Key Career Growth Questions

There’s more to career growth than aspirations and goals. These four key career growth questions provide a grounded foundation to pursuing those professional goals.

I had an excellent intake meeting this week with a Career Growth Program member, someone fully embedded in one company and his leadership role. He had enrolled in the program not because he intends to move jobs but rather with a view to having more influence over what happens in his 50’s and beyond.

The thought process of our intake meeting is illustrative, so I thought I’d share the main points.

What assumptions are you making? A key risk area is making assumptions about how your career will unfold in the future and as a result not taking ownership.

That a manager, or the company, has your back and will look after your welfare. That as long as you perform, you can continue to stay in your role. That when and if needed, you can “dust off” your resume and deal with it. That the “recruiters” will throw you an opportunity when needed.

I don’t know about you, but those are some expensive assumptions.

What are your risk factors? In the first month of the career growth program, clients self-assess their career management, market skills and market power and then in an intake meeting, I provide an assessment and recommendations on areas to shore-up and areas on which to capitalize.

In the case of this program member, he’s with one company for a long time. While not unusual in his industry, there’s risk there. Other risk factors might be that you’re too specialized, that you’re not specialized enough, that you work in a business where it’s the only one in your industry in your geographic area, that you don’t have a professional reputation outside of your current organization, that there’s some difficult parts to your career trajectory, and so on.

Risks typically boil down to your profile and trajectory, the demand for what you do in the market, your reputation, network and access to opportunity and your career transition market skills.

What do you WANT to do? Lost in the risk management conversation is the proactive, ideation, design conversation.

What could you do? Where else could your skills, expertise and knowledge be valued? How do you want the next stages to look like? What if….

This is powerful stuff and a lot more liberating than efforts to just hang on to your current work.

What misconceptions (and wishful thinking) do you hold about managing your career? If you’ve been following along with Bold Career, there should be no surprise here. “Dusting off” your resume every 3 years is not a proactive or effective approach to managing your career.

There’s more to it. More to managing the risk. And with some effort and focus, there’s lots of upside. Taking charge of your trajectory. Building market power. Having more degrees of freedom.

All of which takes ongoing work.

Back to my client. He may never leave the business he’s in. Through our work together, however, we intend to ensure he has better clarity on his professional assets, that he understands what he could do in the market, that his brand is strong, that he’s giving some attention to building reputation and relationships outside of his organization, that he’s market ready should the need arise, that he’s paying attention to corporate dynamics and his place in the organization, and that he’s also starting to think and plan for the future, whether that be a proactive change to another role in another organization, or professional semi-retirement projects.

That’s a smart approach to managing a career and thinking about career growth. If the idea of taking a self-ownership, proactive and intentional approach to your career growth resonates with you, please have a look at the Career Growth Program and then get in touch. I’d love to explore it with you.