By Mandeep Singh
Partner – Talent & Rewards, HRhelpdesk.in
One of the biggest advantages offered in India today are the opportunities to build, manage and mould your professional destiny. With the changes working towards an opportunity market, it is not difficult to achieve the desired professional objectives.
How does one go about controlling it? Like any objective or a goal in life, this starts with a roadmap, a well thought through and planned roadmap.
Define a career objective, this is like answering the question “what would you like to achieve in your career”. Answers to this question sound like, “contribute to the growth of my profession”, “have a lot of knowledge”, “be an expert in my field” and so forth. This question basically tries to answer a single point. Why are you doing what you are doing – why are you in this career?
Answer to this should, should and necessarily have to be honest and true, even if it falls under the so called “materialistic domain”, after-all, not everyone of us has the ability to be saintly!!
Define a long term goal, this is, what do you want to achieve, and what is it that you want to have. This will have statements like, “by the time I am <age or experience> I would like to have what kind of money, what kind of assets, what kind of relationships, what kind of family and everything”. Though the example is from professional domain, this question is not limited to only your profession, but it has to include all aspects of your life, whether professional or personal.
Having answered this question, you are almost ready to move on.
Having got answers to two most critical questions, it is time now to check and do some alignment. This process of alignment is built into 2 sub steps, the first
It is important to understand whether the goal and the objective are matching with each other. Now to get an understanding, we need to have a system of defining a step wise or a ladder approach milestones. These are milestones which help you understand what you are achieving at each stage, thus giving you an indication whether your movement is adding to the overall achievement of the goal.
Milestone here means some achievements in relation to time, this gives a benchmark to monitor movement towards the ultimate goal. The milestone is also now to be supported by a plan on how to support it. Similarly a milestone has to be in either (any) of the following areas to match your expectation of a managed life.
Like any goal setting exercise, not all parameters need to have ambitious targets, similarly not everything gets achieved, and it is this table which keeps getting modified, year on year to measure up achieving the actual goal. Once some of the milestones have been set, without planning or analysis, but more on a gut feeling or wish or desire, you’re ready to move the scientific way.
Till now everything is just a feeling, a wish and could even be a theory or a fairy tale, as long as you want to achieve it, it has to be here. This is how all great things happen and all leaders move.
Since milestones are done, it is now time to do a yearly planning, in a scientific manner think through as to how you will achieve them. Start by the small process of writing the yearly delivery. Some resources that you will require and some things you will do in a smaller way and how. Qualify what a smaller milestone is and write details under various smaller heads to see what you will do, how you will do and what are some of the results you plan to do.
As a normal process it is always advisable to do this planning for three years, but remember all planning here except for the life goal and career goal have to be necessarily dynamic. This means, these are realigned, reworked and re-calibrated to see their usefulness to the achievement of the career goal.
Once this is done you are ready to manage a career that is useful and delivers value to you as an individual and to your goals.
A huge amount of dependence for the achievement of goals and milestones is on the environment and the external factors. So how does one manage this, because this is what influences the professional destiny of an individual. The solution lies in the 5 focus parameters that need to be impacted in a particular way. To add value and make a step ladder milestone approach, you have to make an impact that is interlinked on atleast 2 to 3 parameters so not only they complement each other, but also help achieve in getting the environmental things taken care off.
This plan should also have a backup system, which means a fall back option. You need to sit down do some war gaming and then decide what do you do and how do you do it, to achieve a milestone, and what do you do when obstacles arrive.
Life and milestones are like driving a car, constant acceleration and steering are required to achieve a destination, career goals in our discussion. So, one needs to constantly think, plan, war game and have measurable pointers to know that you are moving in the right direction, take time out to fill the fuel tank again, make sure you are serviced properly. One needs to constantly keep evaluating to plan for challenges that come and obstacles that arise.
There is however a catch to that, and I call it the perfect trap, when is it too late to try the same strategy and when is it time to change the strategy. This is a decision which can shape your life, mould it, or ruin it. You will come across many professionals who will say, I missed this wonderful job because I thought it was not right for me, similarly, you will come across many who will say I got into this job at the right time to make my big bucks. I believe, there is planning behind this and that is what makes you lucky.
Clearly if you push too much with a wrong decision or stop too early with the right decision, you’ve got it wrong, and these will not help in the achievement of the goals. There are numerous more examples on either side. What this means to us is, the decisions we take, properly planned and articulated, how we take them and most importantly when.
It is not always important to change the job or profession, neither is it important to be a die-hard loyalist. To ensure that your professional destiny moves the way you want it to move, you don’t necessarily have to plan big. There are supplementary ways of contributing value, which are called “resume selling” attributes. How do you build a resume which has small attributes, which are strengthening to your goals, this is where you need to focus. Your milestones need to answer the questions, what are or is the resume selling attributes you’ve added to yourself. This is applicable even if you’re running a business or a shop.
The last thing being, how does one get to know whether the path of achieving the milestone needs to be changed? The answer is simple, whenever a re-alignment process happens, it is essential to rework the path, may not be necessary to change it. However, it is a very good idea to have atleast one trusted person around you whom you explain everything in detail. See the person’s responses, answer their questions, all this will give you an introspective exposure to analyse you plan better.
Remember, adaptability, with correct decision making and having a trusted partner with proper planning on a well thought out life goal will ensure you have complete control on your professional destiny.
So go ahead and indulge, and dream.
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