Where will you be in 5 years? Strategic planning ideas for your career.
Who’s on your team?
- If you are single and not in a committed relationship that is going somewhere this process may include only YOU.
- If you are otherwise in a committed relationship, invite your partner to sit down to discuss your career 5 year plan.
- In some cases, you may want to create an informal Board-of-Directors (BOD) for yourself – asking questions about your career and future to assist you in step #2.
- The BOD consists of people with whom you have a deep and respectful professional relationship and you may in turn serve as part of their BOD as well. Members of the BOD could include mentors, persons you deem successful in your field, your accountant or banker, pastor or spiritual advisor etc.
Share your vision and mission.
- Write a mission and vision statement like companies do. Your vision statement should be brief, maybe one or two sentences about where you want to be in 5 years. If you are feeling ambitious, create a 10 year vision as well. Remember that a mission statement may be considerably longer as you begin to define and write down your values and intentions as individuals and as partners in your careers.
Defining short-term goals to achieve your long-term plans.
- No one just achieves a goal without steps along the way. If career advancement requires re-training, or further education, a need to network more or to make strategic connections, that is noted in the STEPS to achieve your 5 year (or 10 year) plan. Most of these steps will be actioned or at least in late-stage planning within the first couple of years of any 5 year plan. A few quick examples might be: paying off debts, finishing a degree, joining networking and/or professional organizations, or even creating thought-leadership positioning for you in your field of expertise.
Defining long-term goals made possible by achieving your 5 year plans.
- This is an extensive listing of your career goals made possible by achieving your 5 year plan. Will you be able to become part of the management team? Perhaps it is your goal to start a new business or franchise.
Remember SMART? – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
- This is a timeless little piece of advice. According to sources at Wikipedia, the acronym for SMART clearly defines a set of measurable short and long-term goals and time limits. Creating specific goals is part of that mission and vision noted in #2. Making certain you can measure your progress against the steps defined in #3 is important in case you need to turn on the after-burners to move along a little faster if your goals are exceptionally ambitious.
- Remembering that in order to stay on target to achieve any goals, you must achieve some measure of attainment toward that goal or you may find your interest or discipline to achieve the goal wanes. If this occurs, sit down with you partner or even alone and go back over the vision and mission again.
- Keeping these clear in your mind and even visually available daily could help you ward off indifference past the initial short-term or near-term steps and goal achievement. If you are checking your steps and short-term goals you will continue to do only the relevant steps which have the greatest impact on goal achievement.
- And, finally, if you don’t put a time limit or a mile-stone in place for measuring the achievement of some of these steps and short-term to long-term goals, you may find that you drag out their achievement and risk not achieving your goals altogether in some cases. If you need to move the milestone because your goal was too ambitious for the timeframe, sit down again and write it out. Formalizing it in this way gives your goals an aspect of reality that just mentally moving the date in your head to some arbitrary point in time will not.
When you set goals for your own career, who do you include? How important is it to keep a printed copy accessible as you work toward your career goals? What advice for others do you have regarding career goal setting?