Most people plan their careers step-by-step. However, the most growth we experience is when we take unplanned steps in a different direction that our original intention. As a leader, you can help your people to have a long-term vision as well as a 18-month plan. You can achieve this by encouraging your people to have career conversations.
The following three-step process will help your employees develop both short- and long-term plans.
These steps require an hour of investment, roughly two weeks apart from one another. And they span the past, present and future states of your team members.
Get To Know Your Teams Through Career Conversations
Get to know about their childhood. You could ask them, “Tell me about your favorite childhood meal and why you like it?” This question opens up the door to their early formative years.
Probe with more open questions about pivotal moments in their lives. When someone mentions switching from the basketball team to becoming a debate champion in their high school, become curios about the transition.
“What was it about debating that appealed to you?”
You will get thoughtful answers that will help you understand their personality and work preferences. The team member might realize how they made the shift from playing team sports to focusing on individual success.
Look for other similar patterns over the course of their life. When something stands out, write it down.
What you will end up with a list of 6-8 values that are important motivators for this particular team member.
Together, you can focus on bringing those values alive in the workplace.
Bring Their Lighthouse Into Focus
Ask them about their dreams. Everyone has some idea about what they want to be when they grow up.
Avoid giving them a timeline, so you’re not asking them their 10-year plan.
Ask instead what this person might be doing at the pinnacle of her or his career. What would be they be doing then they are feeling fully engaged, challenged, and not wanting anything else in life.
The result will be a blurred vision, like a fuzzy lighthouse in the distance. Now, your goal is to bring this lighthouse into focus.
What sort of company and what size company do you imagine working for?
What industry would you be involved in?
Would you prefer to be in a very senior management type role or a very senior individual contributor type role?
Knowing the wildest dreams will help you as a leader to place your team member in a position that would help them to have experiences that would prepare them for where they are headed.
Create A Career Action Plan
Finally, it’s time to create a career action plan.
Armed with a shared and textured understanding of your employees’ key motivators, and a clear articulation of their own envisioned future, now you’re ready for the next step: crafting a detailed action plan.
These will map out — in great detail — exactly how your employee is going to reach that vision for themselves.
Think of it as a roadmap to self-actualization.
At the end of these three steps, you will have a clearer understanding of the person’s origin, choices taken to get to this point, what they care about and what drives them.
You both will also have a clearer idea of that lighthouse in the distance.
Sheevaun Moran is a business advisor, master coach, quantum energy thought leader and the founder of Energetic Solutions. She uses business principles with energetic techniques to help more than 25,000 entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders bring instant focus and shifts to clarity, purpose, and profits.
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