Career Advice

The Only Career Advice You Need For 2017

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

“The indispensable employee brings humanity and connection and art to her organization. She is the key player, the one who’s difficult to live without, the person you can build something around.” Seth Godin

Are you ready to have your career soar in 2017? If the answer is yes, do you have a plan?

Buckle your seat belt and here we grow… in the next few minutes we’ll map out the path to ensure you reach your goals for the upcoming year.

Career Advice

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Why Your Work Matters

First, let’s look at the state of your world. Seth Godin’s insightful blog ’10 Questions For Work That Matters’ is the best place to start when reflecting on your work in 2016. These questions will ensure that you are connecting your work to something more meaningful than just a paycheck or a title. Make the commitment to yourself, to your company and to the greater good you are achieving through work that you are passionate about.

Reflect on and answer the following questions.

1. What are you doing that’s difficult?

2. What are you doing that people believe only you can do?

3. Who are you connecting?

4. What do people say when they talk about you?

5. What are you afraid of?

6. What’s the scarce resource?

7. Who are you trying to change?

8. What does the change look like?

9. Would we miss your work if you stopped making it?

10. What do you stand for?

11. What contribution are you making?

Per Seth any question that’s difficult to answer deserves more thought. Any answers that are meandering, nuanced or complex are probably a symptom of something important.

Solidify Commitment Via Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

An IDP is not simply a potential career path, this plan alone won’t guarantee results. But when you combine the IDP with your heartfelt commitment, that’s where the power is. An IDP is a two-way commitment between you and your company to empower you to grow, to provide you with new opportunities and challenges. It is a statement that tells you:

• You are safe here (we are planning your future)

• You belong here (we are envisioning where you can increase your impact for the tribe)

You matter here (we are co-creating a way for you to shine even more brightly)

This is why an IDP is essential, and also why it’s key for it to be co-created with your leader, and driven forward by you. If IDPs are a new concept to you and your company, this is your opportunity to introduce this concept to your leader.

Your leader and company will take your IDP seriously because it’s a written commitment. You will want to move it forward to enjoy the many benefits of personal and professional growth.

An IDP is:

• A written plan that outlines what career goals you want to accomplish and what steps you will take to meet those goals

• A tool you can use to envision, organize, and plan your career

• A tool for creating a personalized plan that best reflects your career aspirations, whether you want to plan for professional development, promotion or both

You are responsible for driving the outcome of the Plan. An IDP should be viewed as your motivation. When you commit to your IDP, you will show your leader that you are deeply committed to growth and the work required to see this plan to fruition.

Ideally, your IDP will be comprised of Professional and Personal Development sections:

Professional Development Portion:

• Identify two or more possible career evolutions that can occur in the coming 1-3 years. Note that they can be up or across the org chart or can include deepening your current role.

• What job skills will be needed?

• What leadership skills will be needed?

• A timeline for acquiring these skills

• A plan, budget, leadership commitment to support the plan

• Next steps and monthly or quarterly check-in on plan progress

• Agreement that the plan will be driven by you, not by your leader

Personal Development Portion (optional but highly encouraged):

• Personal growth that you wish to undertake (weight loss, fitness goals, learning new language, stop smoking, etc.)

• Mapping of how this personal growth will benefit the company

• A timeline for acquiring these skills/creating this growth

• A plan, budget, leadership commitment to support the plan

• Next steps and monthly or quarterly check-in on plan progress

• Agreement that the plan will be driven by you, not by your leader

Be sure to determine the frequency of follow-up with your leader to ensure that the objectives of the plan are being attained. I recommend quarterly. Note that your IDP will be updated as needed and as you continue your growth. IDP’s include a lot of important information, but they don’t have to be complicated or intimidating.

Here is a simple template that my clients have found to be extremely powerful.

Career Advice: Individual Development Plan Professional

Career Advice: Individual Development Plan Personal

Feel free to edit and make this template your own and watch your career soar in 2017!

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