What exactly is a career management plan?
By Dan Moran
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure,” Robert s. Kaplan and David P. Norton, from their book: Strategy-focused Organization
An article I recently wrote generated a number of responses and questions – questions focused on just what a career management plan is, and how one goes about putting this resource tool together.
In the most basic of terms, a career management plan is very similar to a financial plan and focuses on your assets (skills, strengths, experience, qualifications, etc.), your liabilities (weaknesses, threats to industry, etc.), goals (life, career, financial, family) and strategy (timetables, strategic actions, tactics, etc.). It is a tool that becomes your guideline to working through this unsettled and often changing environment. Most important, it puts you in control of your career – and is proactive versus reactive.
Every professional should have some level of career management plan – especially those on the executive level. The need for a plan is heightened by the exposure and risk you take in your career or job. For example, a fifth grade teacher who has taught for 30 years who has contributed greatly to the lives of students may not need this, but an educator who has developed leading-edge programs and initiatives and is seeking that next level in their educational career would be a candidate. The business owner ready to cash out, sell their business and pursue other options is clearly a candidate; many skilled craftspeople likely would not have a need as their plan is largely dictated by the profession.
The process of career management planning
Defining the process of engaging and developing a career management plan can be summarized in three distinct elements: Discover, Plan & Act.
• Discover – Accomplished through one-on-one discussion, assessments, situation analysis and market studies. The initial focus is discovering skills, core competencies and future opportunities aligned with personal and professional goals.
• Plan – The process then moves to developing the plan inclusive of goals with specific timelines (Position – Role – Responsibility – Compensation – Culture) and planned actions to achieve the goals.
• Act – It is then time to act. Working again one-on-one, short-term goals and actions are planned with measurable accountability reviewed through coaching and mentoring executive sessions normally scheduled on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis, depending upon needs.
Each need is unique and therefore the process utilized is planned to align with goals and needs.
The elements of a Career Management Plan
Like a financial plan, a career management plan is inclusive of:
• Inventory of assets, skills and core competencies
• Defined and measurable career goals & metrics: 1, 3, 5 & 10 years (for some)
• Identification of career direction & opportunities
• Current and projected career market analysis
• Compensation plan
• Strategic career management plan: strategy, actions, timetables
• Marketing strategy: branding, networks, resources, tools (resumes, letters, strategic career statements, etc).
Working one-on-one with an experienced career management and transition specialist will produce the plan, supported by mentoring, feedback and accountability. I often meet with clients once quarterly or twice-yearly to revisit our plan and where they are, making adjustments as necessary in light of new opportunities and changing market conditions.
With a clearly defined career management plan you will have the clarity, courage and confidence to take your career and life to a level you never expected. You will never have to worry about the “what if” – you will have a plan to address each and every change and turn that can be presented to you.
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. He specializes in helping people make career choices and seek new jobs. He is also a Certified Facilitator for Get Hired Now! and Get Clients Now! Programs, which help those in career transition and companies get results. You can reach him at 641.8968 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.next-act.com.