Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to work and prepare to win. My point? Look at your career. Each of us has different career goals, functions, industries and issues that needs the discipline, preparation and strategy to make our dreams come true. Here are some steps to consider:
GOAL: If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there. Your goal may not be totally clear, but you need some general targets and direction. The questions are: Is your goal realistic? Can you measure progress? Are you willing to make the sacrifices? Do you have the support of those around you? Family? Bosses? Others?
BASELINE: What’s your starting point? If you’re just starting out, your baseline of experiences and knowledge is minimal. At what level are you and how much time do you have in order to reach your goal? If you’re a junior accountant at age 50, your goal of CFO is doubtful. If you’re in an industry, but not the industry you want, you better move quickly.
STEPS: Assuming you’re in the right job, function, and industry at this stage of your career, then define the next series of steps to achieve your goal. Where do you need to be, by job function, title and age, in order for you to be positioned to achieve your career goal? Most career goals are achieved through a series of prescribed steps of a ladder. What are the future steps that need to be attained?
REQUIREMENTS: Each step usually has a prerequisite or gate that must be passed through. What are the preconditions for each step? Are you prepared for these requirements? Some are conditioned on a certain educational level, advanced certification, or certain kinds of experiences. Find out what they are and begin to accumulate the needed qualifiers.
STRATEGY: Now is the time to put a strategy in place. A strategy will tell you where you need to be, by when, with what skills and experiences to move to each next step. It needs to be targeted and definitive as possible, like: Within 2 years move to a manager position in a consumer products company, along with your approach to achieve this objective. Develop your strategy 5 years out and revisit it each time you reach the next step.
FIRST STEP PLAN: What is it that you need to do first, in order to implement the initial step of your strategy? Look at both short term and long-term objectives. Those items that take longer should be started now in order to be ready when the time comes. Example: If a PMP certification (Project Management Professional) is essential for your moving up the ladder, start now as it may take a year or two to complete. Short term strategies are easier, but necessary to add to your experience base.
If you don’t prepare for a goal, your chances for success are remote.
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