Reflection, Planning and Career Progression

Every organisation whether public or private sets goals and priorities.

Periodically they review performance.  Based on that review they make decisions.  They make adjustments when things are not going to plan.  They look to build on what is working well and make changes.

Now let’s think about you and your career.

Have you set out clear intentions or clear career goals?

You may have.  If you have you are in my experience in the minority.

Chances are you get busy and focused on doing a good job. You may give a bit of thought to continuing professional development.

The benefits of having clear career intentions or career goals are numerous.

They help you make decisions.  They help keep you motivated.  They provide a route map to where you want to get to.

Of course planning for the longer term is becoming more challenging

Once upon a time you might have been able to look ahead 10 or 20 years.  These days I would say that a 5 year time horizon is more realistic.

Organisations, industries and sectors change.  Your own priorities and aspirations may well change.

A 5 year time horizon gives a sufficient period of time for you to think about:

  • The type of experience you want to gain
  • The type of skills that you want to develop or improve
  • The personal attributes you want to develop or improve

How do you track or monitor progress?

If employed you might say that you have regular performance reviews or appraisals.

While these are good, they are to some extent too narrowly focused.  Primarily they are all about looking back.

Yes there might be some discussion about your career but in my experience this is a small part of the discussion.

Perhaps it is time to set up your own career review

If you have set some intentions or goals with stepping stones you can have your own “board meeting”

The only agenda item is you and your career.

You can look at your progress.

You can see what’s working and what’s not.

You can see what you need to do more and what you might stop completely.

You can determine what changes or refinements you need to make to your plan.

Does this take some work on your part?

It does but it does not need to be a massive drain on time.

Sitting down for 30 to 60 minutes every quarter and reviewing progress will put you streets ahead of the majority of people in your profession.

Compared to the time you spend at work it’s a small investment of time

If you are like most professionals you probably spend at least 40 hours every week.  At least 480 hours a quarter.

Spending a fraction of the time you spend at work to reflect, plan and make adjustments really can make a difference to your career results and progression.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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