If you have not read Future-Proof Your Career – Part 1 and Future-Proof Your Career – Part 2, I would encourage you to read it first as it will help to understand the context and continuation behind this blog.
Building Block 4 – Develop Your Future-proof Strategy & Plan
Many of us are tempted to believe as we focus on our current role and excel in it, a successful future will emerge. Future-proofing your career wouldn’t happen by itself. You need to formulate a clear plan and strategy to bring it to reality
I am not going to go into the detail of how to develop a strategy & plan in this blog but would like to highlight that this should be the starting point. It might be more challenging to know what you want especially during the first 5 years of your career. But, this shouldn’t be a trouble for experienced professionals.
It is good to start as early as possible. Remember, the flexibility to change your career start to diminish as you go high up the ladder. Of course, I am not talking about those who want to become entrepreneurs – but about those who enjoy being a full-time employee/executive.
The process of developing your future-proof strategy and plan gives you 2 important benefits
1. It forces you to have a clear future-proof plan without which you are exposed to risk and uncertainty
2. It helps you to consciously assess the market condition, adjust to market realities, build skills, insulate your career and enable you to succeed
Please note that your Future-proof strategy and plan should be based on your career plan and not as a stand-alone plan. I know several employees/executives who struggle to find alternative/progressive career opportunities when something goes wrong in their career, often to elements that were not in their control.
They didn’t have a clear plan and were too busy with their current role. It could happen to any of us. Hence, preparation is key and all of us should have a clear future-proof strategy and plan.
Building Block 5 – Self-initiate Your Developmental Activities
The most important investment you can make is in yourself ― Warren Buffett
Based on your career plan, future-proof strategy and goals that you have set for yourself in life – kick-start your development. It is never too late.
All of us including the Leaders who are on top of their game need to constantly learn, develop and acquire new skills, competencies and abilities. Whatever you need to do, do it – whether it is equipping yourself in the technical / functional areas or on the soft skills or taking courses, attending workshops, reading books etc. Try to set aside some time whether it is yearly/monthly/weekly/daily and be consistent with it.
Nobody will ever be interested in your growth as much as yourself. You need to take your development in your hand
There are enough of resources in the market to guide you how to develop yourself and hence I am steering clear of that in this blog.
Building Block 6 – Get yourself a Mentor
None of us, irrespective of how brilliant we are, need a Mentor. Don’t confuse advisors with mentors. Most of the successful and eminent people in business, sports and politics have a mentor.
A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you – Bob Proctor
There are several benefits in having a Mentor though not many are aware or thoughtful about this. They give advice, guidance, help you see your blind spots, hold you accountable to your goals, save you from failures or misadventures and solve problems. Of course, they do bring much more. Having a mentor will also boost your confidence and success.
Choose a mentor who is genuinely interested in you and your development. The feedback from your mentor will be open, direct, constructive, truthful, objective, given in your best interest and push you to get the best out of you.
There are several reasons why we don’t get ourselves a mentor – have not thought about it, think it is expensive, difficult to find a genuine and competent mentor, unaware of the value they can bring you, have no time, not sure how to find one etc…
Whatever has been your reason or situation, find a mentor that you look up to and one who is genuinely interested in you
Building Block 7 – Network with the Right People
Networking isn’t the easiest thing to do and most of us do not prioritize it enough. While we all know networking is important and essential, I would argue that you should do it with the right people.
We all network, but if we don’t do it with the right people, we will not achieve a win-win situation. There might be a lot of people in your network who are just takers and never givers.
Often you don’t get results through your network – don’t you? Why? They are just not the right people who are able to be of help for whatever reason. The right people will gladly help, value add, refer, share their knowledge, advice and be of any assistance they can.
So, remember to focus on networking with the right people – don’t leave it to the last minute.
Closing the Series
Through this 3 part series, we have covered the key aspects to future-proof your career and I hope it will be beneficial to many. Let’s recap
• The predominant concern that is at the top of the Employer’s mind is “Will I be able to find skillful talent – for both today and tomorrow”
• The skill sets employers seek could be categorized mainly into 2 buckets Technical/functional skills & Soft skills
• You are responsible for your own career and should take active interest in it
The 7 Building Blocks to Future-proof your career are
• Keep up-to-date (distinguish right information & hype – keep up with trends & changes)
• Follow Influencers, Experts and Leaders in your field
• Create short, medium and long-term career plan
• Develop your Future-proof strategy and plan
• Self-initiate your development
• Get yourself a Mentor
• Network with the right people