Success and Career Paths
The fourth C in the twelve part series on success is Career Paths.
Career Path is a hot topic, yet for some of the wrong reasons these days – the recession and the loss of so many jobs. Yet, read on since if you are in this group – career path becomes more important than before. Career Paths truly have an impact upon both you – the individual – and organizational success. It is important to understand this importance.
What is Career Paths?
Career Paths is about looking past the present and into the future. Where do you or the organization want to be in the next 5 -10 – 20 years? Actually, the more realistic and helpful point of view is in the five year range. This five year point of view allows both the individual and the organization to move in the direction of their overall strategic objectives. Thus, alignment occurs for improved performance and ultimately success.
How does Career Path impact the Individual?
Looking from the individual point of view, a career path allows an individual to look into the future and see where they want to be and what position or positions motivate their improvement. The unfortunate truth about career path is very few individuals actually take the time to think about their future and particularly their future position. This lack of thought can contribute heavily to dead end jobs, lack of engagement, low personal energy and poor to average performance.
Yet, the few who do take time to review their goals with a career path in mind are capable of recognizing job opportunities that are meaningful and exciting for them. These positions in some cases appear to others as pure luck rather than a result of preparation and thought. Some will call it the” secret” – I prefer “strategic preparation” of career paths.
The people who have no clue about their job or career path opportunities are usually the ones left out in the cold during difficult times. Why? Because they lack the passion and performance necessary for success. The people – who become high performers – seldom have career downtime. They see the opportunities and keep moving toward the target or solving major problems.
What Career Paths Impact in Organizations?
Now, this is where things get interesting regarding career paths, success and organizations. Most organizations talk about the need for career paths and succession planning, yet, have no plan or process in place to drive this success critical factor. Why is it so?
The organizations with no career paths have a couple things missing internally. First, the human resources group has no involvement in the strategic development of the organization. Thus the people responsible for selection of talent – have no idea about the future direction or needs of the organization. Thus, people are hired or selected based upon some older model or method that has no relationship to the future needs of the organization. Can you see the impact on the future performance of the organization?
Second, the selection and promotion systems (or lack of system) are based upon credentials, resumes or popularity contests rather than objective traits and standards of performance. The biggest problem I have with some of my clients is the unwavering reliance upon credentials:
- a certain school degree,
- work history with certain organizations,
- certifications (who certifies the certifier?) that have no relationship to actual performance, and
- taking someone’s personal opinion about a candidate without checking their performance.
Career Paths need to have some formalization to facilitate thought and discussion regarding the traits necessary for high performance – particularly in the future. The ability to have definitive traits and skills outlined for a job allows an individual to compare their personal traits and skills. Thus the ability to compare and see gaps allow for the individual to engage in a developmental process that leads to high energy and focused performance.
All organizations can benefit from having career paths in place for every position within the organization. This is the starting point for top-grading your talent levels and attaining success. High performance cultures are created by forward thinking individuals within the organization. These people align their people with the strategic objectives – placing the talent needed to ensure high performance.
If you are not sure about how to create career paths or set up a process for delivering high performance and success to your organization, call us at 901-757-4434. We have been helping clients upgrade their talent for 20 years.
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