Having a path set out before you is an integral part of being able to own your personal professional development. Without clear direction, any kind of progress is difficult to achieve.
Identifying where you want to be and planning the path you need to take to get there need not be daunting tasks. Use this 5-step framework as a guideline to help you find the direction you’re missing in your career.
1. Set your destination
Where do you want to go? Think about what you most want to achieve in your career, and give yourself a deadline. From becoming CEO of a multinational giant to starting your own series of start-ups, the likelihood of reaching your desired destination increases when you identify where you want to be.
2. Acknowledge your current location
What do you currently offer organisations? Define your unique selling point. Once you understand where you are currently standing and what you already provide, you can get an idea of what you need to improve. Whether you need to add skills to your repertoire or gain further experience in a field you’re already involved in, identifying your starting point is key to figuring out your direction.
3. Plot your course
Who do you need to work with? Where do you need to travel to in order to reach your final destination? You may need to spend some time in undesirable roles in order to reach your dream job. General Electric executive, Beth Comstock’s first job was on a Rubbermaid production line. What she learned from that job helped set her up for a successful career in appliance production management.
4. Find the shortcuts
How can you speed up the process of moving forward? Find out what your current employer wants from leaders in their organisation, and market yourself based on that knowledge. Alternatively, research what your next boss is looking for in a potential employee and model yourself on that.
5. Predict obstacles
What challenges can you expect along the way? Identify and be aware of any self-sabotaging behaviours you may have. Figure out what barriers to progress you may encounter, like necessary qualifications or certifications, or having to relocate in order to take an opportunity.