It is not long now before the start of the New Year and there is no time like the present to re-evaluate your career plan. I always find goal setting challenging and yet stimulating.
I also find it is the quickest way of deciding where I want to get to and how do I get there. Here are some top tips to get started on defining your MASTER Career Plan for 2015 and beyond.
Follow the STAR
To become a STAR PERFORMER, you first need to become a STAR. Start your MASTER Career planning exercise by using STAR – that is Stop, Think, Analyse and Reflect.
Taking time out to think about the direction your career and your performance is heading requires you to STOP and THINK about where you are now. Taking time to analyse your strengths, development needs and current performance is important. Think of it as ‘taking stock’. Really think about what you enjoy doing, what you would like to do in the short and long term.
ANALYSE your skills, knowledge and experience and determine if you have the right blend of competences and experience to take on the challenges you will face in 2015 and beyond. Reflect on the lessons you have learned and who you want to be in the future.
You might want to use tools such a Personal SWOT to analyse your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
MASTER Your Career Goals
I always recommend that you write down your goals. And I always say that you never leave a goal setting activity without taking at least one action immediately.
Are you ready to design your MASTER Career Plan?
This means that you make sure that your goals are:
- M – Measurable: Rarely is success dependent upon the achievement of a single goal. Usually, success is a combination of 3 – 4 objectives that lead to the achievement of a BIGGER GOAL. Never fall into the trap of confusing a dream or an aspiration with a goal and objectives therefore make your goal and objectives measurable. Book appointments with yourself in your calendar NOW to hold yourself to account by monitoring your progress.
- A – Actionable: Goals and objectives provide direction, action produces progress and outcomes. Define the actions you need to take to achieve your objectives and your goal. My advice is to make as long a list of actions as possible. My good friend Tony Robbins refers to having a MAP – that is a MASSIVE ACTION PLAN. – Tony’s logic is that rarely do you need to complete all of the actions on your MAP to be successful. Having a MAP means that if actions 1, 2, 3 and 4 do not work, you have another dozen actions to enable you to keep on trying new ways.
- Specific and not STUPID: Ambiguity is the enemy of achievement. For this reason be clear, be certain. Know what you want. Know how you will achieve it. Know you will achieve it. Having a sense of certainty is motivating, inspiring and keeps you focused and alert to emerging opportunities. Going on a long hike without a MAP (actions plan) and a compass (directional goal and objectives) is STUPID, therefore be SPECIFIC.
- T – Time-based: I always find that setting deadlines helps to create a sense of urgency that keeps me motivated. I like to have a clear time-line in mind which means knowing where I would like to be in six months from now, a year from now and even 3 – 5 years from now. The problem with time is it is elastic – we often stretch deadlines allowing other things to take precedence therefore guard your time, goals and objectives!
- E – Exciting: If you are not excited by your career goals and objectives, they will not keep you engaged and energised. When setting your goals visualise what success will mean to you; what it will give you; what it will feel like, look like and sound like. Stephen Covey once said that all things are created twice – once in the mind and then in reality. A crystal clear vision helps you to see where you are going!
- R – Recorded: Make sure you have a record of your goals and plans. Typing or writing them down helps to get them out of your head and to articulate them. It also gives you something against which to monitor your progress and achievements.
When you have prepared your MASTER Career Plan take action immediately. Call someone, research something, book time in your calendar to work on your plan – never leave the site of goal setting without taking some form of action immediately.