Saturday, November 01, 2014

Develop your career framework (not your career plan)

Career framework is a framework that helps you take actions 'today' to achieve your 'goals' tomorrow. It is therefore a map you have created to take you from your current 'location' to desired location , leading finally to your final destination. It is a map based on the current understanding of terrain. 

Your career framework ( which i earlier called Career script in my blog of 4 years back. Looking at that blog, i was surprised to find that it has taken me 4 years to build a tool to develop a career script now.) therefore should include at least five elements: 
  1. Choice of intermediate destination: Your desired achievement and the period that you would like to give yourself to achieve it. Also list your current destination and reasons for choosing this intermediate destination.  
  2. Achievement Milestones to ensure that one will reach destination
  3. Expected hurdles in reaching the destination ( achievement milestone)
  4. Expected internal hurdles: We force internal hurdles such as emotional distractions, regular habits, stress and emotions that compel us from taking the actions that derail us from our goals. 
  5. Unexpected hurdles:One cannot achieve one's career goals without preparing for the unexpected hurdles. We shall talk about unexpected hurdles later.
Point 1: Intermediate destination is based on work-path you have chosen. It includes choice of domain (Software, Banking or anything else), function (product innovation or technology), and Role ( Doer or Synthesiser). Work-paths exploit your inputs and by dense engagement convert them into 'strengths'. Work-path takes you from current destination to another intermediate destination ( desired achievement). Desired achievement also helps you write down the results that you would like to produce.

You should also write the reasons for choosing your current work-path. Why? While choosing a work-path, we often forget that we have used our then-current beliefs and limited information. Recording this information helps us re-visit the decision later and understand our method of choosing the work-paths. I have observed that professionals discover great insights through this documented record. For instance, while choosing work-paths, we plan to overcome serious limitations we see it in ourselves. But later, we forget this and fret over our decision.

Point 2: Achievement Milestones: Without setting intermediate achievement milestones, there is no way to find if we will reach the desired destination according to our schedule. Achievement Milestones should be set at least for six months, if we schedule is to reach our destination in 5 years.

Point 3: Anticipated hurdles: Personal transitions such as marriage or having a child distract us from the efforts we take in work-achievement. Relationships can often consume lot of our efforts, because it requires a different kind of mind - I call it farm-mind - to deal with it. And nor we can ignore our relationships because relationships are our biggest source of satisfaction.

Point 4: Having distractions is normal. But ignoring these distractions is a bigger problem for a professional. And more than often, these big distractions derail the professionals. The biggest distractions and most invisible ones are our habits.


Our Career framework ( our set of actions to achieve the desired achievement milestones) keeps on changing as you gain more information about your Self and outside environment.

If you want to take charge of our life, you must have a document that helps you compare your outcomes with the planned decision. If you do not do this, you will become victim of 'outcome-based thinking'. In outcome-based thinking, we evaluate our 'actions' based on the outcome. If we achieve the outcome, we evaluate our actions as right. If we do not, we evaluate our actions as wrong. Big achievements take lot of time to fructify. One cannot evaluate them every day.

When you are trapped in the outcome-based thinking, you only take the 'last relevant' action that produced the recent outcome, ignoring the combination of actions/variables that you invested earlier to produce the desired outcome. If you want to succeed in a long term, you need to focus on the 'process' of producing your achievement outcomes, not on producing 'miraculous breakthrough actions' once a while. 

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