Research shows that when we have a plan, our chances of achieving success is 80% higher. Those that set goals for themselves, achieve higher rates of success in their careers. Knowing what we want, and how we plan to get there is pivotal. The Career Game Plan is a simple four-step process. It is unique to us, and defines what success looks like. It fits on one page and is easily shared with our managers, mentors, and coaches. It paints the picture of what good looks like, with a clear road map to get there.
First, we must be able to articulate what we want, and what we are uniquely skilled to do – our purpose statement. Then, we build goals to support our purpose coming to fruition. We then brainstorm the competencies and action steps to achieve our goals.
To build our own winning career game plan, we start with knowing what we want. This is summarized best in a purpose statement. For this to be done well, the statement must be concise. A strong purpose articulates our passions, our unique strengths, and our essence in a single sentence. This is done by asking ourselves these questions:
Now that we have the first draft of our purpose statement, it’s time to build the goals to actively fulfill it. To take our purpose from aspirational to real, strong goals are pivotal. I recommend setting two or three goals, and definitely no more than three. With every potential goal – ask ourselves – how does this help me fulfill the purpose statement? Our goals are the guard rails on our Career Game Plans. They help us know where the boundaries are of what we do versus what we do not do.
To set good goals, I like the SMART goal framework – creating goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Once we have prioritized a handful of goals, I look at these like a checklist to make our goals even better:
Competencies are the skills, behaviors, or attributes that define who we will become. They range from leadership skills, to detail-oriented attributes, to communication behaviors. They ensure our ability to achieve our plans, and help strike a balance between our high level goals and our purpose statements.
There are number of credible organizations in this space that have resources on competencies, like the Strong Interest Inventory offered at Purple Ink. Select all of the competencies that have impact, then, with list in hand, prioritize the list based on that impact and our ability to improve upon our goals and purpose.
We have arrived. We’re on the final step of building our winning Career Game Plan. A nice reward for taking the time to invest in a purpose statement, SMART goals, and prioritized competencies, is that this step is fairly effortless.
Action plans have three key ingredients. In this case, solid action plans have: the action step name and description, the resources needed to achieve it, and a timeline for completion. Take each goal and break it down into smaller steps, then create a column for resources, and another column with a deadline completion date. If an action step requires a significant time or money investment, it is essential that be a part of the plan early on. Completion dates are key for accountability. When we write a date down beside a goal, we increase our chances of success by 80%.
In summary, we now have a proven process to build our winning Career Game Plan. With every choice we make, we take a step closer to having the career we truly want. Remember, those with a plan win.
Now, how will you build your own winning Career Game Plan?