Career drivers are the motivational forces that propel you forward. When I look over my career I uncovered three career drivers for me: Growth (both personal and professional); increased responsibility and compensation; freedom to perform at a high level.
Identify your own career drivers, and then assess them against your drivers. Do this by creating a scale from 0 to 100 whereby a 50 on the scale is “Minimally Adequate, a 75 rating is “Acceptable” and anything above 75 indicates you are making progress. The higher your rating the greater the progress.
Next, take a look at the drivers to your career success and apply them against your scale. In my case, there have been three drivers throughout my career. You may have different drivers so you need to figure that out. Mine are:
- Personal and professional growth – As an individual: Are you growing in confidence, maturity, interpersonal relationships, experience, exposure, visibility, credibility, influence, and other personal attributes needed for the tasks ahead? As a professional: Have you increased your skills and abilities, learn higher levels of complexities, engage with higher management, expand your business and functional knowledge that continue to position you on an upward trajectory? What’s your assessment: Less than 50 / 60 / 75 / more?
- Responsibility and compensation – Are you increasing your functional responsibilities while expanding your compensation? Responsibilities can expand by additional roles, tasks or projects, inclusion in representative groups that will advance you within the organization. Compensation is a measure of how the organization values your contribution: Performance increases above the norm, or a bonus for a job well done. Non-financial rewards are also to be counted, like being recognized by the “big boss” in an open meeting. What’s your assessment: Less than 50 / 60 / 75 / more?
- Freedom to perform – How tightly are you supervised? Are you given the freedom to develop the strategies and execute an approved plan to achieve stated results? If you’re micro-managed or spoon-fed, it’s time to ask why. Freedom to act is extremely important as it demonstrates the confidence the company has in you. The higher you go, the greater the freedom of action. What’s your assessment: Less than 50 / 60 / 75 / more?
Take your career drivers, rate them, and then add them together. If your Total Satisfaction Index is 150 or less, you have a major problem. A total number of 225 means you are making reasonable progress. Over 240 is terrific. The combination is also important, like a 90 in one category and a 40 in another. The caution flag is when all three categories range in the 60’s or low 70’s.
If your scores are not acceptable to you, talk with your boss. Explain what you need in order to achieve your greatest performance. Your current organization should be able to help with your career drivers. If not, then you’ll know it’s time to look at the marketplace.
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