What is Your Career Strategy for 2010?
[wpvideo BbiAFCKe] Picture yourself one year from now. It’s January 2011 and you are just coming off your most successful year to date. What do you see?
Promotion? New job? New business venture?
Since ambiguous goals are never achieved, really spend some time analyzing what you want most from your career over the next 12 months.
To get started, sequester yourself in a quiet spot and write down some initial ideas. It may help to get outside your everyday surroundings for this. Personally, I do my best creative thinking at bookstores but, then again, I’m a writer.
Next, add some framework to your vision with the following four steps:
1. Craft a clear statement of what you desire most. Your notes should give you a good 10,000-foot overview of what you hope to achieve this year. Now you need to distill them down to one, actionable sentence. For example, “In 2010, I will get promoted to senior account executive.”
2. Outline the plan you’re going to use to reach that goal. Don’t be intimidated by the word ‘plan’. A plan is nothing more than a list of activities arranged by priority and sequence. It doesn’t have to be a Broadway production. The best format I’ve seen recently is from Chris Brogan, uber-blogger and author of Trust Agents. He uses an Excel spreadsheet, placing his action items vertically in the A column. The months of the year are listed horizontally across the top and, when he achieves a goal, an “x” is marked in the column where they meet. Further proof that, when it comes to productivity, the most effective ideas are usually the simplest. Note: If it’s not a measurable, quantifiable objective, it doesn’t belong on this spreadsheet. Kapish?
3. Set a time when you intend to reach your goal. If you want to trick out your spreadsheet, create separate pages for each month at the bottom and file all of your objectives according to when you want to achieve them. (This is what I did for 2010.) To use the example above, if it’s your goal to become senior account executive, you’ll want to observe a few folks in that role and incorporate the best of their behaviors while adding a few silver bullets of your own. The sample plan shown here has several ideas (e.g., demonstrating your potential by leading a client service project, etc.), but the template is included more to outline the format of your spreadsheet than the content.
4. Review and update your plan frequently. This isn’t something you create and file indefinitely. Your career strategy for 2010 should be a working, breathing document. I review my plan constantly, and I’m always making tweaks based on new goals or information. Not only does this keep me focused on the right things, but it’s incredibly convenient to have where I’m going, how I plan to get there, and when I want to arrive all in one place.
Now, what would make 2010 your best year ever?