12 Strategic Career Management Steps

Kathleen Johnston

During my 15 years helping people with career planning, I’ve found that managers are most effective when they take three perspectives, and triangulate their career.

  1. Personal preparation. As a business psychologist, I think they have to start from understanding and building their own goals, capacities and personal effectiveness. There are many roads to discover that, and Kathleen Johnston‘s diagram above shows many of the factors managers are starting with.
  2. Career strategy. Second, as an MBA, I think they need to use strategy, competitive analysis and market research to take an entrepreneurial view of the value of their career options.
  3. Delivering value. Thirdly, my experience as a marketer convinces me that managers need to understand how they can deliver value to their audiences both directly and indirectly, looking at how they work interpersonally and how they use social media, personal development, market intelligence and thought leadership to amplify their audiences and their value.

I work with clients on 12-week programmes working through any or all of these three areas. Few people have strong capabilities in all three of those areas, and I find that I need to use many tools, supported in some cases by reading materials, to help people do that work as effectively as possible.

One of the first papers I recommend is Strategic Career Management–A Missing Link in Management by Objectives. It’s a chapter by Dr Heinz Weihrich, Professor Emeritus of Global Management and Behavioral Science at the University of San Francisco, from the International Handbook on Management by Objectives. His paper outlines twelve steps which, while not being exhaustive, brings a big part of that second, strategic, task to life.

  • 1. Preparation of a personal profile (know thyself). Where are you know? What do you like and dislike? What is your idea of success? What is your trajectory in the short-term?
  • 2. Development of long-term personal and professional goals (Note, the terms “goals” and “objectives” will be used interchangeably). What is your passion? What is your ideal lifestyle?
  • 3. Identification and evaluation of the present environment, its threats and opportunities. How is the demand changing for your industry, company, knowledge and skills? What a the big changes?
  • 4. Forecasting and making predictions within the company as well as outside; identification of threats and opportunities. How are the company’s experiences, capabilities and skills changing in value? What’s missing?
  • 5. Analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses. What are the strengths and gaps, both in terms of your skills and your CV? What career barriers are ahead of you? How can you develop your personal energy and efficacy? What productivity habits should you develop?
  • 6. Development of strategic career alternatives. What careers options are taken by people loving into, or out of, your field? What are the options if you focus on your passions and interests? What are the big growth opportunities?
  • 7. Testing for consistency of strategies and reevaluation of career goals. What are the un-asked questions? What are the potential risks and benefits?
  • 8. Evaluation and choosing from alternatives. How well to they fit your passions and values? What are the options for growth? Are pathway roles available? How large are the skills gaps and career barriers?
  • 9. Development of short-range objectives and action plans. What are the first steps: personal branding, CV, LinkedIn, networking strategy and milestones.
  • 10. Development of contingency plans. What are the short-term options? Are there choices which give you more room for manoeuvre?
  • 11. Implementation of the career plan. What can you do to track progress? Will a Seven Habits approach or Getting Things Done approach work for you? Do you need support along the way?
  • 12. Monitoring progress. How will you stay accountable? How will you decide about contingencies?

If you’d like my help with your strategic career management, please get in touch.


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