Having a master career plan will accelerate your growth. And it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think. Here’s a simple 5-step process to creating your master career plan that aligns with your goals.
How does this align with our strategy?
That’s the question I always asked when stakeholders would come to me with their one-off marketing ideas to drive the business.
That question was my first filter. It helped me weed through the good ideas that were off strategy.
Because that’s what a strategy is for.
A strategy is to help you figure out which good ideas to say no to.
That’s part of your job as a leader.
To keep everyone on track.
Most leaders are great at doing that on the job.
But they suck at doing it for their career.
They don’t have a clear strategy for their development.
Sometimes they know what their next one or two jobs are going to be.
But they don’t have a clear vision of how to get there.
Their main “vision” is often as loose as do a good job.
Or I need to take that training course.
Here’s something to keep in mind…
The looser your growth strategy, the slower your growth … and the more time and money you waste.
It’s true for business.
And it’s true for your career.
You already know what happens when you waste time and money on the job? You often don’t get to keep that job.
But what happens when you waste time and money in your career?
You get frustrated.
You get stuck.
You overwork and burnout.
You get disillusioned and uninspired.
And you leave that job.
Sometimes voluntarily. Sometimes not.
And all this can be avoided.
By carving out and prioritizing the time to create a master career plan and intentionally showing up for it every single day.
Because the consequence of not taking the time to prioritize your career plan is wasting time in your career.
Here’s a simple 5-step process you can implement to start creating and maintaining a master career plan that aligns with your goals.
1: Choose ANY goal
Sometimes you avoid setting a career goal. You think you need to have this big, hairy goal you love and are committed to 100%.
That’s a top-down approach. It’s definitely a way to go. Personally, I prefer a top-down approach when it’s accessible to me.
But sometimes it’s not.
That doesn’t mean you spin in confusion and forgo having a goal. Instead, you can start from the bottom up.
Look at your leadership performance and choose anything. Become a master of time. Or creator of leaders. Or a role model of calm. Or a super-reader.
Pick something. And make it aspirational.
2: Create a starter vision of success
Once you pick that thing, blow out your vision of what success looks like.
Who are you when you’re a master of time? How do you act? What choices do you make? How do you manage expectations? How many hours do you work? What do you do with panic requests?
Take a look at your biggest pain points when it comes to your goal. Then decide how aspirational you would handle them (if you could wave a magic wand).
Now you have scope.
And it doesn’t need to be perfect or all-encompassing. Build on it as you get smarter. But start somewhere.
3: Intentional trial and error
Pick one thing in your scope and start trying to do it.
You will fail a lot. It won’t work out the way you thought it would. You will feel frustrated and uncomfortable.
This is where most people quit trying.
Not quitting is how you differentiate yourself from the pack.
It may take 10 tries. Or 100 tries before you nail it.
Your job is to try, assess, change something, and try again.
4: Review the wins
You’re so busy achieving, that you don’t notice what you achieve.
It’s not a problem. But it is a missed opportunity. And noticing your achievements really helps with the “not quitting”.
Taking a moment every day to notice your little wins is better than taking a vitamin.
And bonus, you also start noticing the little wins of others on your team. Which they will love.
Vitamin D never did that for me.
5: Repeat the process
As soon as you get momentum on one element of your vision, start practicing the next one.
Do one at a time. You might think this is too slow. Or you may believe you’re special and can do multiple things at the same time.
Doing one thing at a time is the fastest way to do this. If you try to multitask this, you will slow your progress. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.
Believe me. I’m smart too.
And it wasn’t until I slowed it right down that my progress skyrocketed.
Bottom line: You must have a clear master career plan to direct your growth - otherwise you’re wasting your time and money.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to lay out your 5-year milestones.
You can build it from the top-down or bottom-up. You can just have one thing on it. Or it can have everything on it. It doesn’t matter.
The important thing is to have one.
At the end of the day, you’ll still be working on one thing at a time.