interview

CCT#3 - How to Create a Career Plan?

In this lecture, we’re going to start focusing on step 1 of our 5-step dream career blueprint. If you remember from chapter 1, step 1 was called “Create a Career Plan” and in this chapter, I’m going to put together a complete framework for you to start thinking about your career.

But I’d like to take you through a slight detour first.

 Imagine for a moment that you are an organization. The main goal of an organization is to make a profit. To make a profit and grow your business, you would probably want to put together a strategy in place. This strategy would include defining your vision as a company, defining your mission as a company, your values, understanding the market and customers that you want to go after, understanding the environment that you operate in, understanding your competition and much more.

You, like other companies would do something known as the “Strategic Planning” process, where you would answer three high level questions:

  1. Where are you now as a company?
  2. Where do you want to be?
  3. How will you get there?

It’s from this strategic analysis that you conduct that will you put together goals for your company and only then put together the plan to execute on those goals. In short, you wouldn’t blindly execute without keeping the big picture at the back of your head.

The operations for your company would follow this strategy.

Once you have a clear strategy in place, you can then operate the company, launch programs and projects, recruit people, monitor metrics, put budgets in place, etc. etc.

Additionally, you would most likely come back to your strategy and operations each year to check how you did against your plan, continue to set new goals for the new year and continue to grow your business.

So, if companies can put in so much effort to ensure that they have a strategy in place before they execute, why don’t we as individuals have our own career strategy in place before we find our next job?

Additionally, why don’t we do a gut check each year on our own careers and figure out how we’re measuring against our plan?

Most people look for “jobs”. They don’t seek “careers”. I urge you to think differently. If you want to take your career to the next level; if you want to find your dream opportunity and if you want to get to executive status in your career as soon as possible, then don’t just find your next job. Put together your career plan.

A job is nothing but a short term tactical move that will give you short term benefits, but will not give you a long-term career.

“Career Planning” is what six and seven figure executives do year after year in their careers to ensure that they can accelerate their careers fast. If things are not according to plan, they make changes fast. Today is your opportunity to follow the same strategies as these six and seven figure executives and it starts with the career planning process.

Mission, Vision and Values (MVV)

Companies’ start their strategic planning process by defining their MVV i.e. their Mission (M), Vision (V), and Values (V).

Let’s define what these mean first:

Vision – A company’s vision is its long-term dream. It’s the north star that the company is going after.

Mission – A company’s mission is its current task at hand to achieve that vision.

Values – Values are the rules by which decisions are made on a day to day basis.

We’ll use this framework to develop the high-level career plan for our lives.

Let’s now discuss how to map your career plan to this mission, vision and values framework. This entire process is summarized in Figure 2.

Vision

The first step of the career planning process is to define the vision for your life. This is done by doing two important things.

  1. Defining your long-term goals.
  2. Defining your ideal job criteria.

Both these steps take you into dreamland and give you the opportunity to idealize your ultimate career move and the ideal job you would love to have.

Once you have this defined is when you can now move onto figuring out your values as an individual.

Values

The second step of the career planning process is to define your values as an individual. This again consists of two steps.

  1. Define your preferences as an individual i.e. the way you behave, the way you relate to others, the way you make decisions, your preferences in terms of office environment etc. etc. These are elements of the culture that you will fit into well.
  2. Think about all the activities that you do and determine what are your likes and dislikes. People tend to do the things that they like well, so finding a career that can accentuate these strengths will get you closer to your vision faster.

At the highest level, 1 is about culture and 2 is about your strengths and weaknesses. 

Once you have your vision and values in place, it’s time to move onto your mission i.e. the next move that will take you closer to your vision.

Mission

Your mission is now all about finding that next move that aligns with your vision and your values as a person.

You start by following the right job search strategy to interview with multiple places. Yes, you heard that right. You’ve got to find jobs in such a way that you have multiple interviews lined up. Then you ace those interviews, get multiple job offers and pick one that aligns with the vision for your career and your values.

This is accomplished by following steps 2, 3 and 4 of the 5-step dream career blueprint.

The 9 x 3 Career Planning Blueprint

This brings us to the 9 x 3 Career Planning Blueprint that is summarized in Figure 3. The entire Mission, Vision and Values framework is summarized as nine core steps and three acceleration steps that you need to consistently follow year after year to achieve your dream career.

1.    Step 1 – Understand your preferences (Values)

2.    Step 2 – Understand your likes and dislikes (Values)

3.    Step 3 – Determine your long-term goals (Vision)

4.    Step 4 – Determine your ideal job criteria (Vision)

5.    Step 5 – Determine your next move (Mission)

6.    Step 6 – Pick your job search strategy (Mission)

7.    Step 7 – Create options i.e. multiple job offers (Mission)

Figure 2 – The MVV Framework as Applied to Your Career

Dream Career Planning.png

Figure 3 – The 9 Step Career Planning Framework

MVV.png

8.    Step 8 – Pick a choice i.e. decide which job to accept (Mission)

9.    Step 9 – Repeat each year (Repeat)

Don’t forget to consistently do step 9 each year – reevaluate. Remember the three things that companies do each year to grow their business. They answer the three important questions each year:

  1. Where are you now as a company?
  2. Where do you want to be?
  3. How will you get there?

You too must answer the same three questions as an individual.

  1. Where are you now in your career?
  2. Where do you want to be?
  3. How do you plan to get there?

It’s only through this constant introspection each year that you will be able to take your career from “average” to “executive”.

But following the nine steps is not enough. Remember the three acceleration steps from chapter 2 and Section 6. If you want to truly accelerate your career, you will have to get motivated about this process, you will have to get organized and you will have to be consistent. Apply these three acceleration steps to the nine core career planning steps and see your career accelerate in no time.

In the next nine posts, we’re going to focus on these nine steps in detail. By the end of this section, you will have a clear career plan in place and you’ll be upwards and onwards with your career.

Time to execute.