is especially true when it comes to making your career vision a reality. If you have clear direction, aligned goals, and have identified things that could hold you back, all that's left is finding the right resources to help you. The mistake I see many make is jumping at any resources they can get their hands on, and not thinking about if it's aligned to what they're trying to achieve. Having clarity can be very exciting and can create a lot of energy to move forward quickly, so it's important to look for opportunities that don't just make you feel movement, but movement in the right direction.
To help you focus, consider how we actually learn. Learning theory teaches us that we grow the most from actual experiences. Experiences refer to on the job learning. This includes activities like stretch assignments, job rotations or job shadowing, project leadership, and even project membership. The next most impactful way to learn is through relationships. Relationships refer to learning that happens through other people.
This could be feedback from your manager or teammates, including the use of 360 degree feedback tools. Other relationships you might benefit from are getting a mentor, joining a network group, or even hiring a professional coach. Last is through more formal learning like taking courses, reading books, or even watching videos. Considering that we learn the most when we blend all three together, the next step is to identify specific activities and resources that will best support your goals.
To help you build your plan, I've provided a Resource Guide in the Exercise Files. You can use section b to identify the best development activities to support your goals. I find it easiest to consider four types of learning activities. What type of exposure might you benefit from? This would be helpful if you need others to have broader visibility into your natural strengths. What kind of relationships could help you? This would be helpful if you could benefit from creating new advocates for your career.
What type of new skills do you need to acquire? And finally, what skills do you need to improve? Let's take a look at an example. Let's pretend you have a goal to be promoted into a manager role. In order to make that a possibility, you realize that you need more opportunities for others to see your leadership potential. You also might conclude that you could benefit from learning some foundational management skills. So based on your goal, you might select exposure and skill addition, as the types of activities to focus on.
You can then take it a step further and identify specific activities in those areas. Therefore, you might ask your manager to help you find a project you can volunteer to lead. This would expose others to your leadership abilities. You might also take a management course to better understand the core skills of leading others. Take a moment to think about your career vision and related goals. What type of development would best support them? What activities, if successfully completed, would get you closer to making your vision a reality?
- How the workplace has changed
- Creating a career vision
- Creating short- and long-term goals
- Mobilizing: Identifying resources, mentors, and your online brand