Planning Your Professional Growth

Strategic steps to plan for professional growth.

Thinking about where you may be professionally in five years can be both a fun yet scary experience.  It is fun to think of how much can be learned in five years and the opportunities that may be available.  It is also scary to think you may not be ready for the opportunities when they do come.  So what is a practical approach to help ensure you have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience when opportunity knocks on our door?  Planning for professional growth should be purposeful and strategic.  Presented below is a four-step process that, when used consistently, will help you get to your goals.

  • First: Start with an assessment of where you are now; and determine where you want to be in 5 years.  This helps you set your “as-is” and “to-be” states.
  • Second: Perform a gap analysis–which is comparing the skills you currently have against the skills needed for your desired job. This allows you to determine the gap in your skills or experience you may be missing.
  • Third: Develop a plan of action to get you from your current position to your desired position. Identify short, medium, and long term goals with metrics for how you will measure your success.
    • Short term goals are usually <1 year
    • Medium term 2-4 years
    • Long term >5 years
  • Fourth: Start performing the identified activities and chart your progress against your milestones
    • This helps identify roadblocks or impediments as they occur
    • You can then figure out what is needed to overcome the hurdles
  • On-going:  Make adjustments to your plan as needed.

Hold yourself accountable!!! Get a coaching buddy if that helps where you check in with each other on a prearranged schedule to discuss your progress.


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