The 5 Phases of Career Development

The 5 Phases of Career Development

Organizations need great leaders who not only deliver effective results and develop their teams. As we head into performance management season, it is important to balance that conversation between the review of goals and what it will take to achieve performance in the future. We know the conversation is different when the employee is self-directed, knows where they want to take their career and when the employee looks to you for that guidance. This is where leaders need tools to meet the challenge of aligning the self-directed employee and the employee who is looking to be directed so the result is a more engaged talent who is doing the work you need, and she can see supports her development.

I worked with a client who was thinking hard about aligning strategic business objectives within corporate functions like HR, Legal & Finance.  As we broke down the steps in developing a strategic plan, it occurred to me (eureka!), we can guide our talent through similar steps for career development:

As with strategic planning, you start with the landscape analysis:

  • Where am I now in my career?
  • Where do I want to get to? What is my vision for the future?
  • How am I going to get there?
  • What is my organization’s vision for the future? How will that impact my role/team?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • What is the alignment between what my organization needs and what I want?

The 5 Phases of Strategic Development Planning:

  1. Define the overall career goal (often a role like VP Sales and Marketing) and establish the strategic mission of the career/role (to lead organizational effectiveness through high performing sales and marketing teams)
  2. Set career development goals and performance targets (strategic projects to lead; be a mentor and a mentee; earn top performance rating; advanced management course on effective teams)
  3. Formulate a strategy to achieve the development goals and performance targets (how the career development and performance goals will be achieved)
  4. Implement and execute the strategy developed in step 3
  5. Evaluate performance on a quarterly review, reformulate as step 2 as changes, challenges and opportunities are presented

As always, I do recommend that leaders seek out their HR Business Partner and Learning Consultant to talk through specific development opportunities for your team. Having a highly self-directed talent is often as challenging as someone who still figuring it out. What I know for sure is the leaders who figure out how to facilitate learning, development and collaboration on their teams is who we want to work with. Consider the tools you have to help guide the career development conversations within your team.

Dyan Connolly, SPHR, CCP

Director Talent Management, The Woodshire Group