One of my mentors had an interesting saying that I thought I would share. He would always say that to advance in your career there were three simple rules of which you only had control over one. His three rules were (1) knowing what you want, (2) opportunity and (3) approval. During our career conversations he would always re-iterate these three points, always pointing out that you have no control over opportunity or approval. That would basically always bring us to one simple question; WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Knowing what you want is more than just a six figure salary or a title – although he said that was the curse of Generation Xers who all graduated wanting to be the next CEO of a fortune 500 company in five years. ”Knowing what you want” includes personal constraints such as what you enjoy, geographical preferences and family requirements. The second part of knowing what you want also includes personal development items such as training and skill gap assessments.
As we start 2013 I encourage all of our readers to take a minute to realign their development plans with their future goals. Take a minute to perform a skills gaps analysis to see what you need to work on this year to achieve your future goals. “Skills gap analysis” is a fancy name for looking at where you currently are and what you want to do in the future. Lay out the requirements of that future position by listing the requirements in detail. Then take that list and identify your skills and weakness.
Please keep in mind there are several types of gaps analysis. For example there are “position gaps” and “competency gaps.” Many positions will require you to have filled the role of a cost engineer before becoming a lead cost engineer. Part of your development plan would need to reflect taking a cost engineer position to become a lead cost engineer.
When reviewing competency gaps try breaking your list down into definitive categories such as knowledge, skills, experience and abilities. Also for more senior level positions be sure to list softer skills such as leadership and people development.
Now that you have self assessed it is always helpful to get someone else’s view. Try asking a peer and a manager for feedback on your performance over the past working year, quarter or even month. It is also helpful to try and get there feedback on the same categories you self rated your self on. In the past I have found that I am much more critical of myself than others are on me.
You know we love tangible, measurable goals here at HOF. What is the point of setting up a goal without having a plan to get there? Take a minute at the end of this process to lay out a plan to achieve your goals. That may include what training you plan to take this year or a certification you have been wanting to get but just been dragging your feet on. Once you have your goals keep them in a visible place to continue to remind yourself what you need to accomplish to get to where you want.
Happy New Year and here is to your goals & New Year resolutions!