Chapter 2 Pg’s 55-57 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki
The process of setting plans for your life is a subject much larger than the few pages we can devote to it. Literally thousands offline books have been written to help people plan their lives, and I will not try to replicate their wisdom here. The sound advice can be boiled down to many of the same tools organizations use to plan. Here are five elements for a career plan:
2. Long-term Goals/Objectives
4. Tactical Goals
5. Action Plans
A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis forms the basis for a sound plan, whether organizational or individual. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is essential to making life and career decisions you will actually be able to carry out. Unrealistic goals that assume strengths you do not have can spell disaster. Knowing your life or career opportunities and the threats you face is essential to knowing what the future might hold. It would be foolish to plan to be a leader of a railroad company if you think jobs in that industry are going to disappear, and it might be tragic if you failed to become trained in mathematics and computer science if you thought that is where the preponderance of job growth is going to be. In short, looking at these four factors can help you understand what career might be a correct match for you.
If you do not have a long-term plan, you are making a terrible mistake. You cannot leave the next twenty years of your life to chance. If you do have such a plan, it will force you to take steps to make certain you are ready for the future. You may never achieve the goal you had in mind, but all the evidence points to the theory that if you are focused on it, you have a much better chance of getting there. Once again, if you want to be a CPA, then taking courses in accounting can further that goal. Courses in art history may be fun, or even an important contribution to your general development, but they will probably not help you achieve your career goal of being a professional accountant.
Strategies are tough but essential. They will cause you to think about the key decisions you are going to need to make in order to achieve those long-term goals. You may decide a job change is essential; you may decide a major educational enhancement is required; or you may decide to move to another city or state. You may also decide that you will start down a new career path in order to get yourself ready for the next stage of your life.
Tactical goals are shorthand for short-term goals—those you are going to set in motion this week, this month, or this year. They can be as complex as “get a new job” or as uncomplicated as “make my sales goal for the month.” Whatever the goal, it should not only fit into the larger scheme of your life but also be something you can achieve for your personal benefit and career.
Action plans are what you are going to do today, tomorrow, or next week to achieve those goals, either long- or short-term. This is where the leader in you should shine. You are an action person, and you must achieve these goals. All of the five steps above suggest you should apply the techniques you use as a leader to help you reach your personal life goals as well. If you do, linking the personal goals with your leadership goals will be much easier. Your career is yours to accept or to create. You must ignore the conventional wisdom and the conventional view of previous career models. John Kotter, in his book Leading Change, suggests:
For a lot of reasons, many people are still embracing the 20th century career and growth model. Sometimes complacency is the problem. They have been successful,so why change? Sometimes they have no clear vision of the 21st century, and so they don’t know how they should change. But often fear is a key issue. They see jobs seeming to disappear all around them. They hear horror stories about people who have been downsized or reengineered out of work. They worry about health insurance and the cost of college for their children. So they don’t think about growth. They don’t think about personal renewal. They don’t think about developing whatever leadership potential they have. Instead they cling defensively to what they currently have. In effect, they embrace the past, not the future.