With the new year on our doorstep, what are you hoping to achieve in 2022? Do you just want to get that sense of ‘normal’ back? Or has the pandemic changed your goals completely? Perhaps you’re looking to progress in your career in a leadership role or for the first time managing others or training people in your organisation?
It has been a turbulent couple of years, and for many, career progress may have been on hold – all hands hitting the business deck just to keep the boat on the water. There is no better time than now to get professional aspirations back on track.
Here are the three essential steps in the process of identifying your goals and making a plan to reach them.
Review with your manager
Part of your manager’s role is to support you in your professional development, so use them as a resource. Schedule time with them and see what insights they have to offer on your performance or skills pathways. Talk about what projects you’d like to be involved in, and what skills you might need for that. Use them as a sounding board for your plans.
This could be a great opportunity to suggest taking on more responsibility, drawing on previous successes or identifying areas where more development is needed.
Set SMART goals
It is an oldie, but a goodie, and the SMART principle still works well as a basis from which to launch a plan. Don’t forget to add Evaluated and Reviewed for an even ‘SMARTER’ plan. But perhaps also approach this method with caution.
Mark Murphy, author of Hard Goals: the secret of getting from where you are to where you want to be, argues that the ‘Achievable’ and ‘Realistic’ aspects of SMART can actually hold people back by stifling creativity. After all, did Elon Musk or Steve Jobs ever consider those two things important?! Instead he says get your employees to answer these two questions;
- What are the 3-5 most important skills you’ll need to develop to achieve this goal?
- How will you develop those skills?
Nail down the most important training areas
Once you’ve set your goals, (SMART, HARD or otherwise), identify skills gaps you need to plug and start sourcing appropriate training opportunities. Speak with your manager about what support they can provide – they might be able to offer flexible working, paid study time or even fund a training opportunity for your and other team members with similar goals. Identify courses that fit with both your goals, and your working pattern/lifestyle.